In the fall semester of 2018, Dr. Zia Ahmed, a dear friend, invited me to co-teach an undergraduate course on postcolonial studies.
He teaches at the Government Emerson College, a historical liberal arts and sciences college in Multan, Pakistan. I agreed to participate and my lectures were delivered in real-time through Skype. Considering the time difference, we arranged for me to come online at 11:00 pm every Thursday; this enabled Dr. Zia’s students to join the class at 9:00 am on their Friday. This was my first time offering something more than an occasional lecture.
While on my end not much coordination was needed, as I just used my office computer to deliver the lectures, Dr. Zia was instrumental in organizing things at his end. In the whole process, his colleagues and the college principal, Dr. Mohammad Salim, were exceptionally supportive of our venture.
I found Dr. Zia’s students to be exceptionally motivated, curious, and engaged throughout the semester. Not only did they display a deep desire to learn, they also asked me some really thought-provoking questions. I must admit that I enjoyed this weekly exchange so much that I anxiously waited for the Thursday evenings.
My weekly exchange also strengthened my belief that there is a huge desire to learn amongst Pakistani students and all they need is better resources and better access to knowledge. I am grateful to Dr. Zia and his students for sharing their time and thoughts with me.
I must also point out that teachers like Dr. Zia are pretty rare everywhere, but especially in Pakistan and thus should be honored and rewarded for their efforts for their students.
I am still in touch with Dr. Zia and hope to do this again for him and his students.