Experience Pakistan Project – 2003


The Experience Pakistan Project was launched May 2001 and is open to fourteen year old students from state and public schools across the UK. The Project aims at generating interest in Pakistan and the region in order to harness understanding, tolerance and harmony, both amongst the youth of multiethnic Britain and towards the land and its people. Sponsored by the Akhter Education Trust, a subsidiary of Akhter Computers Limited, the project is an extension to the teaching of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in schools to create a multi-media presentation on Pakistan and is consistent with the focus on Citizenship in education.


In this, the second year of the competition, schools from across the UK registered to participate in teams of up to five pupils and a supervising tutor each. Teams were required to choose one of eight research themes and to present their findings using ICT tools in a multimedia presentation.  In all 21 entries found valid and presented in time were put through the adjudication process.


The adjudication panel comprised judges eminently qualified by virtue of their intellectual, professional or personal association with the Country that has brought them a deep understanding of its political, historical and cultural moorings; Lord Weatherill, who served in the British Indian Army and has been a frequent visitor to his Regiment, 19th Lancers. General, The Lord Guthrie, who as Chief of General Staff and later as Chief of Defence Staff and Field Marshal Sir John Chapple have both visited the Country on numerous occasions and garnered an unrivalled understanding in the dynamics of contemporary Pakistan and the region; Victoria Schofield who has enriched perceptions through her topical literary contributions; Sir Christopher MacRae, formerly British High Commissioner in Pakistan,  whose knowledge of the Country is as intimate as his abiding association with its people, and; His Excellency Mr Abdul Kader Jaffer, the Pakistan High Commissioner in London. Christopher Thatcher, past President of the NAHT, is the Director of Experience Pakistan Project and a veteran Judge of Experience Pakistan 2002. The competition this year was intense and the quality so compelling that the panel decided to recognise six – rather than the advertised four – teams as winners of Experience Pakistan 2003.


The winning teams from Moat Community College Leicester, Lampton School Hounslow, Impington Village College Cambridge, King Edward VI Aston School Birmingham,  Charles Darwin School Biggin Hill and Wycombe High School High Wycombe, came together at the Presentation Ceremony at the House of Lords on 10th April 2003 where the schools were awarded salvers and the pupils medals and certificates to commemorate their achievement. The fitting finale of the ceremony was a tour of the Houses of Parliament conducted by Lord Weatherill.


The climax of the Project is the ten-day Experience Pakistan Tour for the winners comprising pupils of a varied background accompanied by judges and hosts from Akhter, which was to have taken place during Easter but now stands postponed to commence on 19th October 2003 in view of the prevailing situation in the region. The tour will carry the young ambassadors to Islamabad for an audience with the President, the historic Khyber Pass, the scenic Swat Valley, a number of architectural sites and the museum in the fifteen-hundred year old city of Lahore. They are destined to partake of sport, entertainment and the local fare, meet sporting heroes and visit public and private schools for an official “Cyber-Twinning” with them.


Akhter Education Trust is delighted with the continuing success of the Experience Pakistan Project. The competition will be set forth in 2004. For further information visit www.experiencepakistan.org or email info@experiencepakistan.co.uk .