Pakistani universities leadership
Educational leadership in Pak universities
Islamabad, March 01: The role of higher education is crucial in any society as it is immediately linked with its socio-economic
Over the decades, Pakistan has witnessed a visible
quantitative expansion in universities and higher-education institutions; a
welcome initiative was the establishment of universities in the private sector.
The number of universities/degree-awarding institutes in the private and public
sectors now stands at 132.
The increased number of universities,
however, can only tackle one aspect of the issue, i.e. access. The other aspect
- quality - is equally important. The issue of quality deals on the one hand
with physical resources and on the other with the standard of teaching: the
learning processes taking place in classrooms. The components that constitute
quality education may include curricula, textbooks, teachers, students and a
But another factor that plays a vital role in
initiating and sustaining quality is the vice chancellor of a university. He or
she is supposed to provide vision and inspiration to the faculty and help create
an enabling environment for the expression and realisation of talent, creativity
and the construction of knowledge.
Historically, vice chancellors were
picked on the basis of their reputation in the world of academia. We find a
number of outstanding people in the list of Indo-Pakistan vice chancellors, such
as Dr Zakir Hussain (Aligarh Muslim University), Dr Mahmood Hussain, Dr Jamil
Jalibi, Dr Manzoor Ahmed and Dr Ishtiaq Qureshi (Karachi University), Dr Hamid
Ahmed Khan (University of Punjab) and Prof Karrar Hussain (Balochistan
University). These are just a few names that suggest the trend that
characterised academic excellence and visionary leadership.
phase started when political parties started intervening in university affairs.
Since the process of selection for vice chancellors was straightforward, there
was ample room for discretion. Political parties, during their eras in power,
tried to bring politics into even the appointment of vice chancellors. In
Pakistan, prior to the Ziaul Haq regime, universities were considered nurseries
Student unions were very active and the student community was
politically conscious and acted as a pressure group in the process of important
national decisions. It was during this phase that the position of the vice
chancellor became important for political parties and some controversial
decisions were made in this regard.
The third phase started with the
expansion of the industry, when business organisations started operating along a
new model where managerial skills replaced scholarship. The corporate model was
so powerful that it impacted the notion of educational leadership as well. The
advent of corporate culture held two direct implications for universities:
first, universities were considered corporate units and second, managerial
skills were considered the prime quality of a vice chancellor.
were many implications of this preference, one direct outcome being the
experiment to bring in vice chancellors from the army. The underlying assumption
was that they had managerial skills, and could take care of any
discipline-related problem. The result was that a number of universities were
led by ex-army officers. This view of educational leadership was biased in
favour of management rather than the leadership that emerges from scholarship.
It is important here to recognise the distinction between a leader and a
manager. The manager is usually confined to a given job and his/her whole
intention is to get things done; the leader, on the other hand, is equally
sensitive to the people and the product - the leader inspires, energises and
empowers people and provides space for individual creativity.
phase in educational leadership emerged when the Higher Education Commission
(HEC) tried to streamline the process of the selection of vice chancellors. The
apparent aim was to minimise the role of discretion and rely on the collective
wisdom of search committees rather than on the whims of an individual. But the
assumption that the vice chancellor's main job is to manage still hovers over
the perceptions of decision-makers.
An example is an advertisement that
appeared last month for the position of vice chancellor: in the eligibility
criteria, among other points, it mentioned that the candidate "should have PhD
degree, preferably in management sciences, from a reputed foreign university".
The emphasis on management sciences here reflects our obsession with the
management paradigm. The other important point is that locally awarded PhD
degrees are discredited. However, since this is an evolving process, I am sure
that the HEC will further refine the criteria.
The good thing about the
proposed criteria for the selection of vice chancellors, however, is the set of
comprehensive procedures laid down carefully by the HEC. These procedures
include the evaluation of candidates' applications on different counts. The
short-listed candidates are then to be interviewed by the search committee and
three names, in order of merit, are to be sent to the chancellor.
recent past the chancellor has respected the collected wisdom of the search
committee and appointed the number one candidate, for example at the
Quaid-i-Azam University, Karakoram University and Hazara University. The case of
the Allama Iqbal Open University, however, has been pending for unknown reasons;
I am sure that merit will prevail in the end.
