PESHAWAR: While much is made of the difference in the standards of education offered by public and private schools and colleges, one child has proved that sometimes the X-factor can just be hard work and determination.
Liaquat Ali, the student of Government Centennial Model High School Marghuz in Swabi and the son of a poor Mardan farmer, has managed to beat off competition from 15,863 students — including some toppers and position holders from the private school system — to secure the most marks in the entrance tests for University of Engineering and Technology (UET) in Peshawar.
The UET had held its entrance tests simultaneously in six cities across the province on Sunday. In the 800 marks test, only two students scored more than 600 marks, Ali with 605 marks and Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Abbottabad’s Jamal Ahmad with 601 marks.
Talking to TheExpress Tribune, Ali explained that his parents are illiterate and live in a village in Murghuz, Swabi. Despite that, they endeavoured to get their four children, three boys and a girl, education.
“I was a topper of our school throughout my academic career,” he said.
He, however, lamented that he had received no recognition or reward for his efforts.
“So far, I have not been awarded or provided any encouragement either from the government or from my school,” he complained.
Ali said that his father actually tills the land owned by a fellow villager. The income generated by that activity sustains him, his two brothers and a sister.
Their poor financial situation has been a factor in his education on more than one occasion.
Had it not been for a scholarship at the Quaid-i-Azam College in Swabi, he may not even have completed his intermediate and managed to attempt the entrance tests.
“I am happy to topped entrance test, but at the same time, I am worried how will I manage the university admission fee and other expenses,” he said.
There have been questions raised over the performance of the former government led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who had made tall claims of focusing on education, expending significant treasure in that pursuit. Despite that, the recent matriculation results in Peshawar showed that students from government schools did not even feature in the top 20, with the top spots dominated by students of private schools.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2018.