AGA KHAN UNIVERSITY- CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

KNOWN FOR QUALITY EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Dec 26 - Jan 01, 2006

Pakistan is currently in the middle of an economic turnaround obviously led by the dynamic efforts, policies and decisions of the economic managers, however, all these efforts to achieve economic goals were supported by the educational institutions producing quality graduates.

In fact, the role of education sector cannot be ruled out in achieving sustainable and knowledge-based economic growth on sound footings. In this respect, Aga Khan has carved an impressive and respectable place in our society by contributing a role of a prestigious institution for the promotion of social sector, especially on health and education fronts.

Though the massive contribution by Aga Khan for the cause of education in all corners of the country has set different milestones, yet the establishment of Aga Khan University was in fact a precious gift for Pakistanis and in a long way promote quality education in Pakistan.

Chartered in 1983 as Pakistan's first private international university, Aga Khan University (AKU) aims to promote human welfare by disseminating knowledge and providing instruction, training, research and services in health sciences, education and other disciplines. The University is a major component of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of private, non-denominational, international development agencies, institutions and programs operating in the developing world.

Under the guidance of the Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, AKU operates on the core principles of quality, relevance, impact and access. Inspired by Islamic ethics, humanistic ideals and the philosophy of AKDN, the University is committed to building an environment that fosters intellectual freedom, distinction in scholarship, pluralism, compassion, and humanity's collective responsibility for a sustainable physical, social and cultural environment. The University places special emphasis on the development of women.

AKU is a non-denominational institution open to all on merit and admission to its academic programmes is needs-blind. The Educational Support Programme provides assistance to students who are unable to afford the subsidised tuition fees of the Medical College (AKU-MC) or the School of Nursing (AKU-SON). On average, student fees cover only 16 per cent of the cost of education at the Faculty of Health Sciences (AKU-FHS).

The University also assists poor and deserving patients who cannot afford the high-quality care offered by Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH). Since the inception of the Patient Welfare Programme in 1986, over Rs. 1.22 billion (US $28.21 million, calculated at the average exchange rate in the year of disbursement) have been made available to more than 225,000 patients.

In the 22 years since its establishment, AKU has made significant contributions, both nationally and internationally, on a range of development challenges. It now has 10 teaching sites in Afghanistan, Kenya, Pakistan, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom, and many AKU initiatives are being replicated or emulated in the developing world. The scope of its impact has also widened. By any bench-mark, the University has advanced the cause of women through education, practice and example, particularly in the health sciences and teaching. AKU's contributions to nursing have been especially significant, leading to a marked improvement in nursing education and patient care in Pakistan, Afghanistan, East Africa and Syria. The University has contributed to the general welfare of children through nutrition programmes and early childhood development initiatives. It has also launched training programmes for teachers which have subsequently been replicated in East Africa and Central Asia.

AKU continues, through research, to make important contributions to the health sciences and educational development, particularly in the context of developing countries. AKU recognises that the endemic problems of a region beset by financial difficulties and low development indicators can be addressed only through relevant research focusing on producing low-cost, accessible and innovative solutions. AKU provides an enabling environment to conduct research in areas where needs are clear and urgent, for example maternal and child health.

FACULTY OF HEALTH SCIENCES

Comprising a School of Nursing and a Medical College, AKU-FHS is located on the same campus in Karachi as the University Hospital.

FACULTY OF HEALTH SCIENCES

PROGRAMMES

ENROLMENT IN 2004

TOTAL GRADUATES

MBBS

436

1,257

MSc in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

11

47

MSc in Health Policy and Management

10

11

PhD in Health Sciences*

8

1

Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME)

348

401

General Nursing (RN) Diploma

231

1,488

Post-RN BScN

61

322

BScN

150

127

MScN

13

6

Advanced Nursing Studies, East Africa

295

76

*commenced in 1999, first PhD graduated in 2005

TOTAL

1,563

3,472

SCHOOL OF NURSING

AKU-SON, which began operations in 1980, educates nurses to provide exemplary patient care and demonstrates leadership in nursing education, practice, administration and research. The School offers programmes leading to the General Nursing Diploma, Post RN BScN, BScN and MScN.

In 2001, an Advanced Nursing Studies programme was started in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in East Africa. Qualifications offered in East Africa are the Post RN BScN and a conversion diploma for enrolled nurses seeking registered status. AKU-SON is also providing assistance for nursing education and services in Afghanistan, Syria and Tajikistan.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aku.edu/son/

MEDICAL COLLEGE

The Medical College (AKU-MC), established in 1983, enrols students in a five-year programme leading to a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree. The College's curricular objectives include the development of clinical competence in community settings and hospitals, along with health promotion and disease prevention. The University offers postgraduate medical education (PGME) programmes in 39 clinical disciplines, including 11 highly specialised fellowship training programmes. After the expansion of its PGME programme in Karachi, AKU has started similar programmes at the Aga Khan Hospitals in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in all major clinical specialities including medicine, surgery, radiology, pathology, anaesthesia, obstetrics-gynaecology and paediatrics. Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, which is expected in the near future to be upgraded to a University Hospital, will also continue to play a vital role as a major teaching site for the Advanced Nursing Studies (ANS) programme of AKU (see above).

