Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A rich Septennial history of signature #Zakathon events

Zafar Ali Khan & Computer Science Marathons ------ Zakathon
The marathons that you usually hear about start off with multiple candidates but only one winner. It is every man for himself and there are plenty of those who don’t make it. The marathon that I’ve been leading my students on since a span of seven years is slightly different though.

Every journey of a successful venture has fond memories attached to it. Spanning over 7 years from 2012-2018, the journey has been an incredible one for us. I came up with the concept of Zakathon —marathon sessions of Computer Science revision classes held prior to CAIE exams in the month of May. In Zakathon, we all operate as a single team. We do not run against each other, but with each other. Here there are no tracks for you to run — just O/A levels computer science lectures that you must grasp for hours on end to reach your ultimate goal. My students are athletes but of a different kind — they put in their blood, sweat and tears for a different cause—to enhance their understanding of O/A levels Computer Science to a new level altogether.

Zakathon session in progress
It was in 2015 that thing turned around for Zakathon and it became a booming success with the introduction of Zakathon webinar. Students and teachers from various schools belonging to different cities and countries were invited to live stream Zakathon webinar sessions. The innovative concept was well-received as it opened the doors of learning to many students across the CAIE world. This led to the rise of Zakathon and ultimately, it spread to 900 students locally and webinars across the globe were offered.

Zakathon session at Suffa university
The bond established with the students over these 12-hour long sessions is one that we would always cherish. From 2 schools in 2012 with 22 students to 70 schools and 900 students in 2018, the journey is one which seems improbable and magical. It all started off with me delivering the lectures in a simple way—physically standing in front of the classroom with attentive students. Now, Zakathon has progressed to a new level altogether and makes use of modern educational tools to instruct and inspire students which also includes using webinars.

Schools are offered free Zakathon sessions
To further ensure that the effects of the event were far-reached, alongside students and teachers around the country and abroad it was decided to keep the webinars free of cost around the globe for schools’ students’ collective sessions at school premises. In the commercialized world, this step was something that could not be expected to happen. However, with the grace of Almighty God, it was made sure that no one should miss out on an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills.

One of the most pleasant experiences of Zakathon has been that teachers locally at the venues and from around the world have participated in these sessions in order to get a firmer grasp over the subject of Computer Science. I must commend these teachers for not being egotistical at all and being humble enough to learn from Zakathon. Such attitude from teachers demonstrates that at the end of the day, they have the best interests of their students at heart. Hats off!

Zakathon High Achiever Prize Distribution Ceremonies
Along with providing all the participants with souvenirs and free-of-cost provision of the services for those students who are in need and those attending the session through webinars at registered schools, an extraordinary step was taken to reward those students who achieved exceptionally well results in their CAIE. So another feather in Zakathon’s cap has been the steady rise of the list of high achievers. Every year, those who tend to strive and produce excellent results are presented with awards and prizes in recognition of their best results. To encourage, embolden and boost the morale of my students, I invite industry leaders to Zakathon’s annual prize distribution ceremony where those who have achieved well in the CAIE and academic spheres are presented with awards and prizes. From 1 such high-achiever in 2013 to 20 exceptional students in 2018, the success of our efforts was speaking for itself.

Friends, Colleagues and Memories
Nothing gives me greater joy and affection than to look back over the years at the start of Zakathon and to witness where it stands today. I’ve made many friends, colleagues and memories over the years—not one which I have regretted. It is my vision to keep Zakathon up and running for as long as I can so that many can benefit from its sessions and Pakistani children are able to score stellar grades. So, if you’re fretting over your upcoming CAIE exams and seem to be grappling with Computer Science, register for the upcoming Zakathon to ensure you do justice to your preparation!

Related Links:
Prize Distribution Ceremony: 7th #Zakathon 2018 - High Achiever Awards

By: Zafar Ali Khan

Zafar Ali Khan (ZAK) is an O/A level Computer Science Pakistani educator, entrepreneur, and former programmer. He supports a free online education platform to impart O and A level resources. His resources include notes, video lectures, online discussion groups, an artificial intelligence based virtual assistant, upcoming Android and IOS based apps and a website.

ZAK is teaching a wide spectrum of learners, mainly focusing on Computer Science 2210, 0478 and 9608. ZAK has a stellar online following, which is evident from his 50,000+ online followers. These exist wherever CIE is offered.

ZAK has taught in many auspicious and renowned institutes throughout Karachi for the past 23 years. His teaching methods coupled with his most innovative digital resources helped students achieve outstanding grades including distinctions in CIE. ZAK is an associate of The Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE), which is a Parastatal body, working under the aegis of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius. ZAK's yearly seminars and one-day marathon classes are very famous among the learners.

Before opting for a full-time teaching profession, ZAK has had the privilege of being associated with renowned public and corporate organizations. He has worked in a diversified array of the large local and international corporations both as a part of them and as a consultant. This wide array of organizations commence from Pakistan Army Engineering Corps to the Galileo Emirates, Dubai and The Acutus NY, USA. Industries that ZAK has experienced with, before opting for a teaching profession, are engineering, pharmaceutical, digital video R&D and customer reservation system (CRS). His expertise as application developer, IT administrator, project manager and IT teacher in a wide variety of business applications has always helped him in innovating teaching styles and resources.

To reap a maximum result out of Zak’s efforts it is important to understand his point of view. In simple words, he wants to showcase his research to widest possible audience, enhance subject’s reputation, fulfill social responsibility – provide education for all, share best practice locally & internationally, allow his work for peer review, maximize the use and increase availability of O/A CS educational materials, and to raise standards of educational resources by gathering more contributors.

Additional O/A Computer Science Resources: 

To save costs for students, provide access to more quality choices, help preparation for CS courses and retention of knowledge gained after course completion, more clarity and certainty regarding reuse of materials, Zak has developed few of the following resources so far:

A Detailed Website ( For O/A level computers all of the resources possible are built, optimized and made available through this website. These resources include but not limited to notes, lectures, assignments, and topical past papers etc.

Online Subject Discussion Groups (OL, AL For good understanding of a subject, learning never ends without sharing own and contributing to others’ efforts. These groups make that possible effortlessly. With several hundred teachers and thousands of students from many countries this group will never put you behind when you are in need of CS related help.

YouTube channel ( Modern learning is half done without online lectures’ videos. Here it all ends to seal the deal.

An Artificial Intelligent Chat Bot ( An effort to enhance 24/7 help, a virtual tutor A.I bot is on the way; not perfect though, it will keep you busy learning and may be entertaining.

Mobile Apps: Coming soon, these Apps will keep learners on toes when it comes to support seeking.

Student Encouragement & Support:

Education Fund: Not a big one though but in personal capacity and with friends’ help many students are given support for their tuition fees at schools, centers and universities.

Football Club, Karachi Intrepid FC: Zak being owner and president. Up-and-coming football club from the central region of Karachi, who soon will make in your hearts, gather your support, and will have the whole region glow with the memories it will make, and the echelon of success it will win! 

Online & Offline Tuition Classes: Reinforcement classes for school students and primary source of CS education for private students.

ZAKathon, Education Tomorrowland ( Initially started as a random experiment, these workshop classes in five years’ time have evolved phenomenally in strength and fame. ZAKathon are longer hours’ revision workshop classes that are held just before the CIE paper days and purpose is to help students increase their understanding of O/A level subjects, bolster knowledge gained during these classes and leave students fully prepared for their exams. Certainly it can be termed as "Education Tomorrowland".

ZAK can be reached at:
Contact Card

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