With great enthusiasm and spirit, Mehtab Akbar Rashidi entered the Education Sector to improve the lives of the young generation. In addition, she also appeared on media – Radio Pakistan and then made the transition to Television. As a confident and luminous host for many shows, she conducted on PTV, her presence left a deep and lasting impression on the viewers of Pakistani television. This doesn’t end here as she has contributed a lot to society by adding value to various areas, such as; Youth Empowerment, Education, Women Empowerment, Politics, Media, and many others.
We have been honored to feature her in our “Women Who Inspire” series at Fempreneur.
Let’s meet her to know more about the iconic lady who is a real inspiration to many.
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your academic background?
I was born in a small village in the district Larkana, Naudero, Sindh. My father was a teacher, and a very learned caring person, who gave importance to girls’ education and made sure that I and my three sisters and brother were given proper education. Despite being from a Sindhi family, I never felt restricted or bothered by the customs. After completing my Master’s Degree in Political Science from Sindh University, I proceeded to pursue a Master’s degree in International Relations in the USA. I was selected as a Fullbright scholar. Apart from my jobs in private organizations, I’ve had an impressive track of appointments with the Government. I was the First Secretary of Culture and Sports and Youth Affairs and was later appointed as Director General of Environment. I also held the appointment of Secretary of Education and Culture and at the time of retirement, I was the Secretary Inter-Provincial Coordination. I was a Member of the Sindh Provincial Assembly from 2013 to 2018.
How did you get started with your career?
I started my career as a teacher at Submarine School, Hyderabad. Later, I started serving as a Director, of the Institute of Sindhology and as Regional Director, of the University Grants Commission, at Jamshoro. Further, I did programs at Radio Pakistan, but one of our family friends, a PTV producer, approached me and asked me to perform hosting, acting, and newscasting. Since acting wasn’t my cup of tea, I picked the other two. My career in electronic media began this way. Over the years, I have worked in various areas, such as education, youth empowerment, administration, and women empowerment with various organizations.
You’ve worked in various sectors including Education, Administration, Women & Youth Empowerment, Politics, and others. What did you enjoy the most?
Being active in the education sector was a rewarding experience for me. With the help of various learned bodies, forums, and social organizations, I have taken initiatives to educate women about their rights and economic empowerment.
In your life, what has been your greatest honor?
I was honored to have been awarded the President’s Pride of Performance Award in 2004. And when I won the Fullbright Scholarship for a Master’s degree in International Relations from the USA.
What is your obsession in life?
My family is my only obsession in life, which takes priority over everything else.
You studied in the USA as a Fullbright Scholar. What did you learn, from the once-in-a-lifetime, experience?
I discovered who I was. In the USA, I started to perceive my buried personal traits as a result of my self-help journey abroad. Because of the intense studies and foreign tours I took, I felt stronger, more confident, and more well-informed.
Please share your views about the standard of the Education System in Pakistan.
The standard of education in Pakistan needs to be improved, as well as the physical environment since education enlightens the individual. In schools, children should be given a good environment as well as a quality education. The selection of teachers should also be based on merit. The government should provide more funding to the education sector so that the quality of education can be improved. Also, the government should invest in providing better facilities for schools in Pakistan.
By working in diverse fields, you’ve contributed greatly to society. In what ways do you think youth empowerment in Pakistan can be improved?
I have full faith in the young generation of Pakistan, and I think they have a lot of potentials. This is a sensitive time when we need to trust them and not abandon them. The youth need our guidance and we should provide it to them. Only 6% of them make it to University. There is a 35% dropout rate, while 60% of girls are restricted to their homes after the age of 16. In a developing country like ours with so much talent, education is the only key to its survival. In Pakistan, youth empowerment can be improved by providing them with guidance and work opportunities.
What message would you like to share about women’s education?
Educate Your Girls!
Girl education is very important as a woman is responsible for good guidance and education to her children and future generations. A mother who is educated raises her children much better than one who is uneducated. Education helps her advance in her professional field and contribute to society’s development.