Advanced learning: The bright-eyed future

Published: December 6, 2011

Sitara Akbar, sits by her laptop researching the scientific discoveries of tomorrow. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

ISLAMABAD: 

She passed an O-level chemistry paper when she was nine; two years later she passed the O-level exams in biology, mathematics, physics and English. She was the youngest to appear for biology and the youngest to have successfully completed her O-levels. Now, she prepares for the A-level exams.

Born and brought up in a small town near Chenab Nagar in Punjab, Sitara Brooj Akbar is the eldest of her five siblings. At a young age, she developed a habit of questioning everything taking nothing for granted, according to her father Brooj Akbar.

When traditional school-based learning became impossible, her father “had to open a private school (Star Academy, Rabwah) for her because no other school was willing to keep her,” Akbar stated while talking to The Express Tribune. She left traditional schools by the third grade when her teachers began to feel irritated and uneasy.

She recently took the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test where she scored a 7 band out of 9. The score is required by most international universities and colleges for admission in postgraduate degree programmes.

The only reason she took the test to begin with was to get an informed idea of where she stood at the international level concerning English. Sitara speaks English with the confidence of an adult, giving speeches in front of large audiences at the tender age of five. Asked about the causes behind her academic excellent, the 11-year old replied simply: “You have to teach your children at a young age; that is the age for learning. If you do not teach them at that age, then it is all useless.”

But Sitara’s ambitions have only just begun: she hopes to become a scientist and chemistry in particular has captivated her. “Chemistry is an entirely different world altogether,” she said while maintaining her love and interest in physics and other sciences at all. Her idols include Dr Abdus Salam, the country’s sole Nobel laureate in Physics who she hopes to emulate in the not so distant future.

Universities and higher education institutions have not recognised her ability and talents, however, and she has been refused admission for higher education for being below the minimum age required for admission. The British Council allowed her to sit for the IELTS test only her family wrote to them, explaining the special circumstances, Akbar clarified.

She is currently enrolled as an A-levels student at Beaconhouse School Faisalabad. “After this, I want to find a place in some good university and specialize in one of the sciences,” Sitara stated.

Her younger sister, Mahpara Komal, 10, was also refused by both Punjab University and Aga Khan University to appear in their entrance examinations, since she was four years short of the minimum age.

“Now she too is preparing for O-levels,” Sitara said. “She copies me.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2011.

Reader Comments (35)

  • Christian Pakistani
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:03AM

    At the age of 9, i was more curious about Play station 2 and PC.
    Good job lady!

    Recommend

  • anam
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:16PM

    Please correct me ıf ı am wrong but for a chıld beıng so extremeley smart, on the wave length of a modern day genıus, where does her ınnosence of adolescence go? Its great that she ıs achıevıng so much at such a tender age but she may have lost her mentalıty as a chıld. After all, chıldhood ıs the most beautıful tıme of our lıfe.Recommend

  • sabahat ahmad
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:03PM

    pakistan should be proud of this young blood instead of disowning such brilliant mind as done to Dr Salam. Bravo little Sitara! may this STAR rise above all other. ameen

    Recommend

  • Ravian
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:47PM

    Wow! great & intelligent girl.”True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information. “

    Recommend

  • Dec 6, 2011 - 2:47PM

    Bravo! The younger sister is following Sitara’s footsteps too. Sitara can be a great role model for kid not just in Pakistan but worldwide.

    Recommend

  • Hassan
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:53PM

    we are proud of you ..keeep it up..:)Recommend

  • Naureen
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:53PM

    That is such a record and she hasn’t been acknowledged, where the hell are we headed!?

    Recommend

  • Arshid kamal
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:58PM

    sitara u z future f thz country…all f our nation feels pround on ur extra ordinary qualities…u have to serve for thz country…may u gt all ur dreams true and hve v bright future…:)

    Recommend

  • sohaib
    Dec 6, 2011 - 3:51PM

    keep it up girl! we are proud of you..but i am afraid that this girl would be getting anything from the government/ society as she seem to belong to Ahmaddiya Sect. who are facing real biased attitude these days..But the door of foreign institution are always open as they respect talent..Just go and get it!

    Recommend

  • Dec 6, 2011 - 4:30PM

    Wow !!! May GOD Bless Pakistan with such minds … I m really proud of this young girl . May you have may more successes :)Recommend

  • Dec 6, 2011 - 4:37PM

    Wow, can it be true?

    Recommend

  • sohaib
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:46PM

    @anam: with all due respect, some people in this world are sent for some special purpose rather than leading a normal day to day life..several big tasks and huge responsibilities are on their shoulders keeping in view their genius mind..so they are actually involved in making something big and cause changes in ‘normal human’ lives rather than enjoying childhood/ teenage chores..i hope you get my point..

