High achievers: On top of the (Cambridge) world

Published: February 1, 2011

250 surprised students will be awarded the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards. DESIGN: SAMAD SIDDIQUI

KARACHI: “Are you sure it’s ‘in the world’?” asked Meiryum Mohammad Ali of the Karachi Grammar School after every five minutes. She topped in the world in mathematics in her O’ Level exam and she could not believe it. Her parents could not either. “They kept saying, ‘What, what, what?’ when I told them,” she said.

The University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) announced on Monday the winners of the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards of secondary school learners in Pakistan for the June 2010 Cambridge examinations. Around 250 learners will receive awards for an exceptional performance in the examinations, according to a CIE press release. Fifty-three students achieved the highest marks in the world, while 48 attained the highest marks in Pakistan in a single subject.

Learners who have achieved the highest cumulative total of marks across a number of subjects will also be recognised. These students outperformed thousands of candidates worldwide who sat the Cambridge O level, IGCSE, AS and A’ Level exams.

Abdul Rafey Siddiqui of St Patrick’s High School topped in the world in O’ Level statistics. He has started making a list of things he is going to ask his parents as his reward. “This year’s paper was not easy and quite confusing. But when I completed it, I could not spot many mistakes,” said Rafey, breathless with excitement. “But I had never expected a distinction!” The “quiet nerd of his class” is also a scrabble and chess champ and is also known to have the best finish in football, said one of Rafey’s classmates.

Unlike the all-star Rafey, Husnain Habib Malik was surprised to know he had topped in A’ Level history as he considered himself an average student. He modestly passed on the credit to his teachers. “It all goes to say that my teachers taught me really well. Kudos to them!”

Meanwhile, Zain Umar thought it was all a prank. A Nixor College student, Zain came second place for having the best score in five A’ Level subjects. His parents dismissed the news and simply stared at him, confused, as they were not used to their son being a high achiever. “I wish the results had been announced a few weeks earlier because I just sent all my college applications – and this really would’ve really helped,” regretted Zain.

William Bickerdike, Cambridge’s regional manager for Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan said in a press release, “I am very proud to congratulate learners across the country. The results are a reflection of the enormous talent in Pakistan, not only amongst the learners but also within the teaching profession.” He told The Express Tribune via email later that Pakistani students have been consistent high achievers. “This year, students from Pakistan have scored the highest marks in the world in no less than 26 different syllabi, demonstrating mastery not only in popular subjects but also in subjects that are less widely taken, like psychology, sociology, law and thinking skills.”

Karachi Grammar School (KGS) has been the most consistent high-achieving school in Karachi, bagging the top positions every year. But some lesser known schools now entering the list of high achievers: Sargodhian Spirit Trust Public School, Rashidabad and Bahria School. However, St Patrick’s High and St Joseph’s Convent saw a decline in high achievers this year as compared to their previous years of glory.

After KGS, the relatively new Nixor College also grabbed a number of top positions in A’ Levels. Nadeem Ghani, the Nixor College Dean, said while he believes that there is no such thing as competition among schools, he does feel proud of his students for achieving the top positions without tuitions.

Meanwhile, some educationists stressed that achieving the highest in the world rank was only part of the picture. Happy Home School principal Ghazala Nizami said, “Even if we don’t have the tops any year, we have really good results overall.” However, the top position is a motivation, not just for the students but for teachers too, she added.

(Disclaimer: Meiryum Mohammad Ali is a columnist for The Express Tribune. She writes Khayaban-e-Nowhere each Sunday.)

Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st,  2011.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • ahsan
    Feb 1, 2011 - 2:35PM

    Congratulations to all the achievers, it takes a lot of hard work and intelligence to achieve such accolades!!!!Recommend

  • Lubna
    Feb 1, 2011 - 2:43PM

    Well Done to all the high achieving students! you’ve done yourselves and your country proud!! xxRecommend

  • Cheebu
    Feb 1, 2011 - 3:08PM

    Excellent!! congratulations… now the question is.. how can Pakistan utilise this intelligence for for its own future advantage.. or will it simply get passed onto developed countries??Recommend

  • Rafay
    Feb 1, 2011 - 9:27PM

    Outstanding. Congratulations to all high achievers, especially to Sana Waheed who is from my school.Recommend

  • Kara
    Feb 1, 2011 - 9:31PM

    LOL @ Nadeem ghani. No tuitions? Nixor students jump over the wall and go attend tuitions at Hina’s and Roques!Recommend

  • Rehman
    Feb 1, 2011 - 10:03PM

    Not a fan of the writing style. The bit in the beginning about the girl repeating the question every five minutes and the other one where the parent’s couldn’t believe their son was a high achiever both seem really exaggerated.Recommend

  • Maheen
    Feb 1, 2011 - 10:28PM

    How do I check the distinctions? I gave my exams in last June but I am in States right now.Recommend

  • agha
    Feb 1, 2011 - 10:34PM

    Nixor has proven to the world that you dont have to have the best reputation or be the oldest institution to get good results. All you need are hard-working motivated students and an equally dedicated faculty.Recommend

  • apakistani
    Feb 2, 2011 - 12:39AM

    Congratulation to all the achievers!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Mirza Omer
    Feb 2, 2011 - 1:01AM

    Love u Nixor ! :)Recommend

  • Mirza Omer
    Feb 2, 2011 - 1:06AM

    @Kara:
    Nixor Students do not need to jump over any wall to reach success, we have the best faculty of karachi including sir Roque :) we just jump over limits, above sky and prove ourselves to be the best :)Recommend

  • The Patriot
    Feb 2, 2011 - 9:56AM

    Congratulations…. you have made us Pakistanis proud… Best of luck in everything you do!!!!Recommend

  • Dr+Dev+Mishra
    Feb 3, 2011 - 12:22AM

    From this Indian doctor, please accept my best wishes for this stupendous success by Pakistani students. The future for your country, and therefore for the entire subcontinent, is bright now.
    Would love to have a different kind of competition with you guys now- in IT, in medicine and in the arts.
    Bravo once again. Peace. Dr D Mishra, India and UKRecommend

  • Safiullah KGS class of 2010
    Feb 3, 2011 - 1:04AM

    OMG husnain bloody awesome man!!Recommend

  • Salim
    Feb 3, 2011 - 1:21AM

    Congratulations! All you achievers. Keep it up.Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 3, 2011 - 11:13PM

    Congrats to all
    and when will the edexcel high achievers be updated?Recommend

  • Kiran
    Feb 3, 2011 - 11:48PM

    Congrats to all the students. I am a former Happy Home student and I am so proud that a happy homer is included in the list as well : )Recommend

  • Yameen Ansari
    Feb 4, 2011 - 7:41PM

    Roque teaches at Nixor :/ @Kara: Recommend

  • Usama Bin Zafar
    Feb 5, 2011 - 1:17AM

    Well done guys and girls! You are our last hope!
    and well done Sana Waheed, who comes from an unknown school at a fertilizer plant in remote sindh. Goes to show what these kids are capable of!Recommend

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