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March 19, 2011

Dr Shams Abbasi: an educationist par excellence no more with us

National

March 19, 2011

Karachi
Dr Shams Abbasi, who strived all her life to educate girls in the rural areas of Sindh, died on late Wednesday night in Hyderabad at the age of 85. She left behind two daughters and hundreds of students and well wishers to mourn her death. A large number of educationists, students and writers attended her funeral.
The daughter of Qazi Abdul Qayuum, ‘Apa Abbasi’ was born on January 10, 1924. Formerly Director of the Bureau of Curriculum, she had numerous degrees in the field of education. She started her career as a secondary school teacher and went on to become the Principal of Zubaida Government College for Women in Hyderabad. This was the only college for women in Sindh at the time. Dr Abbasi eventually went on to become the director in the education department.
She authored 22 books both in English and Sindhi and remained committed to her cause of educating girls from poor families. After the death of her only son Aquil, she established a school in Hyderabad in his memory and named it after him. Today, Aquil Kids Academy attracts a large number of children from all over Hyderabad.
The Apa Shams Abbasi Library and a spacious auditorium are two of the attractions of the school. Majority of the teachers here are female. Besides providing the children with a sound education, the school celebrates all the national days with enthusiasm and encourages professionalism in its students.
While Abbasi was serving as director education, she travelled to remote villages in Sindh and convinced the parents and encouraged the teachers to provide education to young girls. She was the first one to take the initiative of appointing female teachers in government schools to motivate girls and their parents towards education. She took this up as a challenge with the belief that this was the only way to bring change in a society dominated by the feudal system. Abbasi was inspired by her mother, who provided education to all of her daughters despite

opposition from her family and community.
Many of her former students are now serving on key posts in different organizations. Former Sindh Education Minister Dr Hameeda Khuhro, ex-Provincial Secretary Mahtab Akbar Rashdi and former Director of Colleges Maryam Noohani are some of her students.