Mrs. Birjis Khan
Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education, University of Karachi.
A Life Dedicated to Education
Birjis Khan was born as Birjis Fatima, the fifth of eleven children in a family where education, specially of women, was a priority.
After finishing High School, she attended Aligarh Girls College (Boarding School), where she completed first the Bachelor of Arts and then the Bachelor of Education degrees. Aside from academics, she excelled in sports, specially and drama. Her portrayal of Shehzada Salim in the drama, Anarkali, won her many accolades. She accomplished her Master of Education from Allahabad University in 1950 and moved to Pakistan, working as a teacher in Lahore and Karachi.
In 1954, she went to the University of Southern California (USC) under the Fulbright Fellow Scholarship Program and graduated with a Masters Degree in Education in 1955.
After returning to Karachi, she joined the Government Teachers Training College and worked with and under the guidance of Mr. Bakhtiari, a prominent educationist.
There, she graduated from lectureship to professorship, eventually being appointed as the Principal of the College and then was also appointed as the Dean, faculty of Education, University of Karachi.
Mrs. Birjis Khan’s greatest passion was to promote education which she believed was the birthright of every individual and without which no nation could progress. She believed that a teacher’s role was of utmost importance in raising educated individuals, hence their proper training should be a major national priority. She strongly believed in the education of women and encouraged women to enrol and become teachers.
Also, as a social being, she believed that the privileged should share their privileges with those less so fortunate. While in a semi-conscious state in the hospital before her death, in a delirium, believing that she was addressing a gathering, she said that we have to share our good fortune with others. Her exact words were “if we eat 2 rotis and decide to share one of them with someone who has none, it will not impair our health but will benefit someone else”.
It is not possible to count the number of students she helped to enrol in the teachers program, privately paying for their fees from her own resources while telling the students that the money was from scholarships and stipend fund.
Indeed, a remarkable woman!