By Syed Shakeel Gillani
Dr. Shazia Iqbal Khan is well known educationist having deep knowledge and experience in Organizational Development, Instructional Management, and IB curricula, began her career as a Medical Doctor graduating from Fatima Jinnah Medical College Lahore andchoicededucational field, initially from Lahore Grammar School (LGS) in 1999,Later joined Salamat International Campus for Advanced Studies (SICAS) cope withthe responsibilities and attaintedPrincipal ship in 2000, rejoined LGS as Principal of a Cambridge branchIn 2006, Proved herself as an educational leader leading by excellence, achieved the target with setting up an IB School for LGS in 2012 and oversaw the accreditation process run by the IB (International Baccalaureate) Organization. DrShaziabecame Chairperson of the Association of IB World Schools in Pakistan, she sprinkles knowledge also promoted understanding and support of the IB curriculum in Pakistan. Throughout her twenty yearscareer in education, she focused to create best possible learning environment for teachers training according to current methods, adopting effective, innovational ideas and integrated with online learning. She anticipates SOAR STEM Schools, the perfect culmination of her desire to create a next-generation school for the youth of Pakistan, a school with the right direction in a progressive manner, dynamic, education oriented andspecially student centered where its students differentiate themselves with distinction becoming leaders through academic heights, optimistic approach and holistic development, serving as a source of collective wisdom and adept knowledge not only within their communities but also the world at large. STEM is an acronym for the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics as SS distinguishes than other institutions and we believe, it is our duty to make sure to leave the next generation better off than the previous one. SOAR Curriculum has been built by the best IB professionals, Quality education with affordable fee is our priority and use of the latest technology to further learning. Components must be aligned with international standards.
BW.What are the challenges you think the new generation will face and How your education system will be helpful for them ? DrShazia replied Pakistan will soon be the 5th largest country by population, but it will need to become more competitive in the world of science, technology, arts, engineering, and mathematics to even come close to the 5th place in education and claim its rightful place in the world community. We are facing challenges that have never been faced before – Global water shortages, Climate change, Overpopulation, Food scarcity and Pandemics,
BW.Number of SOAR STEM School campuses in Lahore and what is student strength, She said Currently we have 5 campuses and few other projects are also under discussion and will be announced and operational soon. Altogether we have more than 1000 students enrolled with us.
BW.what privileges are being offered by SOAR STEM Schools? She expressed SS provide education with an objective to empower students to make decisions, to find creative solutions and plan with effective strategies to face the challenges of the future. The curriculum is structured in a manner that keeps the child in touch with thelatest trends of the world by employing a concept-based approach. Constant revamping, reinvention and evaluation of the classroom and teaching strategies help create the most appropriate learning environment a child deserves. This programme is one of the best because it is a blend of the finest teaching methods, incorporating strategies that bring connections of what is being taught in a classroom to a real-life context. Learners have the access to well-stocked libraries with more than 20 thousand books and to support digital learning, they are provided with tablets, laptops, alexa& robots.
BW.Number of faculty members in your campuses and What is the job criteria for teachers? SS around 223 faculty members in our campuses. SOAR seeks to attract educators who are passionate about their students! In a world that is fraught with increasing challenges, it is our sacred mandate to equip our students to thrive in their future! This can only happen if our teachers have the ability to engage with students deal to prepare them for an uncertain future. We hire teachers with minimum of 5 years’ experience in their respective subjects/field. Teachers on their confirmation are being offered staff child benefit & health insurance. BW. How do you motivate and encourage your staff? At SOAR, we offer the opportunity to feel you’re a part of something big,Our outstanding academic facilities create an exceptional working environment, where the individual comes to teach, learn and grow as valued professionals. The school leadership also believes in academically developing their teachers’ skills. Hence, regular workshops and training sessions are conducted. BW.Outline the role that parents should play in the school? Parents are equal stakeholders in their child’s education. At SOAR, we encourage the parents to provide feedback to the school which we take very seriously and continuously strive to improve ourselves. BW.What is the role of Govt to promote private education sector? SS The role of the government is to negatively promote the private education sector because they are unable to fulfill the duty of the state that is providing health and education to all citizens, this role crippled the private schools and pertinent to mention that mostly children of government officials studying in private schools which speaks volume about the inability of the state to provide quality education in spite of repeated narrative that they will ensure that no child will be left behind or lack education. BW.How did the pandemic of coronavirus affect education system? SS The pandemic has not only affected the world at large but also the education system. In a country where the politician openly labels the private school system as a “MAFIA”, it also encourages parents to disrespect educational institutions. In a world where opening schools has become a norm because as noticed by health officials that children do not seem to be carriers of this virus and also the fact that they have been shut at home for many months leading to psychological issues of being isolated for months. It is being recommended that they should return to their normal school routines. On the contrary, our politicians consistently discourage it which is not something unusual as we are use to a system of closing down schools because of either heat, cold or any other random reasons. This speaks volume about how concerned we are for the education of our future generations. BW. How effective is online learning? In a school, online learning is a compromised platform because the teacher does not get to interact with students and is not in a position to get feedback making the divide even bigger and lack of access to technology hinders this even more. Many families do not have enough resource to buy laptops for all their children which makes this way of learning even more difficult. BW,What is the success rate of online classes? There is a very limited success rate at the moment which can be improved only if resources are provided in the form of hardware and better internet access.
BW.What do you say about quality and quantity education? SS,Quality Education changes Nations and quantity Education makes no impact. BW.What are the requirements to get franchise and What are futuristic plans?SS,Certain criteria’s have to be fulfilled in terms of our philosophy and agreeing to uphold our standards We plan to open schools across Pakistan and eventually in 2027 a University. BW.What is your message as an educationist? Till the time we understand that nations cannot progress without education, we will stand no where in the world. BW.What is your inclination towards religion? I am a very staunch Muslim and believe that our religion provides complete guideline for everything we face in the world. If we are to progress in the world, we need to remain deeply connected with what our religion and follow Islamic ideology. Thanks to Miss AsmaJabeen and Madam Ayesha Salman for kind coordination.
The author is broadcast journalist & can be accessed at [email protected]