I Was Born To Be A Teacher! – Interview with Zafar Shakir

On 4th of October 1982 a child was born in Khur-Barmas, Gilgit. No one knew that this child would be very special in every essence of life, and would be one of the shining stars of not only Gilgit-Baltistan, but a pride for Pakistan as he proved his hidden talent, led the high platforms either as a host, guest, presenter, being a young leader in the field of education and youth related topics, and above all as one of the best teachers due to his amazing teaching style. His father named him Mohammad Zafar, now known as Zafar Shakir. From the very beginning, his parents saw eagerness in him to learn, to get to know and to lead the youth in positive and constructive ways.

Zafar ShakirHe got his primary education from Govt. Amphary High School, where he remained the topper over the levels from primary to 4th class. He got admission in the Govt Primary School in the 5th class, got the first position in the Primary Board Exam. Then he got into Govt High School, No.1, Gilgit, where he got better avenues to polish his skills and abilities , and  was taught by the best teachers of the town. From the very beginning of his educational career, Zafar Shakir has not only exercised his excellence in education, but also got high altitudes in co-curricular activities, like sports & games, speeches and debates, hosting at regional, national and international shows. He was considered the most expert in the speeches and debates as he earned high level by winning competitions held not only at GB, but also at national and international platforms.

Two times, in 1995, and 1997, while being a very young school student, he represented GB at national level, and proved to be one of the best speakers of the country. For his excellence in curricular and co-curricular activities, in 1998 Zafar Shakir got honored with the prestigious award “Nishan-e-Imtiaz” by the then Headmaster of High School No.1, Gilgit, Mr Mir Fazil Shah,  at the farewell party for the outgoing students of Matriculation. Then, he got admission in Intermediate at Public School and College Jutial, Gilgit, proved his talent and skills as the Head-boy of Iqbal house.

In 2001, after completing his Inter-level education, he went for English speaking course from NUML. After a great struggle, he completed his English courses, both – the Certificate and the Diploma (2001 & 2002) with distinction, he was awarded by the then ambassadors as one of the best English speakers and students of his batches.

On his return to Gilgit, he joined the Read Foundation School, Gilgit to teach English as a subject and language. From that point of note, the true spark of a teacher shined in him, and he soon thought to be a man made for teaching, as owing to his unique way of teaching, and for his motivating his students, belong to any color or creed, for co-curricular activities, Col. Hassan Memorial Society honoured him with the Gold-Medal and the best motivator.  While teaching at Read Foundation he continued his studies and did his BA from KIU, and joined Public Schools and Colleges, Jutial , Gilgit as a young teacher, but continued his education. He got admission in MA in English Literature and Linguistics in 2004 as the first batch of English at KIU. During his studies at MA level (2004-2006), in 2005 he got selected in the “First All Pakistan Youth Convention”, where, from all over the country, 252 youth represented their respective areas, which was a big achievement for him as well as for his institute to represent GB. He got selected as one of the best youth at the convention, thus awarded by the then Prime-Minister of Pakistan- Mr. Shaukat Aziz. Zafar Shakir continued working hard in his studies, and scored the highest marks of his MA English first batch at KIU, thus considered the top student of English. On the basis of his skills and excellence as a student and also for teaching from 2002 to 2007, he got offered for teaching at KIU, which made him student come teacher in the alma-matter.

In 2008, he got selected as the permanent faculty (BPS#18) of English Department at Karakorum International University, Gilgit. He has been serving as a lecturer, as the Head of Talent Hunt program, and had honour as the youngest to Head of English Department for some span of time. In 2011 he went for his M.Phil degree from IIUI. In the mean time of his interview for selection as student at International Islamic University (IIUI), he was offered for teaching some classes as a guest lecturer at IIUI, and so some other universities in the capital city as he has gained much fame for leading the International Conferences, and also organized workshops on leadership and communication skills.

Zafar Shakir

OEC:   What/who influenced you the most to become a teacher? Why did you choose education as a career?

My teachers influenced me a lot who taught me either at home or in various institutions, or some international scholars whom I have been inspired a lot. For instance, in my family my middle brother Mr. Muhammad Younus Khan, and my uncle Abdul Hafeez Shakir inspired me a lot due to their excellent way of teaching, and the knowledge they have, and deliver it is simply outstanding. Some of my teachers inspired me a lot too;  they are: Sir Abdul Hameed Lone, Sir Akhtar,  Sir Akber Ali,  Sir Zaheer, Sir Ali Ahmed Jaan, Sir Abbas, Sir Safdar, Miss. Farheen, Miss Naseema Kiayani,   Sir Mujeer, Sir Nawaz Khatak, Sir Walayat Khan, Sir Amin Zia, Sir Riaz Hussain Shah, Miss Nousheen Ali,  Sir Sheeraz, Sir Ayaz Afsar, Sir Safeer Awaan, Sir Mustafeez Alvi,  and Munawar Ghondal, and the international scholars who influenced were Sir Matthew Stott, Mr. Mike Godon, Mr. Chips,   Mr.  Ibrahim Lincon and Mr. Robert Frost.

