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IT prodigy wants to serve Pakistan

Published Jul 11, 2012 12:18am


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Shafay Thobani seated with his trainer Faisal Durrani (L) and father at the press conference.–Photo by White Star

KARACHI: Everyone is unique and no one can replace Arfa Karim Randhawa who was declared the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of nine, yet it was heartening to meet Shafay Thobani, an eight-year-old child said to be the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, at a programme held at a hotel.

Born on March 13, 2004, Shafay grew interested in computers ever since he was a baby. “We would get him toys but he would be more attracted to my laptop. I got him a PlayStation but he got scared when trying to play a horror game. Then I got him an Xbox but he liked computers more. Then at the age of four, we gave him an old Acer laptop, a third generation hand-me-down after both me and my younger brother had discarded it,” Shafay’s father Dr Shah Thobani told Dawn at the presser.

Being the only child, too, added to Shafay’s manipulating him into buying him expensive gadgets, he observed.

It was announced at the gathering that on April 9, 2012, Shafay appeared in the Prometric test and secured 91 per cent marks, thus making him the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Training Specialist (MCTS) at the age of eight years and 24 days. The young man is certified professional in Microsoft Windows 7 Configuration and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. Before appearing in the exam, he remained under training of Microsoft certified trainers for 13 months.

His trainer Faisal Durrani said it was a challenge for him to teach complicated concepts such as Domain Name System (DNS) and Internet Protocol (IP) address to a child as young as Shafay. “So we split the 40-hour course designed for grown-up IT specialists into 13 months for the child. We taught him by giving him easy examples in order to grasp the concepts. Teaching him for three to four hours everyday, we would also allow him breaks to let him be the normal kid that he is, swimming, playing football or rollerblading,” said Mr Durrani.

Speaking of the boy’s main areas of interest, Dr Thobani said he liked network and communication programming. “He has already completed 65 per cent of Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization, too,” he added.

“Shafay was born in 2004, the same year Arfa was declared the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of nine. Arfa was an inspiration for us and I hope that Shafay, too, would be a role model for more children to show their tremendous achievements,” he said.

The small wonder, who sat quietly the entire time, when asked to say something to the media first started talking about Windows 7 and how much he enjoys working on it. When his father asked him to say something other than his first love — computers, he said: “I am proud of myself and I will work for Pakistan in any way possible.”


