Graduating with distinction

Anwaar Shalan: A visually-impaired linguistic prodigy from Dhi Qar

DHI QAR — Anwaar Shalan, a visually impaired woman in her twenties from Dhi Qar, has been remarkable since her early school days. Shalan, who excels in Arabic grammar and poetry, graduated as the top student from the Department of Arabic Language at the College of Education for Girls in Al-Shatra.

Despite her condition, she has demonstrated extraordinary linguistic abilities that have astonished her professors.

Anwaar expressed her passion for the Arabic language and grammar to 964media, saying, “My passion drove me to enter the Arabic language department. I achieved top grades in every stage, finishing the fourth year with distinction.”

“My family and teachers devoted their lives to my education. My father would read and explain difficult subjects to me, which I would then memorize,” she added.

Anwaar credits her success to the unwavering support of her parents and teachers. Hazem Hashem, head of the Arabic Department at her college, praised her in a social media post, stating, “Anwaar excels in Irab of Ibn Malik’s ‘Alfiyyah’ without paper or pen.” Irab refers to the system of nominal, adjectival, or verbal suffixes in Classical Arabic that indicate grammatical case.

Furthermore, she has excellent knowledge of Arabic syntax. She has also memorized four Mu’allaqat, a compilation of pre-Islamic Arabic poems, and discusses literary and critical schools using “only the light of her heart.”

Anwaar dreams of pursuing higher education and becoming a teaching assistant at her alma mater.

Azza Al-Nashi, a member of the Dhi Qar provincial council, recently visited Anwaar and received her request for a position. He pledged to forward it to the Ministry of Higher Education to facilitate her appointment and coordinate with the Governor of Dhi Qar to help her continue her studies.

Anwaar’s father, Shaalan Salem, explained to 964media that his daughter has been visually impaired since birth due to optic nerve atrophy and retinal damage. She attended the Ali Al-Saadaoui Primary School, where he was a teacher.

“Anwaar excelled in school and scored 98% in high school. She chose to study Arabic language at the College of Education for Girls, where she consistently ranked first in her class,” he said.

A source from the Dhi Qar Education Directorate told 964media that there are special schools for gifted and talented students in Nasiriyah and other districts. For students with disabilities, there are dedicated classes in several public schools across the governorate.

Al-Nashi confirmed that efforts are underway to secure Anwaar a position as teaching assistant and assist her in continuing her higher education. “The law allows her appointment as she is among the top graduates. We will coordinate with the governor to ensure she has the opportunity to pursue further studies,” he added.