OEC: What is the role of parents in the success of student?

 Well, the role of parents is crucial in upbringing of a person, because parents always seek well for their children. My parents have no doubt supported me at every level and every step of my life. They do not only encourage me whenever I succeed, but also stand with me in my failure, and assist me to come out from it.

OEC: How important are grades in one’s career? Do you think that grades are the only measure of someone’s talent?

In my opinion, honestly speaking,  grades are not that much important in one’s success, and you won’t agree with me for such a different idea; although they help one to get through to achieve  good positions in academics, and finally one can get some good job, but to me, hard work, devotion, dedication, honesty, integrity, truthfulness and  passion play a vital and pivotal role in one’s career, rather these characteristics can make one a successful leader in any field of life, and he/she can inspire others.

OEC: What is failure? Have you ever failed in your life? What have you learned from your failures?

Failure and success are two facets of a coin, and of course, I have been failed in some of the fields of life, and learnt from my failure, as it is said, and let me quote, “Our mistakes are our teachers”, so it is clear that from our mistakes and failures, we learn in fact. Literary speaking, failure make us strong , they make us rise again; so there is no shame to be failed, but one must realize and learn from the failure. He/she must throw away the weeds and rotten eggs from his/her life, and strive for success. If he/ she do so, success will surely kiss his/her feet.  

OEC: Are you planning on coming back to GB to serve your people?

I am the son of mountains, so I have to return to them sooner or later. Well, I am a permanent faculty at KIU, and I am on study leave to pursuit my M.Phil degree, which is in progress, and I will surely resume my services by coming September. I would love to go back to my native town (Gilgit) to serve the people of my community through education. You know what!!! I have an amazing vision, a dream to come through one day hopefully, either in my life or my students will surely make it true by establishing another university besides KIU, and KIU is of course doing an excellent job to educate our people, but the university I am dreaming to establish will surely open the doors to those students of Oxford and Cambridge to study at least a semester. I do hope, this will be one of the leading universities in the world; I know, readers might laugh to read such a big comment, and they might call it mere daydreaming, “Khayal Chouhdari’s dream”, but it is my vision, and yes it has to come true one day, I hope so, and I need the prayers of all my well-wishers to do so. It’s a herculean task though, yet it has to be achieved.

OEC: Are you satisfied with the educational standards of GB? What are your suggestions for the improvement of the education system in GB?

It’s a Chinese puzzle to talk to be satisfied with the educational system of GB.  You know, satisfaction creates further dissatisfaction, as  there is no limit for the improvement. Some areas/institutions of the GB surely give quality education and produce the best product, while a few of the institutions are not up to that mark, due to serious lack of facilities and financial constraints. There is of course a need for improvement, and for this purpose we need to work together, let the educated youth come forward and assist the weaker ones.

OEC: How do you see the initiative of OEC?

I am extremely delighted to know about the initiative taken by OEC in the development of education in GB. This organization is surely addressing the most important issue of GB, which is education; your team is doing a wonderful job, and I do appreciate.  The best thing about this organization is, it’s above all castes, creeds and religions, and for that, I must appreciate. I praise OEC for its unconditional and selfless services. My services whenever and wherever needed are with this organization, and I am wholly-solely ready to assist you to develop education which will surely help the people of GB to develop a peaceful, loving, caring, mosaic, and pluralistic society in GB.

OEC: Your message for the students of Gilgit Baltistan?

My dear GB students, you are the bright future of Pakistan at large and GB in particular. I ask you to kindly devote yourself to your studies. Please come out from your cocoons; some of you have been derailed from your right path due to the influence of some hijackers- the so-called friends around you, in fact they are your foes, as a result your fresh minds have been badly polluted, I am afraid, and please don’t mind for my being so direct, I know I have been a bit offensive though, yet I am sharing the pain that I feel about you and GB. Please reject sectarians, violence and hypocrisy. Do work-hard, as it is the success to every field of life. Be generous and dedicate yourself to what you opt for. Listen, life is a complex phenomenon my dear students and you will surely experience its ups and downs; learn from your mistakes. Contribute towards the betterment of the society whether it rains or shines. Do plan before you act; do learn to manage time. Keep your energy in positive and constructive activities. May God be with you my dear GB students!


