“My story, might not be that different from the story of any other hard working student in the mountainous region of Gilgit Baltistan. Due to the lack of proper education facilities and because of the financial and other constraints, we all have to overcome challenging situations in order to mold conditions in our favor. I started my journey from an Urdu medium government primary school in Jalalabad. The start of my journey was not that pleasant as I had to face many challenges and failures at the beginning, but I learnt something out of all those hurdles that I crossed one by one. 

The major achievement in my career was the moment when I entered Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Studying at LUMS was my dream that came true only through hard work, guidance from mentors that I have in my life, and last but not the least the role of the invisible hand in my favor. Attending undergraduate school in LUMS, I believe, transformed my life in many dimensions. It changed my way of thinking towards the existence of human beings. There I recognized the transforming powers of the education. It doesn’t not play its role in changing the economics of the individuals and society, but it changes the overall dynamics of the society through improving the approach of people towards the purpose of life. 

Now, when I knew well about the power of education, I went out of my comfort zone and worked for educating those children who were deprived of this basic right. I worked voluntarily with an NGO in Lahore for educating the deprived children in a SLUM in the vicinity of Lahore city. During this exposure I learnt more about the real challenges and the on ground hurdles that parents are facing in educating their children. 

After graduating from LUMS, I kept working for transforming the society through changing the standards of education. While working on multidimensional poverty in Pakistan with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), a think tank in Islamabad, I came to know about the poverty traps in which our different segments of the society have been trapped in for ages. Again, I observed that, the only way out of these poverty traps is education. We can bring these deprived segments out of these difficult situations only through changing the existing educational standards in our society. 

After going through all this transformation, I then decided to work for changing the quality of education in Pakistan for the rest of my life. Currently, I am studying Educational Economics at Teachers College in Columbia University. Now, I have a dream to modify the educational policies in Pakistan that are directly affecting the quality of education that our children are getting at schools and consequently their psychology. I believe that this is only possible if the educated lot and all stakeholders in our society keep a constant push on the policy makers to formulate policies based on evidence to change the educational standards and to ensure the delivery of quality education at schools”

Zaheer Abbass, Jalalabad(Gilgit)