Ms. Saima Yawar's Profile
Saima, in both her social and professional circles, is known to be a relentless go-getter and a consistent all-rounder. Ever since she made the daring decision of studying business while standing at the brink of pursuing medicine, she has learned to trust her instincts and has never looked back since. Receiving a summa cum laude distinction and a gold medal in her undergraduate program only fueled her desire to achieve more.
Saima, through her work affiliations with prestigious multinational companies, found that she is passionate about marketing, something she has a knack for too. She has profound love for travel, food, people, and photography. Through Fulbright, she was able to mix all four elements and experience them in a different cultural and geographic setting. During her stay in the U.S., Saima got the opportunity to wed her passion and ambition together - her single-minded focus on Marketing, pursued through her MBA at Georgia State University.
Saima has recently taken up the position of lecturer at National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (FAST-NU) to teach undergraduate students. She finds teaching to be extremely rewarding and an avenue to shape the future of our younger lot.
Culture of Learning in Pakistan: Myth or Fact?
The education system of Pakistan has been under fire for many decades now because of a variety of reasons: dichotomous system of academic learning, curriculum inconsistencies, obsolete testing systems, inadequate focus on quality education, etc. The focus of my concern and talk, however, is a rather more pressing offshoot of this troublesome system. My talk is centered on highlighting the culture of learning and its importance in higher education institutions.
Pakistan has its own unique culture of learning. Focused on rote learning, generic assignments and project work, typical examination patterns, and little or no practical learning, this system fails to afford its students any opportunity at exploring real-life practicalities of the concepts they learn in class. The metrics used to assess a student’s performance and potential are grades and class attendance. Needless, we end up producing professionals who have plenty of book knowledge but no personal opinion, practical exposure, and most importantly, skills to compete on a global platform.
I learned the importance of culture of learning when I went to the U.S. for my Master’s on a Fulbright scholarship. All my life, I had lived in Pakistan and studied in institutions which were heavily focused on the typical culture of learning. I was the gold medalist and summa cum laude recipient of my batch at FAST-NU Islamabad but at the end of the day, that success was strictly based on classroom learning. In my first class of MBA at Georgia State University, I was shocked to see the focus on class participation through vocalizing your opinion. My professor would welcome all sorts of views on the case studies we discussed and would penalize students if they didn’t speak up. Contrasting that with what I had experienced in Pakistan, I couldn’t help but feel stunned. In Pakistan, seeking answers was never imbibed in the learning process, be it the classroom setting or discussions at home.
After having returned from the U.S., I went back to my former university, FAST-NU, and asked them to let me teach undergraduate students. I now teach Business Communication to a class of 20-years old students who challenge my concepts and views every single day. The reason I have gone back is rooted in my need to give back and expose those young people to a new facet of learning. My classroom learning is focused on allowing opinions and knowledge sharing, supporting risk taking mindset, fostering individualism, and enhancing personal development.
I propose the following and will expand on in my presentation:
1. Strategic partnerships – to build a focus on specialization and enable participation in various global value chains.
2. Networking opportunities – to build a framework which identifies and fosters the skill set needed in the future.
Ms. Saima Yawar
National University of Computer and Emerging
Georgia State University