Hunzukuzhan in Scandinavia

Shaukat Ali Khan

Hunzukuzhan in Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) will be a series of small articles where I will be sharing my personal experiences and lessons from this society. The aim behind this is to give an idea to all those potential candidates who are planning and thinking to go abroad for their education or career. The idea of going abroad attracts a number of people for various reasons; ranging from educational purposes to financial incentives to working in an international environment. Hunzukuzhan in Scandinavia will cover different aspects of living and studying abroad.

The first article’s objective is to give a general awareness to prospective students about different categories of international students here. The students in these categories are the ones I’ve interacted with; there are probably others who do not fall into these categories. In this article, I will be talking about three major categories of international students here in Scandinavia.


The first category comprises of those students who are well driven and determined to get good degrees, enhance their knowledge and go back to serve their home countries. It’s getting pretty rare to see such driven and motivated students. Some students go for PhD after completion of a Master’s degree. Getting a PhD degree is almost like getting a full time job for 4-5 years with pay equivalent to any professional entry-level job. In this category some students come with various national and international scholarship schemes. Students in this category try their best to educate themselves from the system and society and when they go back home they are comparatively well off.

Second category is those students who just need visa to get an entry to a developed country. One example of this system is getting a visa to one country in Schengen states, which then makes one eligible to enter any country in Schengen states (a group of 26 European countries). Every year many students who come in this category are seeking to get employed in any odd job (e.g. doing dishes, cleaning and newspaper distribution etc.) and earn as much as they can to support their families back home. Life for such a student can be very difficult, as they hardly get a chance to explore this world and learn from their environment.

A student in such a situation often earns a decent wage compared to back home, but this often comes at a cost of a miserable daily life. They have many liabilities and responsibilities towards their families and often feel liable towards their responsibilities. There only routine is work – sleep – eat and they cannot afford to have a social life where they meet people from their own country or in the local community. After couple of years these educated students often lose their track of all the education and professional experience they got during past years and even loose the confidence to apply for any position that is relevant to their education.

Students in this category try every possible way to prolong their stay in these countries including marriages (in some cases ‘Sham marriages’) and other possible ways. Normally it’s impossible for these students to extend their visa, as they don’t earn any credits from their institutions, which is the basic requirement for any visa extensions. Moreover, some even go to extend of spending huge amounts in processing their admission from their home country (to get admission and visa) through different ‘agents and consultants’ who often charge upwards of PKR. 500,000.

It’s not all doom and gloom as there is a third category of students who come with the best intentions of completing there education to a high standard while having a good time exploring the culture and popular destinations in their guest country. Many of such type go on to apply for professional opportunities based on their experience and education. The competition may be very high, but many still manage to get good work opportunities. Students in this category complete their education and try their best to get a professional opportunity for couple of years in the country of stay and if they don’t, many are still picked by good institutions back home.

In my next article I will share with my readers the different aspects work and life in Scandinavia. Special thanks to Rubab Maryam Khan and Muhammad Ali Khan for supporting me in this initiative.


source :  http://pamirtimes.net/2013/04/24/hunzukuzhan-in-scandinavia/

Orientation session held in Islamabad for newly appointed volunteers of OEC

The first orientation session of the new office bearers of the Organization for Educational Change (OEC) was held on 14th April 15, 2013 at Usmania Restaurant in Blue Area, Islamabad. The event started at 1:05pm with recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an. As many as 28 members ensured their presence including the former President and founding member, Mr. Jibran Ali Hayat, along with other members of OEC M&A Council. The orientation session was aimed at enlightening the newly appointed members about the projects and working mechanism of OEC. The event included formal introduction of coordinators, respective head of departments and members with the peers of OEC. A brief overview was given in the shape of a video and presentation that highlighted evolution of OEC and its major achievements since its inception as an idea of a single magazine to a fully operational NGO. The incumbent President Mr. Syed Naveed Shah while welcoming the new office bearers gave a brief overview of OEC and its main objectives and major achievements in the form of ongoing successful projects, namely: Educure, Scholarhips, Discover GB, OEC Education Expo, OEC Helpline, OEC Blog. He stressed on the need of formulation and execution of innovative ideas to take OEC to new heights and set an example of how an organization can deliver maximum with limited resources. Addressing on the occasion, OEC’s newly elected Vice President, Mr. Imran Hunzai, briefly outlined the structure and hierarchy of OEC and briefed about the projects and initiatives of the organization. He then explained the structural formation and working mechanism of the organization in detail.

