Zayan Faiyad

2016 Cheng Fellow

Zayan Faiyad originally hails from Bangladesh and currently studies Economics at Harvard College with a secondary concentration in Psychology. She serves on the board of the Harvard College First Generation Student Union (FGSU) and the Harvard Entrepreneurship forum. Zayan’s Cheng Fellowship project focuses the disparities of educational outcomes in Madrasah schools in Bangladesh. She has conducted extensive primary and secondary research to determine contributing variables to the wide achievement gap between Madrasas and mainstream schools, as well as a comparative analysis of the Madrasa sector in Pakistan and India, which have comparable education systems and sociopolitical climate to Bangladesh. Based on this research, Zayan is simultaneously exploring interventions related to low-cost learning methodologies (i.e. those that do not require extensive investment in infrastructure, technologies, etc.) and policy and regulatory frameworks of education financing in Bangladesh. Previously, Zayan has worked with Meherun Nessa Trust in communities where the primary education stream is Madrasah and as an instructor at Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC), a leadership institute that combines students from English, Bengali and Madrasah education streams into cohorts to teach adaptive leadership. She has also contributed to curriculum development efforts of a Bangladeshi non-profit focused on social enterprise. When not working for social justice, Zayan enjoys watching Bollywood movies, indulging her sweet tooth and exploring her claim of being a bubble tea connoisseur.