Parkash Kumar, son of a poor mason, secured first position in Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) in Sindh and stood fourth throughout the country.
Kumar, a student of a government school in the coastal district of Badin, stood first among the 7,797 students in Sindh and fourth among the record 194,133 students appearing in MDCAT held from August to October.
Born in a remote village Kharyo Ghulam Shah some 30 km from Islamkot city of sand-swept Tharparkar district, he migrated with his father, Chando Mal, and rest of the family to Ghulab Laghari, a small town of Badin district adjacent to Tharparkar district some 15 years ago.
He got all his primary and secondary education from Ghulab Laghari and was enrolled in Higher Secondary School Chambar in Tando Allah Yar district, eight kilometres away from Ghulab Laghari. “Traveling to Chambar was not so easy,” Kumar commented.
His father hardly earns Rs1,200 per day but supports all his kids to get better education. “We moved to this town to get some good income,” Kumar said. “We live in a rented house but my father wants me to get education,” he added.
“This is just start of the journey,” Kumar smiled. “I want to become a medical specialist,” he added, saying that his family has assured to support him financially.
Being desperate to be the student of Dow Medical College, Kumar believes he will continue to grab positions during his next journey.
Partab Shivani, an activist and educationist from Tharparkar, commented that Kumar has inspired many poor students. “He has also proved that with hard work and commitment one can easily achieve such daunting task.”
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Shivani said that despite lack of science teachers and fully equipped science laboratories, students like Kumar beat many students who receive quality education from private and expensive schools.
Kumar is one the finest students from Tharparkar who topped the test. “Many students each year secure positions in different universities but cannot afford fees and other expenses,” Shivani said. “The [provincial] government should announce scholarships for needy and intelligent students so they could easily continue their education,” he suggested.
Kumar was awarded a gold medal and cash reward Rs200,000 during an award distribution ceremony held in Islamabad which was attended by education officers, including Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood.
According to the official social media account of Pakistan Medical Commission: “Parkash Kumar from Higher Secondary School Chamber District Tando Allahyar, Sindh scored 192 [out of 210], was awarded a gold medal and received a cash prize of 200,000 rupees.”
The educationists from Tharparkar claimed that students from the region work hard and usually beat students from other parts of the province, including Karachi, Hyderabad and Larkano. “Just give them some opportunities and they will prove their potential,” Shivani commented.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2021.