Later, a critical ‘question and answer’ session was conducted where the newly selected office bearers asked questions regarding the OEC and its future goals and came up with suggestions that could make improvements in the working of OEC as a dynamic organization. The chairperson of M&A Council, Mr. Naubahar Rafi, in his remarks thanked the members for their enthusiasm and commitment towards working for OEC. President OEC, Mr. Syed Naveed Shah, towards the end while reiterating the need for collective efforts to foster the goals of OEC, thanked the esteemed members especially, Ms. Asma Zafar, Mr. Imtiaz Ali, Ms. Bushra Ali, Mr. Nadeem Gul and Ms.Tajjali Abid for sponsoring the first meeting of the new office bearers of OEC. The meeting ended with a photo session of the new cabinet members.

Happy International Women’s Day

International Women's Day

Today, on the 8th of March, 2013, we celebrate the International Women Day. On this occasion I would like to show my praise and gratefulness to the women of Gilgit-Baltistan. You have conquered the highest peaks under your feet, you have swum the deepest oceans and with your steadfastness, you have turned the tides and still walk tall. You are engineers, doctors, pilots, scientists, teachers, sports women and managers. . In the words of Harriet Beecher Stowe,” Women are the real architects of society”. We are proud of you all.

Happy Women’s Day!

On this day, we cordially invite you to join OEC and to work for the educational revolution in Gilgit Baltistan. You have always shared the ups and downs of OEC and we hope that you would continue your support to make the days seem brighter with the light of education which would illuminate every corner of GB.

Syed Naveed Shah

President OEC


Today world is celebrating international women’s day to pay tribute to the women on the universe. Let’s redefine the status of women in our family as mother, sister, daughter and wife and pay special salute to encourage their role within the family as well as in development sector.Women have served all centuries for development. I will take the opportunity on this International Women’s Day to pay tribute to women of GB who are participating in all fields of life specially contributors and ministers at household. I would like to invite young blood, especially females to come forward to share their expertise in development of GB through the platform of OEC.

Bushra Ali,

Co-founding member of OEC

3rd OEC Annual Meeting 2013 held in Islamabad

Group Photo of OEC Members and Goodwill Partners in Islamabad after Annual Meeting

Group Photo of OEC Members and Goodwill Partners in Islamabad after Annual Meeting

The 3rd Annual Meeting of Organization for Educational Change was held in Islamabad on Sunday 24th, 2013. The Annual Meeting is held each year in February. The event includes elections for new executive body, review its previous year’s achievements, project coordinators present previous working reports,  President presents annual report of his tenure and an open floor discussion where goodwill partners review OEC’s performance and give new ideas. The event also gives an opportunity to newly inducted members to introduce themselves and know the overall working of the organization. This ensures a smooth transition between old and new heads of projects and other members.

Objectives of the Meeting and gathering:

  • To share the Progress Report of OEC for year 2012/13.
  • Evaluation of OEC as NGO, as well impacts of the projects
  • Critique , recommendations , suggestions for newly elected Cabinet of OEC
  • Election of Chairman Monitory and Advisory Council for the year 2013/14
  • Election of President and Vice President of OEC for year 2013/14

The event started with recitation of a few verses from the Holy Quran. The timeline of the event is as under:oec-annual-meetng-201332 people participated in the Annual Meeting including the goodwill partners and newly inducted members. Talking to the participants, Mr. Jibran Ali Hayat, the out-going President presented an overview of the whole year. Under his leadership, OEC was registered with Government of Pakistan as an NGO. The participants appreciated Mr. Jibran Hayat’s and the executive committee’s dedicated voluntary services for OEC. Mr. Syed Naveed Shah was elected President while Mr. Imran Ahmed Hunzai was elected the Vice President of Organization for Educational Change for the year 2013-14. Prior to the elections, Mr. Ameen Naubahar Rafi was selected the Chairman of M&A Council. The oath taking ceremony was followed shortly after the new appointments.

The goodwill partners Mr. Noor Muhammad (Pamir Times), Mr. Raja Nazeem ul Amin (CEO Gold Roof Pvt. Ltd.) Mr. Sardar Karim (NRSP) and Mr. Raees Kamil Jan Baigal (Founder GBVB) expressed their views on various projects of OEC. After the meeting, lunch was served and recorded photo session.

Pictures from the event:

OEC representatives meet Minister for Education G-B

The representative team of Organization for Educational Change met Dr. Ali Madad Sher, the Minister for Education, Welfare and Women Development Gilgit-Baltistan. The team included President Mr. Jibran Hayat, Educure Editor in Chief Mr. Naubahar Rafi and the goodwill partner Mr. Rashid Ud Din.

