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AIOU convocation for 2001-2004 batches

LAHORE, Feb 27(Daily Times): Allama Iqbal Open University (Punjab Chapter's) seventh Convocation was held at Aiwan-e-Iqbal on Monday. Degrees and medals were awarded to 1,700 graduates from the batches between Autumn 2001 and Spring 2004. Governor Khalid Maqbool was the chief guest and the federal education minister, Javaid Ashraf Qazi, who is also the pro-chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), presided over the ceremony. The AIOU vice-chancellor, Prof Dr Mahmood-ul-Hassan Butt, faculty members and the vice-chancellor Open University UK (OUUK), Prof Brenda Gourley, were also present on the occasion. Prof Dr Mahmood-ul-Hassan Butt welcomed the graduates and the guests. He said that specially designed courses and affordable fees had increased student enrolment at AIOU. AIOU programmes are recognised globally, he added. Prof Hassan said AIOU's technology-supported learning had transformed lives.

Governor Maqbool said that the government was providing opportunities of higher education to the nation's youth at affordable fees. He said, "A Pakistani student can become an engineer with only $400 for five years of study." The governor said that foreign universities are also encouraged to open satellite campuses in the country. He said that several foreign faculty members were teaching in public varsities. Khalid appreciated the AIOU administration for promoting education and assured it full support of the government. Speaking as the Chancellor of public universities in the Punjab, the governor extended full cooperation from these varsities.

The OUUK vice-chancellor, Prof Brenda Gourley, said that her varsity welcomed the renewal of strategic links between the Open University UK and AIOU, Pakistan. She said that discussions were underway about opportunities for the universities' collaboration. Prof Gourley said that the Open University UK had been established 40 years ago. 'The Open University UK has succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its founders," she added. Prof Gourley said the AIOU was one of the very first universities in the world to join the Open University movement. The institute has helped millions of students, including women and people from Pakistan's rural areas, she added. The AIOU conferred a honourary PhD degree upon Prof Brenda Gourley on the occasion. A large number of graduates' parents also attended the convocation.
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