FUJAIRAH: A 17-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl has received the highest mark in the world in her mathematics exam.
Ayesha Memon, a student at Our Own English High School, beat her peers at more than 10,000 schools in 160 countries in the Cambridge IGCSE mathematics examination.
In recognition of her achievement, she will soon receive the Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cambridge Outstanding Learner Award.
“My teachers were expecting that I would get this prestigious award this year. But honestly I still can’t believe it. It’s great news for me and my family,” said Ayesha.
She moved to the UAE three years ago because of her father’s work as a doctor for a hospital in Ras Al Khaimah.
The quality of education in the UAE was of a “very high standard”, Ayesha said.
“In the UAE, the student does not only stick to the studies. The schools provide lots of other activities to mould a student’s personality,” she said.
But education in the UAE was becoming too expensive, she said, adding that she might have to complete her studies abroad.
“I don’t know whether I will able to continue my college studies here despite the fact that I want to,” she said. “It must be really challenging for parents to educate more than one child.”
In Saudi Arabia she was homeschooled for seven years but did not enjoy it.
“I am totally against it, as it takes away the confidence and communication skills of the child.
“It took me a lot of time to settle down and participate in a formal school environment,” she said.
Himmat S Dhillon, the principal and chief executive of Ayesha’s school, said the UAE award would inspire students and encourage them to work even harder. The school is part of the Gems Education network.
Mr Dhillon said 13 students at Gems schools would also be receiving the Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed award for achieving top marks in their exams.
The awards, which were set up in 2003, honour students for outstanding results in Cambridge IGCSE, A and AS Level exams, as well as those who have made significant contributions to their school and the local community.