Minha Khan is a Sociologist of Education. Having grown up in Pakistan, she had first-hand experience of education serving as a source of social change, and realised that education could break the cycles of inequity by giving every child the opportunity to succeed and uplift an entire family for generations to come. Her study of education was therefore motivated by an intent to positively contribute to the educational ecosystem of Pakistan.
Minha completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University, where she majored in Sociology and Education and graduated as top 10% of the Class of 2021. She was awarded best thesis, best Sociology student, best oral presentation, and best honours thesis presentation. Her research has been widely recognised, including at UNESCO, Stanford University’s Journal of Education, and Oxford University’s South Asian Education Publication. With the support of an OPP Scholarship, Minha is an incoming student at the University of Oxford where she will pursue a postgraduate degree in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation.
Minha works at the intersection of research, policy, and design to promote equitable access to education. Her research has previously explored how schooling in a child’s non-native language can make learning inaccessible, how household and gender norms complicate accessing higher education for female students, and the role of education in breaking the inheritance of despair in low-income families. In her four years of working with The Citizens Foundation, the leading educational NGO in Pakistan, Minha worked to design and implement a program to provide students with the right to learn in their own language. While Pakistan has over 70 languages, the national language policy determines that the medium of instruction in schools is Urdu and English. Students from non-dominant language backgrounds are perpetually at a disadvantage, leading to high dropout and low literacy in ethnic and language minority groups. Minha’s team developed a school language policy, curriculum, and teaching and training materials to support students as they begin to learn in their native languages. The pilot project began in the desert of Tharparkar and has since spread across Pakistan. After completing her postgraduate studies, Minha intends to work with non-profit organisations and government bodies in Pakistan to develop educational policies that promote equity in accessing education. As an inaugural OPP Scholar, she has made a commitment to herself and to the communities she works with: a promise to keep learning, keep pushing, and keep playing her part to make the world a more equitable place.