    Recommend

  • Xam Xaffar
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:04PM

    WoW. Pakistan Has So Much Talent. MashaALLah.

    P.S. There Are A Few Grammar Mistakes In Your ArticLe. :)

    Recommend

  • nasr
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:45PM

    @sabahat ahmad: Yeah this is our future,,,well done,,,,she belongs to my city ,Rabwah,,,so called chenab nagar…..our survival is with education,,by the grace of Allah our city has so many Satara,,though she belongs to Ahmadiyya community…..this piercing star going to be Pleiades ..INSHALLAH
    Persecution is not our fear anymore…..

    Recommend

  • FAZ
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:17PM

    Hmm @author
    so when is she applying for immigration??

    Recommend

  • ALi Awan
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:37PM

    Wow Congrats ! Good work you made us all proud !!
    Love for all hatred for none !!

    Recommend

  • Malik
    Dec 7, 2011 - 12:25AM

    Mashallah I am so happy to hear this. Sitara is an amazing kid. May Allah give her more success in her life..!! Great job Sitara!! We are proud of you! :)

    Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2011 - 12:46AM

    Mashallah

    Recommend

  • Lady Gaga
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:45AM

    excellent – hope you become the second pakistani to win the nobel prize

    Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2011 - 12:44PM

    Mash’Allah !! proud of Pakistan and Ahmadiyya Muslim Community !! God Bless You Sitara !! Keep Continue … We All Proud of You !!

    Recommend

  • Fuzail ayaz ahmad
    Dec 9, 2011 - 9:59PM

    Bravo!!!!! little bird you are touching the horizons May Almighty bless you with all you want to achieve.

    Recommend

  • Dec 11, 2011 - 9:59PM

    she atleast looks 13-14 to me…parents now a days usually reduce there childs age..but no all pakistanis will start their appreciation without this aknowledgment …

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Dec 11, 2011 - 11:15PM

    Great, that’s what our nation needs!
    It is way better then getting 28 As in O-Level at the age of NINTEEN!

    Recommend

  • jimmy
    Dec 12, 2011 - 1:03AM

    I will never let my child bear this brutality at such a young age. She may be extra genius but her parents are stealing her childhood from her.

    Recommend

  • josh
    Dec 12, 2011 - 3:49AM

    Sounds like she belongs to the Ahmaddiya sect of our country. Not that I have a prejudice about them, just saying because they seem to pay lot of heed towards their children’s education and they are doing very well. You’ll see a lot of well educated persons in their community, a result of attention towards early education, an aspect we continue to ignore in our muslim communities.

    Recommend

  • Kamran
    Dec 12, 2011 - 1:29PM

    Great Achievement.
    God Bless you.
    Kamran.

    Recommend

  • Ruhina Hashmi
    Dec 12, 2011 - 9:22PM

    Well done beta – you make us all proud.. Only sad aspect is, there will be no recognition for her, form any official side.. what a shame, what a shame…

    Recommend

  • Dec 13, 2011 - 3:34PM

    nice : she is very intellegent i think this brain iz……….so fast

    hmmmmmmmmmmmm,,,,,,,,,,,……….. nice……………….

    Recommend

  • mustafa
    Dec 14, 2011 - 12:26PM

    Well done Sitara….you are rightly the star that beacons bright when the signs of any good news coming out of Pakistan seem bleak. God bless you and fulfill your dreams you little genius.

    Recommend

  • ahmed
    Dec 16, 2011 - 4:36AM

    Not to take anything away for this young girl because she perhaps would be still too young to understand, but this race we have in the country of first getting dozens of A’s in O and A level and now doing in younger age is not really anywhere. There is little corelation between such traits and success in life of the highest order. Is it any wonder that we have many people breaking records at school and university levels but next to none when it comes to making world-class contributions. Just remember that Steve Jobs was just an average high school student and he only attended one term of college.

    Excelling at a high level in sports for example would make sense but getting such and such grade, though an achievements of sorts, is not something that we should encourage in our kids.

    Recommend

  • Syed Kashif ALi
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:40PM

    Great, another brilliant of Pakistan, we should give respect to her like Ali Moin both are assets of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Syed Kashif ALi
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:45PM

    Great jobRecommend

  • HarvardDean
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:25PM

    damn girl! . Great jaaaab!

    Recommend

  • samia
    Dec 30, 2011 - 1:50PM

    great job, keep it up!Recommend

  • noor
    Jan 7, 2012 - 1:58PM

    MashaAllah…………We all proud of you.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan