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An interview with Dr. Manzoor Ahmad VC, Hamdard university

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Jun 26 - Jul 02, 2000

Madinat- al-Hikmah, the main campus of Hamdard University, deemed fit to be translated as the city of wisdom as it enjoys the distinction of having Dr. Manzoor Ahmad, an education wizard as its vice chancellor.

Dr. Manzoor, who needs no introduction in the world of education by virtue of services he rendered for the cause of education in Pakistan is the founder vice chancellor of Hamdard University.

Dr. Manzoor gave his best to transform the dream of Hakim Said into reality for developing a center of excellence at Madinat-al-Hikmah to produce people of knowledge who can think independently in all spheres of life to earn a respectable place for Pakistan among the comity of nations.

Prof. Dr. Manzoor talking to PAGE welcomed the idea of establishing a University in the field of Information Technology mooted out by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Chief Executive of Pakistan. Dr. Manzoor said that Hamdard University has already taken a lead in this regard and has established a well-equipped department for awarding degrees in all segments of computer science. The Information Technology department has been designed in a way to match the market demands both at home as well as abroad. He said that a large number of Pakistani graduates in this latest technology have already carved a place for themselves in the developed world like the United States and other European countries. Pakistan needs a comprehensive plan to produce IT graduates to cash on the situation, he observed.

Replying to a question Dr. Manzoor said that he would not mind if a larger number of graduates getting openings outside Pakistan. He felt that this a sort of export which may prove helpful in strengthening the national economy which is in dire need of foreign exchange. Currently, Hamdard University is producing 800 graduates in Information Technology alone. He observed that this is the high time when the private and public sector should work together to produce more graduates in hi-tech to grab our share in the world market and to develop a strong economic base for the country.

Regarding the idea of establishing an IT university moved by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the vice chancellor said that he has already suggested to the government through University Grant Commission for developing a project working in 6-7 areas of education capable to cater to the market needs. He said that Hamdard University is prepared to bear 30 per cent of the total costs of such a project provided rest of the funds requirement is met by the government.

Dr. Manzoor regretted that misinterpretation of socio-economic, religious and political values by the so-called leaders in their respective areas of life has adversely affected growth and development of sound minds capable to think freely and independently. Minds of the upcoming people were poisoned by different considerations including economic, sectarian, regional, provincial and other petty matters. As a result of all these biases, the innocent people had to pay the cost due to lack of good governance, which is one of the major problems of the people of this country.

The words flow like hill torrent when Dr. Manzoor speaks on national issues. He cited the absence of Human Rights education, which is, described as yet another gray area in the field of education in Pakistan. Everywhere there are universities and institutions imparting knowledge regarding human rights but it is totally missing in our country. Even India has at least three universities on Human Rights. He feels that socio-economic conditions in Pakistan demand for development of such institutions to develop a harmonized atmosphere among different segments of the society necessary for economic or social growth of a society, he observed.

Hamdard University at Madinat-al-Hikmah was granted the charter of a general university by Ghulam Ishaq Khan, former president of Pakistan. The provincial assembly of Sindh duly recognized the university by approving an Act in this regard in 1991.

In the face of deteriorating standards of education and increasing difficulties faced by the Muslims in confronting the onslaught of Western philosophical invasion, this educational project was conceived by Hakim Mohammad Said, President of Hamdard Foundation Pakistan and founder president of Madinat-al-Hikmah.

With the passage of time, the university has gradually and steadily growing with the development of a number of constituent institutions of higher studies specially in Information Technology, Business Education, Medical Sciences as well as Social Sciences.

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences:

The Hamdard College of Medicine is a part of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. The studies are spread over a period of five years and four professional examinations leading to the award of MBBS degree. In the basic sciences, departments of physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology and community medicine have been established. Similarly, clinical teaching departments of medicine, surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, pediatrics and forensic medicine have senior and experienced professors as the head of their relevant departments. Presently Taj Medical Complex at M.A. Jinnah Road has been designated as Hamdard University Hospital. Similar arrangements have also been made with the Imam Clinic in North Nazimabad Karachi. The Department of Community Medicine in cooperation with the project Directorate has organized community health service programmes for the training of students studying in the college. Health facilities through mobile dispensaries are provided to the rural population residing in 30 villages around the campus.

Hamdard College of Eastern Medicine.

This was established as a part of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences in 1995. The idea behind establishing this wing of health sciences to educate students for the degree of Bachelor of Eastern Medicine and Surgery. This is an innovative experiment and has been consciously started to upgrade the knowledge and education of Eastern Medicine in the country. The curricula for the degree are most modern and include basic education of the same level as that of MBBS, i.e. physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, pathology and microbiology. Forensic medicine and clinical education are also an integral part of the curricula. A highly qualified faculty including experts in Eastern Medicine and allopathic medicine impart instructions to the students. A large area of land has been set aside for cultivation of medicinal herbs and plants for the training of students in Eastern Medicine pharmaceutics. The college is also proposing to start study programmes for advanced research degrees in Eastern Medicine. Special condensed courses for practitioners of Eastern Medicine are also being organized. The Hamdard College of Eastern Medicine extends community health services to neighbouring villages in collaboration with Rotary and Al-Asad Lions Club, Karachi.

Faculty of Management Sciences

Hamdard Institute of Management Sciences (HIMS), established in 1994 has rapidly developed to be one of the major institutions of the country. It has been established to meet the growth demands of emerging socio-economic patterns and to sustain the preparation of a regular stream of well-training managerial cadres. The process of privatization in the country and deregulation of economy will certainly provide ample opportunities to business graduates in the expanding market. HIMS aims at training managers and executives to serve public and private sector organizations of the region and the country, at providing facilities for further education and training for in-service managers and business executives and undertaking research and management studies in the field of business and commerce. Business Administration has interdisciplinary approach. Students are encouraged to acquire knowledge of different disciplines such as economics, sociology, psychology, computer, communication and mathematics. A variety of specialized courses such as accounting, finance and banking, marketing and management are also offered. Emphasis is given on internship in reputed national and multinational organizations.

Horticulture

A beautiful garden near Bund Murad Khan spread over 40 acres, flanks the campus, ideal for a project for cultivation of medicinal plants and herbs. The centre for horticulture set up in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, government Baden- Wurttemburg, Germany, has been experimentally growing indigenous and exotic plants under soil and water tested conditions. It has been planned to further replicate it in the rural areas of Sindh. The German government has also equipped the laboratory with latest equipment techniques and services of experts. Useful results have already been obtained. A hydro chemical laboratory has been established to test the ground water and dam water supply in order to evaluate the quality of water. The local farmers of about thirty rural communities get free advice and seed for cultivation. The produce obtained from the centre is marketed for local consumption.