There are some further
measures, though, that can be taken while selecting vice chancellors: (a)
scholarship or academic excellence should be given priority and managerial
skills should be considered necessary complementary skills; (b) the preference
for a PhD degree should not be confined to management sciences; (c) Locally
awarded PhD degrees should be treated at par; (d) the search committee should be
given the mandate to go beyond advertisements and identify suitable candidates;
(e) the maximum duration for the vice chancellor's position should be two terms,
and (f) the use of discretion should be minimised at all levels.
fine-tuning of the procedures will ensure the induction of true educational
leaders in our universities, who are able to share an inspiring vision, create
an enabling environment, motivate and empower the faculty and generate spaces
for the construction of knowledge. Dawn
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NIP verifies 25,545 applications, 14,407 still pending
Islamabad: National Internship Programme (NIP) has verified more than
25,545 applications while 14,407 are still pending for verification with HEC and
An official said that 22,461 applications were rejected during
verification process. He said the induction letters issued by the authority in
Islamabad 2,433, Punjab 8,358, Sindh 3,485, NWFP 2,094, Malakand 5,168,
Balochistan 233, Gilgit-Baltistan 139, FATA 34 and AJK 66.
said that all applications received either online or by post have been sent to
HEC for verification of degrees, roll number, registration number, name of
university and year of passing.
Higher Education Commission is carrying
out the verification in close coordination with all recognized
universities and degree awarding institutions.
He said that after
verification of the degree by HEC, the applications for internship would be
forwarded to NADRA for verification of CNIC number, date of birth and names.
"All those applications which have been verified by HEC and NADRA are sorted on
the basis of preference for placement," he added.
He said that these
applicants have been included in the first batch of successful applicants. He
said that all those applicants whose names have not yet been included in the
first batch would be examined by HEC in consultation with all relevant
Universities and Institutions.
"Once the verification of degree is
completed by Higher Education Commission and CNIC by NADRA, the remaining
eligible applicants will be called for registration for the next batch of
internship," he said.
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Australian Education Expo
Islamabad: A large number of students visited the Australian Education
Expo 2010 held here on Saturday where representatives of dozens of universities
gave them free admission-related information.
The prospective students
took keen interest in the event and discussed with representatives their
prospects of studying in Australia. They were provided detailed information
about procedures to get admissions in top universities of Australia. Matters
related to visas were also discussed.
The representatives of more than
32 Australian universities were present on the occasion who were providing
details about a vast range of courses in subjects including business,
engineering, computer engineering, public health, health services, dentistry and
medicine. A number of universities also received on the spot admission
applications from students.
"The event will help students explore
different prospects of securing admissions to foreign institutions of higher
learning, as they are being provided with an opportunity to have detailed
discussions with highly skilled and professional people," said Shazia Niaz, a
The event will prove to be a good opportunity for students especially
for those who are planning to seek admission for higher education during the
upcoming academic session. The visiting students also availed opportunities to
The major participants of the education expo included
the University of Sydney, DEAKIN, Curtin, TAFE, Flinders, Holmesglen, USQ, MIBT,
NAVITAS, Victoria University, University of Western Sydney, Charles Sturt
University, University of Queensland, University of South Australia and Monash
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SLS graduation ceremony
Islamabad: The graduation ceremony of SLS School was held at Islamabad campus,
says a press release. Mrs. Asya Talha Managing Director SLS School was
the chief guest.
The programme started with the recitation of the Holy
Qur'aan followed by welcome song, speeches and a beautiful rhyme titled as the
Goldilocks. All the presentations were amazing and the audience were impressed.
There was also a national song 'Dil Dil Pakistan'. The parents gave a standing
ovation when the young graduates received their certificates, their faces were
gleaming with joy and the proud parents looked happy and satisfied.
Addressing the ceremony Asiya Talha said that it has been SLS's
endeavour to provide children the best possible schooling within the least
possible fee structure. SLS started 27 years back and at present has eight
campuses with more than 7,000 students.
The Islamabad Campus constructed last
year has state of the art building with library, computer laboratories, science
laboratories and playgrounds.
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Book launched at NAG
Islamabad: The launching ceremony of Sanya Zahid's book was organised by Pakistani English Forum in collaboration with the
Pakistan Academy of Letters, Pakistan National Council of the Arts and a local
music channel at the National Art Gallery.
Award-winning English poet Shabnam
Riaz presided over the ceremony, who has recently published her second book of
poetry, which consists of English poems written for children.