Graduate studies include Masters of Science degrees in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and in Health Policy and Management, as well as a PhD in Health Sciences, the first of its kind in Pakistan - the University graduated its first PhD in 2005. Research at AKU-FHS focuses on the key health issues facing the developing world, including infectious diseases, malnutrition, reproductive health, education and nursing care.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aku.edu/medicalcollege/

AGA KHAN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL

Established in 1985 as the principal AKU-FHS teaching site, AKUH is committed to providing diagnosis of disease and team management of patient care. These facilities are backed up by the highest doctor-to-patient and nurse-to-patient ratios in Pakistan and quality support services. The Hospital's multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and care ensures a continuum of safe and high-quality care for patients - with all services under one roof.

A broad range of secondary and tertiary care is available in the 500-bed University Hospital to all patients in need. Those who are unable to pay for treatment receive generous assistance through a variety of subsidies and the Hospital's Patient Welfare Programme (see above). In 2000, AKUH became the first teaching hospital in Pakistan to be completely ISO 9002 certified and it has since received IS0 9001 certification as well. In 2004, AKUH admitted over 35,000 inpatients and cared for over 390,000 outpatients, while several million tests were performed on specimens collected at medical services units throughout the country.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aku.edu/akuh/

INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) was set up in 1993 in Karachi to improve educational standards in primary and secondary schools through field-based training programmes. Through its Professional Development Centres (PDCs), the Institute offers a two-year intensive Masters degree programme as well as a Certificate in Education and Advanced Diplomas in Teaching and Educational Leadership.

AKU-IED

PROGRAMMES

ENROLMENT IN 2004

TOTAL GRADUATES

PhD

4

-

Master of Education (MEd)

69

211

Advanced Diplomas

32

263

Certificate in Education programmes

611

3,185

TOTAL

716

3,659

The Institute's programmes target career teachers from collaborating public and private school systems across Pakistan, in South and Central Asia as well as Syria and East Africa. AKU-IED also provides training in school management and leadership, especially to heads of schools. AKU-IED aims to improve quality of education through human resource development, institutional capacity building, research and dissemination, and policy analysis, dialogue and advocacy.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aku.edu/ied/

INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF MUSLIM CIVILISATIONS

Established in 2002 in the United Kingdom, the University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) aims to strengthen research and teaching on the heritage of Muslim societies in all their historic diversity.

The Institute will study systems of moral and ethical thought, structures of governance and public life, and artistic and creative expression in all forms. In addition, the Institute seeks to create opportunities for interaction among academics, traditionally trained scholars and other professionals so as to deepen understanding of the pressing issues of public life in Muslim societies. A Masters programme in Muslim cultures is scheduled to take its first students in September 2006.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aku.edu/ismc/

EXAMINATION BOARD

AKU Examination Board (AKU-EB) is a testing service which will design and offer high quality public examinations in English and Urdu based on the national curriculum for secondary and higher secondary education. It will also arrange for training of teachers, and for appropriate learning materials to prepare teachers and students for the new examination system. It is intended to serve as a model of internationally recognized good practice in order to enhance the country's capacity for educational assessment and tests, and therefore to improve the quality of education in schools, and through them, the quality of education in the national universities. The first examinations will be held in 2007.

THE WAY AHEAD

The next five years in the life of the University promise to be particularly exciting. During this period of significant expansion in AKU's programmes, in Pakistan as well as abroad, the size of both its currently 1,800-strong student body and its physical facilities will double. In this connection, the University's major projects include:

* Faculty of Arts and Sciences on a new residential campus on the outskirts of Karachi. The objective of the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes will be to equip young men and women from within and outside Pakistan with the skills, ethical commitment and leadership qualities needed by citizens of the 21st century. The campus will also be home to several professional graduate schools or faculties;

* Human Development Programme, a recent AKU initiative which is dedicated to enhancing human development, initially through a focus on Early Childhood Development (ECD);

* Consolidation and growth of PGME programmes in East Africa;

* Continual upgrading and expansion of AKUH facilities and services.

The manner in which AKU addresses some fundamental challenges will largely determine its shape in the years to come. In its first ten years, AKU moved from a local institution to a national one. In its next ten, it began to fulfil its original mandate as an institution with an international impact. In its third decade, it plans to greatly expand the scope and impact of its international activities while enhancing services in both urban and rural Pakistan.