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August 21, 2009
I was Inspired by my grandfather, says 8 A-level boy
An 18-year old Muslim boy from north-east England has passed no less than eight A-levels, including six A grades in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, History, Critical Thinking, and Urdu and two B’s in Arabic and Religious Studies.
Ibrahim Khan, who has also memorised the Qur’an, said he was inspired by his grandfather, a historian who recently passed away, and encouraged by his parents to study from an early age dueto the importance Islam puts on gaining knowledge.
“Caring for my bedridden grandfather, and seeing the patience with which he put up with the intense pain, showed me that there were much harder things in life than exams,” Khan told The Muslim News, who attended the Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough.
He is now taking a gap year after securing an offer to study Philosophy Politics and Economics at Brasenose College, Oxford University. During his time out, he is to get the first book of his WW3 trilogy published, do investigative journalism across the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, learn three languages, and start a business.
Ibrahim said that he was “very pleased” with his results although “slightly disappointed with the B in Arabic” being one of three subjects, along with Urdu and Religious Studious, which were self-taught. “I merely did my best, then I left the rest up to God to decide.”
Coming from the north-east, of Pakistani origin and being a Muslim, he believed were statistically three of the worst performing groups in education that he had to overcome. “I think my success shows that if you keep your aspirations high, you can achieve anything, whatever your background,” he said.
Until recently, Ibrahim was also a member of the ‘Young Muslims Advisory Group’, who advise government ministers on tackling violent extremism. He also regularly plays cricket for his local club, having also played at county level.
Despite his performance, he remained critical of the education system, saying that he studied physics fulltime for two years, and religious studies for roughly only ten hours, “yet I have an A in both which will be treated the same by universities.” Most modern teaching techniques “merely disguise the fundamental learning process of memorisation, which is no longer encouraged per se.”
Ibrahim said that the difficulty of A levels needed to be standardised, while the new grade was a “ridiculous idea” instead of making exams harder. “So many people are getting top grades these days that it is hard to stand out. The quality of A levels has gone down, so I decided to stand out with the quantity.”
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