Alvi for linkages of local, int’l varsities to improve edu standards

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has called upon the universities and institutes of higher learnings to create meaningful and practical linkages with local as well as renowned and credible International universities to benchmark their best practices, and developments perpetually taking place in field of education, higher learning and research and development around the world.
The President expressed these views during his visit to Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore, on Friday. The President also chaired a meeting of the LUMS Advisory Board, and met with leadership of LUMS. Pro-Chancellor LUMS, Mr Abdul Razak Dawood, Rector LUMS, Mr Shahid Hussain, VC LUMS, Dr Arshad Ahmad, members of the Board of Trustees of LUMS, and senior leadership of the university attended the meeting.
During his meeting with the LUMS Advisory Board, the President urged the policy and decision-makers, regulatory bodies, and bureaucracy to overcome their traditional resistance and inertia against innovation and development, and make quick and timely decisions and ensure speedy and timebound implementationto help Pakistan become a modern and progressive country.
Dr Arif Alvi advised the University to continuously scan the international educational horizon to identify the new and emerging technologies developed and employed around the world and link them with their curricula to create quality graduates equipped with markable skills and capable of coping with the challenges of the modern world as well as harness the opportunities available in the country and abroad.
The President said that innovations and improvements in the ICT sector had caused an explosion of knowledge and abundance of information which was available to everyone with the touch of a button on smart devices which has eliminated the need for memorization and rote learning. He underscored that universities should enable their students to workhard to become proficient in their skills, create new knowledge and skills, and with sound judgement, critical and analytical thinking skills strengthen their niche in the competitive world.
The President urged the university to employ out of the box solutions including combination of brick and mortar, hybrid and online teaching capabilities to increase their capacity and reach to all those FSC-passed students in such a manner that none of the FSC passed inspiring students for higher education were refused admission on any pretext or reason. He emphasized that online and hybrid education was easier, accessible, cheaper, and conveniently scalable and provided convenient and hassle-free mode of teaching to a much larger body of student without constraint of time and space and when this mode was combined with “open access knowledge and information” it became even more productive.
The President asserted that research carried out by the developed countries especially during COVID-19 lockdown has proved that online and hybrid modes of education were successful without compromising the integrity of the education discipline and quality and proficiency of the graduating students. He added that many universities even in USA were increasingly offering online courses which has reached to 50% of total courses with much lesser cost. He advised the universities to impart education to the students by short courses without comprising their quality to make them available for industries, businesses and services sector which were anxiously looking for trained and proficient human resource.
The President asserted that the IT sector world over was now recruiting employees not only on the basis of their degrees but more so basing upon their skills and ability to deliver the required products or services. He regretted that due to skewed policies of the past, Pakistan lost quality human resources due to brain drain to greener pastures which deprived the country of their intellect, knowledge and expertise which was direly needed for progress and development of the country and called upon the university to devise ways and means to benefit from their services to improve their business and educational processes.
Later, the President was briefed by the LUMS leadership about its strategic priorities, future development plans, issues in Pakistan’s higher education sector, and LUMS’ contributions towards providing quality higher education in Pakistan. It was informed that LUMS possessed a national footprint and over 17,000 students from different areas of the country had graduated from the university so far. It was also informed that LUMS planned to increase the volume of online course content to 25%, and that the university had contributed towards policymaking in the country, especially in the energy sector.
It was stated that the university was actively engaged in collaborations with the government and the industry to focus on the issues of socio-economic development being faced by the country. The President appreciated LUMS for providing quality higher education and fulfilling the country’s needs for educated and skilled professionals, adding that Pakistan needed more iconic higher education institutions.