Disability and Official Apathy Can’t Hinder Abdul Baqi’s Pursuit for Education

Karachi: As ninth-graders at a government school in Lyari scrambled to their seats with their pens and answer books to give their board exam, 15-year old Abdul Baqi lied on his side at a table, holding a pen with both hands, solving questions as fast as he could, Geo News reported.

The severely disabled child had arrived in a pram to give his exam. He was too small for his age, his limbs were twisted and his spinal chord had not developed properly. Hence, he had trouble controlling his movements. Yet, his morale was high, and despite missing out five years from his studies he had managed to cope up, his father said. “Now he even gives tuitions to grade six students, conducting daily classes at our house,” he said.

“He is very smart, and is fluent in reading the Quran too. I hope he can achieve all that he dreams of,” said his proud father, waiting outside the exam centre.

Inside, Baqi wrote frantically. “I want to be a software engineer when I grow up,” he said, speaking to Geo News.

Children gathered around him as exam ended. Perhaps because they had never seen anyone like him before. Or perhaps because he had motivated him to study harder. And more importantly dream big.

When he finished the paper, the invigilator was surprised. “He is a very intelligent child. In the 30 minute multiple choice answer part, most children left out two to three questions.

But Baqi attempted all 10 in the time span.”

It was disheartening to know that the board administration had done absolutely nothing to ease his plight. Providing him with a writer, who could pen down his thoughts, could have been the least they could have done.

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