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Ahmed Saya '08

Course studied:
BSc Applied Accounting

Winner of the 2019 Dedicated Teacher Award

Ahmed Saya

In February 2019, Ahmed Saya ’08 won the Cambridge University Press Dedicated Teacher Award - a competition of over 4,000 teachers from across the world.

Ahmed studied BSc Applied Accounting through Oxford Brookes’ partnership with ACCA – graduating in 2008. He now teaches A level Mathematics and Accounting to more than 1000 students at multiple schools in Karachi, Pakistan including Cordoba School for A level. He is also a dedicated member of The Bridge School which provides quality education to under-privileged children, as well as a teacher's trainer and motivational speaker.

Ahmed kindly took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his career and the importance of education.

Why did you choose to study with Oxford Brookes?

“In order to achieve my undergraduate degree from a prestigious university, I found it an amazing opportunity.”

What was the best thing about your course?

“The Research and Analysis Project gave me a different perception and an altogether new approach to my skillset. Having hands on experience and practical application of concepts and ideas learnt through the books was definitely a learning experience.”

Why did you become a teacher?

“I started teaching when I was in 9th grade, in order to finance my own studies and to become a self-made person. I was even teaching when I was doing my ACCA and Research and Analysis Project of Oxford Brookes University. Soon I realized I love teaching, so much so that it became my forte.

“I realized I can communicate difficult concepts to those who need my help. Teaching is a responsibility where a teacher is a role model influencing hundreds of different minds and can make a difference in numerous lives.”

How proud are you of winning the Dedicated Teacher Award?

“I am extremely overwhelmed. I mean I never thought I would achieve something so big. The best part is I am representing my country and I am proud that I have made Pakistan proud in an international forum.

“Winning this award or title was never the aim or intention, it just happened. To be honest, all teachers are very dedicated and we all work without a title. Whether I won this award or not would not have made much difference in my teaching because I would still work with the same zeal, enthusiasm, sincerity and dedication.

“Since I have won it, there are automatically lots of expectations attached, as the saying goes ‘with great powers comes great responsibility’. Now I have to ensure that I live up to what is expected of me. And I also realize that no one is perfect and there is always a margin of improvement. I have to ensure I improve further so that I justify winning the award.

“Nonetheless I am very excited and there is this out of the world feeling that I cannot describe in words. It’s as if I feel like the KING of the world!”

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

“Teaching is a passion and it comes from within oneself. I realize that by teaching I am able to nurture and influence the mind-set of people in a positive manner.

“A teacher is a role model, who is not only responsible for his own self, but is also responsible for impacting the mind-set of the nation. Once this realization hit me, teaching then was no more a job or work, it became a responsibility.

“By influencing thousands of children that I teach, I can play an important part by positively impacting people who will then reflect the positive image. My legacy is not my students, my legacy is the legacy created by my students.”

What is your involvement with The Bridge School?

“In Pakistan, unfortunately 25 million children (of school going age) are out of school. Being an educationist my vision is to eradicate illiteracy from Pakistan. The Bridge School is the first step towards the fulfilment of that vision.

“We set up bridge school seven years back to ensure that underprivileged students get access to quality education. We named it The Bridge School with the same intention; to bridge the gap between privileged kids and underprivileged kids so that those who cannot afford should not be deprived. Currently almost 220 students are studying at The Bridge School.

“Realistically speaking helping only 220 students out of 25 million students who are out of school, the vision of eradicating illiteracy seems like a far-fetched dream, but it is not impossible. If like-minded educationists join hands and we manage to set up similar schools like The Bridge School in some more underprivileged areas then we will be able to cater a lot more students.

“But the real impact will come when these 200 plus kids, who are currently studying at The Bridge School, grow up and set up a branch of bridge school each and each school caters 200 kids then see the multiplier effect. This far-fetched dream will become a reality soon.”

How important do you think education is to individuals, to Pakistani society and to the world?

“Without education there is NO survival. Education gives an individual awareness of things that were not known to him. It opens up a complete new horizon, broaden the vision and it kindles the fire within to achieve things beyond imagination. Education is a basic necessity.

“In Pakistan there are quite a few problems, but where there are problems, there are opportunities and Pakistan is definitely a land of opportunities. These opportunities are not harnessed yet because of lack of education.

“Some big problems in Pakistan are crime rate, unemployment, child labour, health issues and illiteracy. But if we look closely all problems are born because of illiteracy and lack of education. And same is the case with the whole world. Once the society is educated problems at large are solved, as more awareness is created, more ideas pour in and there is a realization for change. Education alone can bring that change.”

Do you have goals you have not yet achieved, if so what are they?

“As I mentioned earlier my goal, my vision is to eradicate illiteracy from Pakistan. This is something that I desperately want to achieve.

“On a personal level, I want to pursue my PhD, for which I haven’t been able to take out time but yes it is something I definitely want to do and hopefully will do.”

Read about other ACCA graduates in Observe

2018