Karachi-based Sanya Zahid deserves to be appreciated for making the
journey of crafting her poetry book 'Journey to Light' in such a tender age. She
also deserves special acknowledgement, as she ventures into the world of poetry
as a young writer. Shabnam Riaz, while appreciating Sanya's efforts, said: "We
desperately need young writers and even more young readers as excelling in
creative work for widening of vision and deepening our souls with reading is
essential as excelling in Academics. Poetry by opening the minds teaches us how
to be tolerant, be refined and how we can fine-tune ourselves with our
Shabnam eulogised Sanya's poetic Endeavour as truly
heartening. Ilona Yusuf, a prominent Pakistani English poet, editor and artist,
was also the guest speaker of the ceremony. Ilona congratulated Sanya Zahid on
the publication of her first English poetic collection and hoped that she will
continue to write, to find people to guide her well in her endeavours, to
fine-hone her craft, and to be published again in the future.
thanked Pakistani English forum for giving literature the importance it
deserves. Ilona said that today Pakistan offers more for the creative mind in
the way of platforms than the decades preceding the nineteen nineties. She hoped
that the present trend of development in the arts and creative activities would
lead to high achievements and recognition both locally and internationally, as
it is in the realm of art and culture that one crosses borders and forges
relationships with others.
She advised Sanya to read Pakistani English
poets Taufiq Raffat, Maki Qureshi, Daud Kamal, Kaleem Omar and Alamgir Hashmi as
they laid the basis of a national monument for writers in English in Pakistan.
Ilona described Sanya's poems as sweet and impressive and will develop further
if she continued reading good national and international poets. She said that
Sanya's choice of themes for her poems is very good and she praised her poem,
The Sound of Silence, which is published on the website of American Academy of
PNCA Director General Tauqeer Nasir said that it is incredible to
see a poet in such a young age writing such good, serious and impressive English
poems. He said that our young generation has immense potential and abilities and
they will play a leading role in realising the vision of Quaid-i-Azam, Iqbal,
Faiz, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and will infuse a new life
in the overall brilliance of our civilisation and culture and will carry the
name of our country forward in the field of fine arts. He said that youngsters
like Sanya are the true face of Pakistan and they are the real
Asma Mansoor, another young Pakistani English poet and lecturer
of English literature at the International Islamic University (Female Campus),
while reviewing the book 'Journey to Light,' said that although writing at an
age in which the river of youth falls into the sea of adulthood without losing
its distinctive identity and character, Sanya's poetic collection 'Journey to
Light' is more like a burgeoning bud in the boutonniere of established Pakistani
poets in English.
Her ideas stand at the cusp of an amenable naivete and
startling clarity that marks the onset of maturity. Like a caterpillar, Sanya
weaves a cocoon of exclusivity around herself, Asma added. The young poet Sanya
Zahid expressed her gratitude to all the speakers and said that her family
always encouraged her and believed in her abilities.
She said that poetry for
her is a device of expression. She expresses all her feelings, emotions and
thoughts and even fights through poetry, even those words and emotions that
otherwise remain unsaid.
Sanya read out her poems written for her
grandfather and grandmother as she missed them terribly who also inspired her to
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Eid Milad celebrated
Rawalpindi: The 'Rah-e-Amal' school for underprivileged children
encourages its students to practice what the teachers preach, with interfaith
harmony one of the main lessons being on top of the agenda along with moral and
All religious festivals and holy days are celebrated in a
befitting manner, so it was no surprise to see the enthusiasm and fervour with
which Eid Milad-un-Nabi was observed by the children just as it was being
celebrated all over the country. There was a hustle and bustle as the students
and audience took their places. The stage was appropriately decorated, with even
the youngest student contributing by putting up a flower she had plucked from
outside a posh house on her way to school!
The audience was made up of
teachers, students their parents, the volunteers who work in the school and some
guests who support it, not only in kind, but by their presence on special
occasions. The function began at the given time and to say that there were no
glitches would be untrue, but on the whole, everything went fairly smoothly.
The programme began with 'tilawat' from 'Sura-e-Rehman' by Hamza,
followed by a 'hamd' 'Woh Hi Khuda Hai' by Nabeel and a 'naat', 'Fasaloon Ko
Takuluf Hai Hum Se Agar' by Shahzad. The programme also included the
participation of groups from different classes in 'hadees', 'aqwal-e-zareen',
speeches; 'naat' etc. These recitals lasted for one and a half hours and in the
end there was 'Salam' by the teachers and the students ended it with 'Dua.'
No celebration can be complete without refreshments so these were served
and included doughnuts, juices, oranges and bananas donated by generous
supporters and volunteers. It was a pleasant get-together that showcased the
behaviour of the children who are being educated here and the lessons they have
learned, that living together in peace and harmony is way better than conflict
Here it must be said that the 'hamd' and 'naat' were beautifully
rendered by the two boys and their natural talent shone through in an amazing
way. They have voices that can hold a note and this too without training - so it
can be well imagined how far they could go with proper lessons and exposure to
musical instruction by a trained teacher.
It is hoped that their
under-privileged background will not keep them from getting the recognition they
deserve. The news
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