Q1: Sir, I need your guidance, your column in Jang newspaper is really helpful for me. I want to pursue my career in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and I have a keen interest in Astrophysics and Space Sciences. Can I make my path to NASA by graduating from NUST University or IST (Pakistan) or I have to apply for a foreign university? Thanking you in anticipation. (Laiba Masood, Karachi.)
A: It is good to see that you are interested in such an important and emerging subject area. However, getting into NASA would be quite difficult despite you being an excellent or high achiever from NUST or IST. The question is not of academic performance it is rather who you are? Your nationality, your religion and all these things become very important when you look at getting into these institutions where such scrutiny and investigation become important. Just to give you an example, if you are to do such a course at a UK institution, you would require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance. However, there is no harm in pursuing such a course at NUST and finding career opportunities in Pakistan.
Q2: I am an engineering student currently studying A Levels and I have completed my 1st year with 2A, 1B. What is the best option for engineering universities in Pakistan and abroad? If Pakistan is the best option then what entrance test I am supposed to be preparing for and when are they held. If abroad (not UK or USA) then which entrance test should I prepare for and what are the requirements for scholarship. I want to study in Australia or Canada. Please mention some renowned universities. Should I qualify ILETS test (B grade in O Level English)? (Abdullah Tahir, Lahore).
A: I see that you have achieved reasonably good scores in your AS Levels and if you maintain the same or improve this to straight A’s, there are good chances that a number of universities across the world, and as you say other than UK or USA, will be happy to accept you and offer full or partial scholarships. There are a number of universities that you may like to consider in Australia such as University of Sydney, University of Queensland, University of Melbourne or Canada; McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta etc.
Q3: Sir, I am a student of O Levels (Cambridge). I want to discuss about my subjects for O Levels. I have actually opted Pre-Engineering Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and want to opt Environment Management as my optional subject. Can you please guide me is there the scope for Environment Management in Pakistan? As I am a little confused about what to choose for my optional subject, and what subjects should I opt in A Levels if I want to continue with Environment Management or Environmental Science. (Sikandar Raza, Karachi).
A: Environmental Management or Science is an emerging subject area and as you rightly said it has a lot of importance in Pakistan, considering the aspects of Global Warming and Clean Technology. All you need to do is get good grades in your Physics, Chemistry and Maths or Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science or Physics, Maths and Business Management. Any combination should be good for getting into a degree programme towards Environment Management. This is equally good whether you wish to study in Pakistan or abroad.
Q4: First I would like to thank you for your kind comments about career in Pakistan. I request you kindly comment about hotel industry in Pakistan. Sir, I am surprised to see the package which is provided to employee even on management position. Other countries really honour hospitality field with attractive packages. I do understand we had lesser amount of hotels in Pakistan. But normally a Duty Manager' gets only 25,000 with no other benefits.
I have 10 years experience in hotel industry in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and now I am willing to come back to Pakistan and do something for my country but I am bit disappointed about package. The government never asks any accountability about employees of hotel industry. Kindly also advise me shall I go back and serve my skills for others or I will stay here with low package. I do have my kids and parents as well. (Yasir, Abu Dhabi)
A: It is good to hear that you have served the hotel industry for a long time and have made your career in this field. I would recommend that you create a professional CV / resume highlighting your qualifications and experience in this industry with particular reference to specialisation such as front office, banquet or sales and marketing etc. I would recommend that you write to all big hotel chains in Pakistan and offer your services to see the response only then can you plan your visit to Pakistan. I hope this advice will help you besides your future way forward.
(Syed Azhar Husnain Abidi is a renowned educationist in Pakistan, with more than 20 years of experience as provider of education counselling services. He has represented Pakistan in over 100 national and international seminars, conferences and fora. He is a recipient of the most coveted civil award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz).