Monday, January 31, 2011

Double PhDs in Four Years

Pakistani scholar completes double doctorates from France in Record Time

ISLAMABAD: Higher Education Commision (HEC) scholar Kashif Mehmood has made the nation proud by successfully completing two PhD degrees from France within a period of four years.

Based on his education and experience, Kashif Mahmood secured admission in MS programme at the University Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) that is ranked among the best universities in the world. – Photo courtesy University Pierre et Marie Curie (

He is among those few fortunate researchers in the world who have secured double doctorates in two different disciplines (Business Administration and Computer Science) from two leading universities, says a press release issued here.

Dr. Kashif Mehmood completed four postgraduate degrees (PhD in Computer Science, PhD in Business Administration, M.Phil in Business Administration, MS in Computer Science) within the last five years.

He was awarded HEC scholarship under Overseas Scholarship Scheme for PhD in Selected Fields (Phase-1) in 2004.

Based on his education and experience, he secured admission in MS programme at the University Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) that is ranked among the best universities in the world.

During his research internship, Dr. Kashif impressed his supervisor with his technical, analytical and managerial skills for which he was offered a PhD thesis in Computer Science.

After starting PhD in Computer Science, Dr. Kashif applied for an M.Phil (Business Administration) in a leading French business school, ESSEC Business School. Getting into ESSEC was a difficult task and securing full fees waiver (worth 10,000 Euros/Year) was almost impossible.

But Dr. Kashif secured an admission along with a full fees waiver for the first year (renewable each year). He completed his MPhil (Business Administration) within two years along with working on his Computer Science thesis. After MPhil, he was offered to continue towards PhD in Business Administration from ESSEC.

Dr. Kashif defended both of his PhDs in front of a jury consisting of eight senior and eminent professors/researchers. Dr. Kashif received exceptionally good reviews for his dissertation and was highly praised during his defense presentation.
He was offered a full-time tenure track position in a leading university in Canada that he turned down to return to Pakistan and serve his country.

Selfless intellectuals like Dr. Kashif Mehmood are a true inspiration to our youth and a pride to our nation.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

O Level - Another World Record by a Pakistani Student

Published: January 24, 2011

Shahid, a student of a private school in Islamabad, 
sat for 24 subjects and scored 23 As.
ISLAMABAD: A student in Islamabad, Ibrahim Shahid, set a new world record by scoring 23 As in Cambridge O level exams.

Shahid, a student of a private school in Islamabad, sat for 24 subjects and scored 23 As.

Attributing his success to his parents, Shahid recalled an incident where his teacher in Australia had written him off, stating that he would “never excel”. He added that every child is special and everyone has their own capabilities.

Earlier, Ali Moeen Nawazish, also a Pakistani student, had set a world record by securing 23 As in A level Cambridge exams.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tiger Daughter

By Bill Powell Thursday, Jan. 20, 201

I sat in our suburban home in Shanghai and read online the excerpt from Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. My reaction to it was straightforward: Maybe a little over the top, but, yeah, that's about right. My wife's reaction: "I guess I'm not the toughest Chinese mother after all."

Our daughter, age 6, is in first grade. She's bilingual (Mandarin and English). She takes violin and ballet lessons. And she does two to three hours of homework a night, seven days a week. She is not Superkid. The fluency in English excepted ("An accident of birth," I remind her every time she comes home boasting about acing her latest English quiz), she's a normal kid. Pretty much every other child in her class at her Chinese school does the same stuff.

American-passport holder Abby Cui-Powell, in other words, is living a typical Shanghai childhood. That doesn't mean all work and no fun. She goes out to play with the kids in our neighborhood. And she watches movies. In fact, one of the reasons Abby's English is so good is that she spends time watching The Lion King and Toy Story. That's more freedom than Chua's kids were allowed, according to her book.(See a TIME Q&A with Amy Chua.)

Chua may be extreme in the discipline she tries to impose, even by Chinese standards. But where she is not extreme is in the intellectual and emotional underpinnings of why she does what she does. The most important assertion she makes in the piece, in my view, is this: "Chinese parents assume strength, not fragility."(See "Roaring Tigers, Anxious Choppers.")

This is exactly right. The assumption undergirding my wife's attitude toward Abby's education at home is that life is tough, you have to be educated to get through it, and what we're doing is aimed toward that end. You may not like it very much now, but it'll be worth it.

So she takes the lead. My role is pretty much limited to English; I read to Abby often and help correct her spelling mistakes. Joyce does the heavy lifting. Each night, she drills Abby relentlessly in math and Chinese. (Joyce and I both were lousy in math as kids, so we're assuming that Abby's gene pool is missing a few chromosomes when it comes to numbers.) Sometimes Abby cries and mopes. But every single night, she does the work. If she gets it wrong, she does it over until she gets it right. And I see no evidence that she's turning into a tortured, malfunctioning kid.(See more on the global debate about parenting, identity and family.)

Mind you, this is only first grade. The competitive pressure of the Shanghai school system intensifies as students get older and closer to the fateful collegeentrance exam that determines which university they can attend. We had lunch recently with friends whose daughter, a 10th-grader in an elite high school here, is frequently up until midnight doing homework. "It's too much," her father said. "Something has to change." This attitude is growing among middle-class Chinese parents, and the government is looking at ways to foster more creative thinking in schools.

But what you'll never see here is an adoption of what Chua calls the obsessive concern in the U.S. with a kid's self-esteem, which from my expatriate viewpoint has practically become a form of dementia among some parents: the Little Leagues in which they don't keep score, for example, lest the kids on the losing team get their feelings hurt.

There are things that are not quite right with Chua's piece. "What Chinese parents understand," she asserts, "is that nothing is fun until you're good at it." That's not only wrong, it's ridiculous. Kids — even Chinese kids! — enjoy sports at all levels, not just the Olympics. Abby, unprompted, loved to draw from an early age, and like everyone else, she started with stick figures.(Comment on this story.)

But the bottom line, to me, is the studies Chua cites reporting that Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as long every day as Western parents "drilling academic activities." Even if it's only three times as long, that's still a lot. Whatever Chua's excesses — and don't worry, we don't call Abby "garbage" if she flubs a math problem — when it comes to a child's education, having a Chinese mother is a big advantage; I'm very glad my daughter has one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

J.K. Rowling's Victory Over Suicidal Depression

"Harry Potter" Author Contemplated Suicide

Tuesday March 25, 2008

In an interview with Adeel Amini for a student magazine at Edinburgh University, J.K. Rowling revealed that she had once been suicidally depressed.

Rowling, 42, went through a low period in her mid-20's, following her separation from her first husband. She had not yet found fame and fortune with the "Harry Potter" series of books and was a single mother, struggling to make ends meet.
"The thing that made me go for help," said Rowling, "was probably my daughter. She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, this isn't right, this can't be right, she cannot grow up with me in this state."
Her first attempt at getting help was a failure, however. The substitute doctor who was covering for her regular physician overlooked the signs of her suicidal urges and sent her home with an admonishment to come speak with the practice nurse if she felt "a bit low". "We're talking suicidal thoughts here," said Rowling, "we're not talking about I'm a little bit miserable."
Luckily for Rowling, her regular doctor was more sensitive and called her back into her office and got her into counseling. "She absolutely saved me because I don't think I would have had the guts to go and do it twice."
"I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed," added Rowling. "Never. I think I'm abnormally shameless on that account because what's to be ashamed of? I went through a really tough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that."