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Comments (66) Closed

Ozman Jul 11, 2012 03:09pm
For god's sake leave the 8 year old alone, and stop loading him with messianic expectations. Its bad enough that his parents have robbed him off his childhood and have made him pass a certification that was meant for experienced IT professionals. By the way....this is bad news for Microsoft.
Safdar Jul 11, 2012 01:47pm
Microsoft now disown this new claim put my Shafy saying they have no policy to ask the age of person for this exam. however congrats to shafy for clearing the exam at an early age, however motive to do such a professional exams which usually required in practical life at an early age is not clear, seems for name.
Nadeem Mirza Jul 12, 2012 01:35am
Yes we are still clutching at straws since 1947, eh. Same straws that we used to built this country, and used to scare away the occupiers. The same occupiers who ran with their tails between their legs.
Umer Jul 12, 2012 04:27am
congratz shafay. hope os pakistan..
Mahboob Jul 11, 2012 09:55pm
Very well said, Ahmad
hyat Jul 11, 2012 09:18pm
where ppl dying for food for justice for basic education and for water; and there are ppl with certified professional. good luck pakistan.
Omar Jul 11, 2012 08:58pm
Omar -- Regardless of the fact if his learning is just for the test or he has deep understanding of the concepts it is a great accomplishment. By the way what were you doing at his age? learning to be a cynic ....
Asif Jul 12, 2012 03:35am
inshaullah Jul 12, 2012 04:21am
we are really proud of our children who are doing far better than us. at the age of 8 is is marvellous job
gary Jul 11, 2012 03:31pm
hero? give me a break.... all he did was memorize few books...... lets see if he can use his knowledge in real life? can he design any software?
gary Jul 11, 2012 03:28pm
lets find out if any of his parents friend own any Prometric testing center ?
Khan Jul 12, 2012 12:19am
What about the Spelling bee contests in USA, reading and learning, and memorizing thousands of words? That can b ok, not a burn out path!? Just bc it's in USA?
talha Jul 12, 2012 12:19am
This is child abuse! Forcing a 8 year old in to pointless learning. How is this going to benefit any Pakistani?
talha Jul 12, 2012 12:25am
Dear Karthik, thank you for noticing this about Muslims! Being in love is complicated and you may not understand but I hope you do. This is the relationship between the lover and the beloved (the creator himself in this case). Nothing is more pleasing to the lover than a mention of the beloved. Mention of religion for a Muslim is really remembrance of the creator, Allah. I hope this answers you question. :)
Khan Jul 12, 2012 12:26am
Religion do not stop u from exploring and achieving. Prophet, Peace b upon him said, seek knowledge, even if u have to go to China. Islam is not just a religion-some rituals to perform, it's a way of living, allow to use all your potential in a positive way, use oneself for the betterment of mankind.
talha Jul 12, 2012 12:26am
Yes, Briton.
Imran K Jul 12, 2012 12:32am
Aslam, seems like you've just owned up to how dishonest you are - But dont judge the nation on how your perceive yourself.
Omar Jul 11, 2012 02:51pm
Genius!!!, LOL. lookup the definition of the word . This is just rote learning, is a technique which avoids understanding the inner complexities and inferences of the subject that is being learned and instead focuses on memorizing the material so that it can be recalled by the learner exactly the way it was read or heard. In other words, it is learning "just for the test".
ujmalik Jul 12, 2012 05:18am
Don't worry he is probably just a troll!
Shahin Jul 12, 2012 04:31am
I think you remarks carry sense. Very well observed.
Nadeem Mirza Jul 12, 2012 01:23am
Isn't our whole system still based on rote learning? I don't know now but back in eighties and early ninties whoever can memorize and recall better could get great grades and were welcomed in elite professional colleges and universities. Having said that, I still will not take any thing away from this yougsters. Some of the DNS and IP addressing conceptsare complex and could not be memorized. Micosoft and Cisco exams are more than a billion dollar industry so they try to fail you so you take these exam over and over and pay them. Why can't these teachers put this much effort for other talented and age appropriate kids?
Imran Jul 11, 2012 03:16pm
His a assets and something Pakistanis should be proud of as we don't have much to be proud of with the current state of affairs? If only we had more people like Arfa" keen,dedicatd and innocent....
Amit-Atlanta-USA Jul 11, 2012 12:58pm
Firstly, my hearty congrats to the kid. Having said that, I surely have issues with the parents for setting the kid on a burn-out path so soon in life. Historically such child prodigies either continue on a path of such achievements until about the middle age by when they are totally burnt out, or end up as mental wrecks not able to get a handle on their lives. If the child has great traits, it will invariably show up sooner or later in life.......the later the better as it happens after the child has gathered enough real world experience to succeed in life. So my personal view (& I believe of that of leading child psychology experts) is "LET A CHILD BE A CHILD".
rashid Jul 11, 2012 03:52pm
who is the HERO here Shafay or the Trainer or Microsoft !! Dear trainer now try to produce more Safays
Sajid Jul 12, 2012 02:40am
Karthik, with a dwindling economy, lack of human rights, intellectual dishonesty, this obsession helps us to cover up our inferiority complex.
Sohail Jul 11, 2012 07:57pm
Am Pakistani n a muslim myself, but what you say is so true
Saad (DXB) Jul 11, 2012 07:51pm
Amit aren't you the person who is always busy in Pakistan and Islam bashing on CNN web site and using words like 'Porkis' for Pakistanis? I can feel your extreme jealousy and envy of Pakistanis and generally i would encourage remarks like these but having read many of your hateful comments on Pakistan and Islam on CNN, i doubt any of your posts on DAWN's web site are coming from the goodness of your heart. Yes the person on CNN website has exact same handle as yours
Ali Jul 11, 2012 07:19pm
Why are you obsesses with what Pakistanis are obsessed with. Your statement beats me.
Sahim Shah Jul 11, 2012 07:02pm
It is quite sad that this kid is sitting all day in front of computers and not playing sports. This child should be given an opportunite to be a child.
Najma Sherwani Jul 11, 2012 06:57pm
