University of Arid Agriculture convocation

RAWALPINDI, May 1(Daily Times): Universities have been producing quality researchers, scholars and scientists due to education reforms and contributing to the country's progress, said Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool during the 8th convocation of the University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi (UAAR) here on Monday.

The governor said the government was making efforts to improve the academic and research atmosphere in universities by allocating financial resources so that these institutions could produce skilled and trained manpower.

He said the Pakistani youth were determined to change the country's fate by getting standard higher education. He said the universities' atmosphere had improved and the students had been taking more interest in studies. "This is the indication of a better future," Maqbool added.

He said after the inception of a veterinary sciences section at the UAAR, the Punjab government had opened veterinary institutions and colleges in several cities of the province. The governor said agriculture sub-campuses had been set up in various universities of the province. He stressed for producing value added products to compete in the international market. "We must properly utilise our land and water resources for farmers' prosperity," he added.

He also underlined the importance of utilising modern technologies in agriculture, adding that all stakeholders, including farmers, universities, research organisations and market representatives must unite to enhance quality production.

Praising UAAR's role in education, Maqbool said the enrolment in the university had increased more than two folds in the last six years, adding that the university's development budget would touch Rs 800 million next year. He said the university had only 26 PhD teachers six years ago as compared to 52 at present.

Speaking on the occasion, UAAR Vice Chancellor Dr Khalid Mahmood elaborated the university's goals and achievements. He said the UAAR had been making progress in terms of services and academics, infrastructure and facilities.

He said several institutions were established in the varsity to bridge the gap between the UAAR and approaching future offerings and facing upcoming challenges. He said the university had also established a placement bureau for the counselling of students to help them find jobs. He said the university had also developed a comprehensive scholarship scheme to help the needy and talented students, adding that Rs 4.5 million had been disbursed so far under the scheme. The VC said the university had acquired 1,952 kanals of land near Mandra to start university projects.

The governor distributed medals and certificates among students who excelled in their academic careers. 1,046 graduates of 2006 were awarded degrees during the convocation. Similarly, 38 students who excelled in their studies were decorated with gold, silver and bronze medals.

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