London: The son of a Pakistani migrant from one of London’s most deprived areas is to follow in the footsteps of Princes William and Harry after getting a scholarship to study at the world-famous elite boarding school – Eton College – which has educated 19 British prime ministers.
Hamza Shaukat, 15, who lives in Ilford in East London with his parents, has been offered a two-year scholarship of around £80,000 to study A-levels at Eton which is known for teaching children of Britain’s ruling elite, aristocrats and wealthy people from around the world.
The 15-year- old, who will study A-Level Maths, Physics, Economics and Geography at Eton starting next year, told this reporter in an interview that he is looking forward to the challenge but won’t forget his roots. “I have this extraordinary opportunity that I will grab with both hands.”
Hamza’s story is remarkable. In Pakistan Hamza studied at Dar-e-Arqam before passing a test to study at District Public School in Jauharabad. He moved to the UK with his parents in 2010 and knew little English but was quick to adapt after getting admission in Woodlands Junior School in East London.
He credits his family for instilling the work ethic that has helped him succeed and rise as well as fueling him with the motivation to break these barriers. He said: “My parents played an extremely important role in getting me to where I am today and it would have not been possible without their constant support.
My father Shaukat Hussain gave up a high position (SDO) in the local government in Pakistan to bring my siblings and me to the UK to just solely study. My mother Saima Shaukat has always helped me and pushed me to do the best I can. My parents both lived good lives in Pakistan but they gave it up for my education and they have to work harder in the UK.”
He added: “My uncle Azhar Hussain, who is a retired Pakistan army captain, helped me prepare for my Eton residential through giving me crucial help and advice on how to answer certain questions and helped me in my extra-curricular endeavours such as handball games. My uncle Amjad Mahmood helped me to train with Pakistan Handball Federation by hosting them when they came to UK.”
The 15-year- old, who excels at sport as much as he does at academics, told this correspondent that his dream has come true, he wants to create a society at Eton for a unique teaching method and intends to join the numerous sports teams and take part in extra-curricula’s such as the debating competitions. “I will start at Eton in September 2018, I am preparing by achieving the highest grades possible across all my subjects in my GCSE’s and by getting immersed in super-curricular activities such as more STEM awards, sports, and leadership opportunities.”
Hamza Shaukat found out about the Eton scholarship opportunity online and dedicated himself to giving his best to gain the scholarship with motivation from his father. “I was very happy to make it to the initial shortlist of 20 candidates from across the world, after which I went to Eton for a stay of 4 days where I went through a rigorous set of tests and got an insight into boarding life at Eton.
I am very thankful to my school for allowing me to develop my portfolio and strengthen my traits for success beyond just academics.” At Eton, Hamza says he took part in a range of activities which tested his capabilities such as teamwork, leadership and Intelligence tests.
Hamza Shaukat won another prestigious scholarship at the age of 13 after competing with numerous applicants to travel to USA and study at Phillips Exeter Academy for 5 weeks in the summer. “That was an excellent opportunity for me to broaden my horizons; I got an insight into the opportunities at offer in the USA as well as into boarding life at an elite school.”
Hamza Shaukat says one day he wants to return to Pakistan and payback to his country of origin. He wants Pakistani children to receive brilliant education to propel Pakistan further.
“I want to be able to go back to Pakistan to my home village near Mianwali called Bala Sharif and build a school to allow people there to have access to good education.
I want to give all Pakistani children the same opportunities I have received to allow them to maximise the potential they have.”