Yes I too believe in 'let a child be a child' but some children are born special and they develop much faster in what ever their speciality happens to be! He is a Genious and gifted by Allah- My own nephew is a genious and never talked baby talk! By the time he was 2 yrs he could recognize a VW and would also tell you which year model the car happened to be! He asked so many questions about everything and his questions were mind boggling! He was special indeed. He now is an adult and a father of twins who are 13 yrs and both of them are genious in their own right!
Truth and justice Jul 11, 2012 05:30pm
Poor child wasting his life on Microsoft certifications. They are useless ...
kanwal Jul 11, 2012 11:20am
@Briton Are you using the word "pakis" because your comment is being published ina pakistani newspaper? Pls mind your language. And i am angry as to how this word comes up so often in the Dawn comments sections?
Mirza Hussain Jul 11, 2012 11:17am
congurtulation for shafy and his amily and then also all Pakistanis
guy Jul 11, 2012 10:59am
when can we leave to start jumping on small things like this and start to think like professionals !! ..
kaamat Jul 11, 2012 10:58am
.You have to be a muslim to understand what it means to be a muslim. For a muslim, religion is present in all spheres of activities.
Vineeth Jul 11, 2012 01:17pm
Maybe true.. But I'm not so sure if its really healthy in the long run. Human society has progressed a lot beyond the shackles of religion. With even the most doubtful among scientists of the view that finding alien life is just a matter of time (as we have discovered over 500 extra-solar planets in relatively short period of time in a tiny area of our galaxy) our world view is not bounded by religious texts any more. This is not to discredit the role of religion in history. Our past and existing religions did play a very crucial role in the development of humanity and culture, but the times of their absolute authority in human affairs has diminished. We do not require a religion now to tell us what is right and what is wrong, do we? Just my idea...
Asad Jul 11, 2012 05:37am
Allah has made this piece of land very fertile. Excellent work all of you. You've made us proud!
SAJJAD Jul 11, 2012 06:14am
Excellent work by Shafay, The little genius, and my all well wishes for you in your future endeavors.
aslam Jul 11, 2012 06:33am
Being pakistani myself i know the security of exams in pakistan. How come every other year a kid in pakistan passes the MS exam but not in other parts of the world?
manghirmalani Jul 11, 2012 06:43am
Congratulation young man- May Allah Bless you and keep you happy-I hope one day you will serve Pakistan
AIJAZ Jul 11, 2012 11:38am
This is What we are doing with our real heroes! We should appreciate this and encourage others to do the same, not like always criticising our homeland.
Ahmad Jul 11, 2012 06:51am
I guess this kid has been robbed of what a child his kid be doing. It is not normal to be passing these kindda exams at this tender age. Beside passing exam does not show intellect of a person. It will be better if these trainers that were hired by the resourceful Dr father of the kid, were training a group of adults. But probably his parents wanted to show-off.
Raoul Ciao Jul 11, 2012 07:06am
great achievement by this young person. Kudos Shafay. I also hope you have the time now onward to indulge other pastimes too. But it's good to see a child genius anyway. The sub continent genes showed up again in IT !
Azhar Jul 11, 2012 03:04pm
Now MCSE is like a Car made in 1950. I think people in Pakistan are trying hard to get a couple of seconds of fame. Next we will hear a 5-year old MCSE. Inferiority complex.
murali Jul 11, 2012 07:22am
All the best Shafay. God bless you
Salar Jul 11, 2012 07:36am
Don't we love to judge? There is a proverb in Pashto and I will try to translate it; it goes like this: A chicken will always be screaming, no mater you catch him for good or bad.
vivek Jul 11, 2012 07:39am
By your logic at least one million of the 180 million pakistanis should be passing the ms exams....
zubair Jul 11, 2012 07:41am
what a terrible thing to say... obviously you could pass that exam
Shafqaat Bukhar Jul 11, 2012 07:45am
Excellent Work Done by Shafay.!!!! ALLAH has sent Arfa Karim Randhawa back to Pakistan, now in the shape of a Boy!! :). We should be proud to have such genius kids among us rather than thinking about the negativities of the society and I believe that the future of Pakistan is very BRIGHT. In Sha ALLAH.
Karthik Jul 11, 2012 07:45am
Why r Pakistanis so obssessed with Islam? Love Islam and follow it, but dont be obssessed. Any Obsession is bad for you. Be free in life and thoughts. If u become obssessed you become a slave to yourself. Everytime i come across a Pakistani comment or news article, there is always a reference to religion.
shankar Jul 11, 2012 07:48am
One in a year to a million overall. Fail to see the math here!
Raman Kapur Jul 11, 2012 08:19am
Awesome! Makes all of us in the subcontinent really proud!
raika45 Jul 11, 2012 08:20am
As long as the parents or other "vested interests' do not over stress the young boy, but let him live a normal kids life,he should do very well in the future.
Briton Jul 11, 2012 08:22am
Clutching at straws, eh, Pakis!
Sakthi Jul 11, 2012 08:51am
Its nice, Still why we need to torturer a child and make advert of this. This is not good.
Ahmad Jul 11, 2012 09:24am
hope this is an not a new scam. Plus, I wonder if getting these certification means anything? Not a standard of genius in my view. He would do himself a favor playing some sport, such a chubby fella!
Jafri Jul 11, 2012 09:11am
Good luck Boy! but for future keep in mind gettig the certification/knowledge is not so important , important thing is that how to apply your knowledge for the betterment of people. This is where we are lacking right now. Again best wishe for your future
Babar Hussain Jul 11, 2012 09:21am
Har Fard Hai Millat Kay Muqadar Ka Sitara
P.K. Jul 11, 2012 09:36am
i agree...
Ajamal Jul 11, 2012 09:36am
Arfa and Shafay should be taken as role models by our youths.
We will wake Jul 11, 2012 09:43am
Because for a Muslim religion comes first than life.
Ahmad Jul 12, 2012 06:25am
I have seen so many kids burnt out at such tender age. Everything has to progress in a sustainable manner.
Saeed Jul 12, 2012 07:35am
Congratulations. May Allah bless you and our beloved country Pakistan.
MED Jul 12, 2012 08:27am
Unfortunately MCP's are dime a dozen and lead to low level tech job's. Now if he had a nedical degree at that age...
Cyrus Howell Jul 13, 2012 02:40am
A chicken gives us eggs for our children and meat for our table but no one worships the lowly chicken.
danial Jul 13, 2012 06:38am
Nadeem Great scientist Einstein quoted, I prefer to find solution of a problem and spend more time in thinking rather remember or learn formulas and theory. Because you can found formulas and theoretical material from any book.