Wednesday May 18, 2022

Pioneering educationist Dr Ismail Saad passes away

By News Desk
January 18, 2022

KARACHI: Renowned educationist and writer Dr Ismail Saad passed away at his home in Karachi early Monday morning after a brief illness. He was 90.

Dr Saad played a pioneering role in establishing the department of Special Education at Karachi University, where he served as Project Director, 1988-1996. He also served as Chairman, Department of Education, University of Karachi, 1987-1990 and Registrar, University of Karachi, 1976-1979.

He held distinguished positions in other universities of Karachi, retiring in 2020 as Dean, Faculty of Education and Learning Sciences, Iqra University which he joined in 2005. He also served as Vice Chancellor, Hamdard University, where he had also served as Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and its Director.

But his “biggest accomplishment” was establishing the department of Special Education, says his life partner Geti Naseem Saad, 83, who lost her best friend just 40 days after the passing of her older sister Shireen Islam. She remembers the breakneck speed with which her husband worked, their house filled with educationists designing the syllabus and putting the programme together. Dr Saad trained the teachers and launched the department, Pakistan’s first at any university, in record time.

Born in Lucknow, 28 December 1931, Ismail Saad obtained his B.A. at Jamia Millia Islami, Delhi,1950. He moved to Karachi in 1953 after doing his M.A. in Economics at Meerut College. Besides Urdu and English, he was fluent in Persian and Arabic – his father Saaduddin Ansari was a teacher of Arabic who on principle took no remuneration for teaching. Saad followed his father’s example, teaching voluntarily throughout his life even on evenings and weekends, working overtime for household expenses through consultancies and administrative positions, and his printing press, Saad Publications. “We never had a free day,” says Geti Naseem Saad, who worked closely with her husband on his projects. One of his earliest passions was the Jamia Millia Institute of Education, Malir, where he taught philosophy, psychology of education, supervised a practical teaching programme and teaching the clerical staff, besides editing the Jamia Quarterly journal.

The couple married in 1967, some years after Ismail Saad returned from the US with a PhD in education and a minor in sociology from the George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1961, from where he also obtained his second M.A. in education with a minor in sociology in 1958. Dr Saad is arguably the first Pakistani to obtain a PhD in education.

He played a key role in teachers’ training, especially at the Government College of Education, Qasimabad, Karachi, 1973-1976. He wrote and translated numerous books on education and philosophy. Dr Saad will be celebrated and remembered by his wife, his two daughters, son, grandchildren, and numerous students around the country and abroad.