The team presented 2nd Edition of Educure Magazine to Dr. Sher. The Minister appreciated the voluntary efforts of OEC.


OEC Team presenting Educure II

The 2nd Edition of Educure magazine has been distributed all over Gilgit-Baltistan in various organizations, schools, personalities related to education, government offices and NGOs. Copies of Educure have also been distributed to the subscribers in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Abbottabad and other regions of the country. You can also read online version of Educure on official website.

People of Gilgit-Baltistan

Further reading: OEC gets registered with Government of Gilgit-Baltistan

OEC gets registered with Government of Gilgit-Baltistan

We are pleased to announce that Organization for Educational Change is now officially registered with Government of Gilgit-Baltistan under voluntary Social Welfare Agencies Ordinance 1961. OEC President Mr. Jibran Hayat, Educure Chief Editor Mr. Naubahar Rafi and OEC Goodwill Partner Mr. Rashid Ud Din received the certificate of registration in Gilgit.

Organization for Educational Change will now work as a Non Government Organization.

We appreciate the contribution of every single person and organization whose support till this point has been inspiring and useful for taking the next step. OEC, now being a legal entity, will work more efficiently on the initiatives and projects. We hope you will continue your support in the long journey. Thank you all!

OEC Registration Certificate Government of Gilgit Baltistan


Organization for Educational Change is pleased to announce that the 2nd edition of Educure annual magazine is now available in printed form. Please contact OEC representatives for subscription details.

Educure II




Danish Meher (Rawalpindi)
0345 4506 740

Tariq Ameen (Karachi)
0346 6229 536

Waqar Ahmed (Gilgit)
0312 5000 334

Imran Hunzai (Islamabad)
0344 5536 773

*Rs.250 for professionals and organizations.
*Rs.200 for students and OEC Volunteers.

*Standard shipping charges apply.

For further details:
Website: http://educure.theoeconline.org/
Email: educure@theoeconline.org
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Educure
Facebook: http://facebook.com/Educure


A student of Karakorum International University(KIU) excels at All Pakistan Inter University Debate Competition.

Apart from academic excellence, students of GB have always shown significant performance in Co-Curricular activities. Female students from GB in particular, have been remarkable in debate competitions held at both regional and national level. The 15th All Pakistan Inter University Debate Competition for Allama Iqbal Shield was held by HEC on December 19, 2012 at International Islamic University Islamabad. The topic for the English debate was “only democracy can ensure a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan”. More than 60 students from different universities of Pakistan participated in this competition. Miss Shaheen Akhtar, Miss Shehnaz Gul, Mr. Umar Hayat and Mr. Jamal Saeed represented Karakoram International University ( KIU ), Gilgit. The contestants from GB remained brilliant throughout the competition and Shaheen Akhar was declared as third position holder for the contest. Team OEC highly appreciates the courage and confidence of students for representing GB on national level competition and presents deepest congratulations to Miss Shaheen Akhtar.

Miss Shaheen Akhter Receiving shield for the Third Position in 15 All Pakistan Debate competition.

Miss Shaheen Akhter Receiving shield for the Third Position in 15 All Pakistan Debate competition.

Shaheed Akhtar KIU Gilgit

LUMS Students make their institution to save a million rupees per month

LESCO offers different billing rates to innovatecustomers depending upon  consumption pattern. Lahore Univeristy of Management Science (LUMS) was being charged on smooth billing rate of eight rupees/unit. It had the option to move to a new billing rate of ‘peak and off peak hour’ billing rate.

A group of LUMS students designed a project to analyze the feasibility  of ‘peak and off peak hour’ billing rate option for their Insititution.

The project basically did scenario analysis on both the billing rates by taking actual consumption of electricity from LUMS meter. Its findings suggested that LUMS would save around 1.5 million rupees per month by moving to the new proposed billing rates.

After carefull scrutiny of poject’s projections, the LUMS adminstration  implemented  ‘peak and off peak hour billing rate’ from the month of November and saved 1 million rupees in the month of November. Furthermore, it  will be saving above  “A Million Rupees A Month” from now onwards. On their great contribution to L292185_354235671292272_717745752_nUMS family, LUMS administration officially congratulated the project team.

Mr. Shahzad Ali,  a member of the  project team, who is also a  National Outreach Program (NOP) Scholar at LUMS from Chitral, thanked God for providing him with an opportunity to pay back the very institution, that hunted him out from no-where and gave him an opportunity to learn at the best institution of country. Furthermore, he said, “if provided genuine opportunities, the students of our country can bring innovative ideas to solve  many severe problems faced by our  nation”