Interview with Mr Mukhtar Khan HI (M) Rear Admiral (retired) – Director General, Bahria University Karachi Campus
PAGE: Kindly describe role of Bahria University in promotion of higher education in Sindh and rest of the country?
Mukhtar Khan: At the outset, let me acknowledge the efforts of Pakistan & Gulf Economist to promote this noble cause. Like other leading varsities, Bahria University has incorporated advance teaching methodologies to promote multi-faceted education, exchange visits of students beyond their normal text book education and knowledge. Bahria University is playing an important role as leaders in teaching and learning, in education, research and technology. Bahria University is significantly contributing in the production of highly skilled manpower and research output to meet perceived targets. Bahria University assumes a role of promoting higher education in today’s world, as wide range of challenges and opportunities are emerging, with many political, economic and social implications
Bahria University strives hard to be able to provide, self-directed learners that are independent and confident, and be able to contribute to the society through leadership and civic duties. As knowledge generators, with change paradigms, to help society with its development and in meeting new challenges as they come along.
In conformity with the policy dictates of the HEC, Bahria University is trying to meet its objectives through high quality faculty, on campus facilities and strong linkage with industry.
PAGE: What is your opinion about ‘Blue Economy’ – potential and prospects?
Mukhtar Khan: The word ‘Blue Economy’ opens up new dimensions of economic growth and development beneath and above the surface of blue waters of seas and oceans. Pakistan is blessed with the natural endowment of approximately 1,000 km long coastline and exclusive Economic Zone of 240,000 square kilometers full of sea borne living and non- living natural resources.
There is a need to have an integrated maritime policy to involve decision makers and general public through collaboration and capacity building. BUKC focus on maritime education sector is aimed at developing much needed human resource for this sector. We can enhance prospects and potentials of Pakistan’s ports by improving the infrastructure in line with international standards. Our Merchant Fleet needs to be increased to lift bulk of our sea trade.
The Blue Economy provides food, jobs, water, energy and sustainable innovative path to progress and self-sufficiency. Hundreds of millions of families are getting their livelihood from this economy. According to the World Bank Report Blue Economy is generating US$ 3-6 trillion to the world economy and if we take all the oceans as a country then the oceanic economy would be the seventh largest in the world.
PAGE: Bahria is the only institution providing degree for Maritime Trade Blue Economy, please tell us future plans pertaining to Blue Economy?
Mukhtar Khan: Maritime sector of Pakistan has immense potential which if optimally exploited, can contribute tremendously to the national economy. One of the key enabler in this connection is to develop skilled HR capable of taking the maritime sector forward. In order to contribute to this national obligation, Bahria University has taken the extraordinary initiative by launching higher maritime education at its Karachi Campus to fill the HR gap in the field. This initiative is aimed at contributing to the promotion of the country’s Blue Economy and meeting the emerging CPEC related HR challenges.
Accordingly, the Bahria University Karachi Campus has established the coveted BU School of Maritime Sciences to undertake the bi-dimensional task of producing suitably qualified human capital and generating new knowledge for the maritime industry. In the first phase of its plan, BU School of Maritime Sciences has launched BS Maritime Business & Management, BS Maritime Trade & Logistics, BS Maritime Ports & Shipping Management and Multiple 8-10 week long Certificate and Diploma Programs for the grey collar jobs in the maritime industry.
Bahria University is confident that these and future programs of the BU School of Maritime Sciences, will produce much needed human resource and knowledge pertinent to contemporary requirements of the national maritime industry. These programs can be extremely useful for the existing workforce of the maritime industry organizations with non-maritime education. Combined with maritime field related experience of this workforce, the advanced maritime education imparted to them will yield a double advantages. Therefore, we earnestly urge that the employees of Public Sector Organizations directly or indirectly involved in maritime sector may be encouraged for joining the above-said programs and earn the maritime sciences based specialized qualifications to become a useful number of the maritime community of Pakistan.
PAGE: Although the image of Pakistani universities has improved substantially around the world, yet we are lagging behind others in terms of knowledge based growth. How does Bahria University Intend to tackle the issues?
Mukhtar Khan: The knowledge based growth at Bahria University is handled by investment in higher education, innovation in teaching techniques and learning methods, research commercialization and technology transfer, enhancing adaptive and creative skills of both students and teachers, imparting knowledge on information and communication technology (ICT). We at Bahria University are striving hard to make knowledge society to interact with knowledge based economy.
PAGE: Do you think that our universities should chalk out their education programs and curricula in accordance to the demand of international market?
Mukhtar Khan: YES, we believe that it’s the national obligation for all the universities to tailor their programs in line with growing global trends. The manifestation of these efforts are quite evident from the fact that most of the programs being offered by BU are certified/accredited by both national as well as international bodies. BU has formulated and channelized its curricula and programs in such a manner that it is graded at par with international statures and benchmarks so that student whenever has to switch to some other international university, the individual be accepted without any difficulty. BU is successfully sending its students frequently to international universities of USA, UK, China, Malaysia, Rome, Italy, Thailand and Turkey for continuation of their education through Student Exchange Programs.
PAGE: In your opinion how the education sector can play a greater role in getting the country out of the current financial problems?
Mukhtar Khan: Education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of national development. Education raises people’s productivity and creativity and promotes entrepreneurship and technological advances. In addition it plays a very crucial role in securing economic and social progress.
It is the key to increasing economic efficiency and social uplift of the masses. By increasing the value and efficiency of their labor, it helps to raise the poor from poverty. It increases the overall productivity and intellectual flexibility of the labor force. It helps to ensure that a country is competitive in world markets now characterized by changing technologies and new production methods.
PAGE: Please let us know the brief history of the Bahria University?
Mukhtar Khan: Bahria University (BU) is a Federally Chartered Public Sector University. The principal seat of BU is at Islamabad and campuses are at Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. Bahria University was established by the Pakistan Navy in 2000, and since then it has steadily grown into one of the leading higher education institutions in Pakistan. It plays a major role in grooming future leaders who can make a positive impact in the world around them. Bahria is a comprehensive university having multidisciplinary programs that includes Health Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Computer Sciences, Management Sciences, Social Sciences, Law, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Psychology and Maritime Studies.