!logo.jpg (6328 bytes) . .

1_popup_home.gif (1391 bytes) etc.gif (5656 bytes)

Efforts to add new faculties

For the record
Shabbir A. Khan
PAGE talks to Bilal Rashid of Iqra University
Information Technology
Interactive TV goes big-time
Science & Technology
Aquarius 2000
AIBIO: The newest tech craze
Imtiaz Rafi Butt

An interview with Bilal Rashid, Registrar, Iqra University

Feb 07 - 13, 2000

Asian Management Institute (AMI) is the first integral institute of Iqra University, Karachi. This was the beginning of a multi-faculty university. The management of Iqra University strongly believes that a university should have at least 5-6 faculties to really operate at the status of a prestigious university. Efforts are being made to establish new faculties. This is neither an easy task nor it can be done overnight particularly if we have to maintain the highest standard of education. These were the comments of Bilal Rashid, Registrar, Iqra University. Following are excerpts of an exclusive interview with PAGE.

At the time when there was a trend to establish Pakistan/Karachi chapter of foreign universities, AMI was established as purely local institution to offer the best curriculum, having its own infrastructure and own identity. A 'custom designed' building was constructed prior to starting admission. The mission and objective is to achieve par excellence quality of graduates by providing highest standard of education and professional training to enable the graduates to take on the challenges of competition and globalization successfully.

The AMI comprises of 20 fully carpeted and air-conditioned class rooms equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. The programmes, at present, are aimed at producing professionals with broad academic knowledge in a variety of industrial and commercial establishments. The executives and experts from various walks of life are invited regularly to participate and enlighten with their views. A fully equipped sports complex is also available to create healthy body along with a healthy mind.

We have just made a beginning and it is a long way to go. The strength of an educational institution is exhibited by the quality of the faculty. At present, out of 18 full time members 7 are Ph. Ds. Similarly we have a long list of visiting faculty members — exceeding 80 in number — out of which 4 are also Ph. Ds. Currently, there are about 1000 students enrolled in various programmes.

AMI complex was constructed in a record time. Initially AMI was associated with Sir Syed University. Now it is a constituent institute of Iqra University. Though a classic infrastructure was constructed in a record time, the real task is to make the best use of the facilities by imparting the highest quality education. We are sure, our efforts will not go waste and we will be able to make a difference.

AMI has recently started two major programmes — Associate Degree (2 years after Matric/O'levels) and the Fashion Design Programme which offers an Associate Degree of two years duration and Bachelor Degree spread over four years. The various courses being offered in Fashion Design are: machine sewing, pattern making, drawing, computer aided fashion design, textile design, trend forecasting, production, fashion shows etc. To add to the experience, different types of tours will also be arranged.

We have started this with very clear objective of helping the local manufacturers of textiles and clothing to face ever increasing competition. Now, price of a product is not the only selling point. Local manufacturers have to have people who are able to produce what the market demands. Textile industry is the backbone of our economy and the country earns the largest percentage of total exports through cotton and allied products.

Unit price realization of Pakistan's textiles and clothing is below the world average. One of the major reasons for this is that the local manufacturers have not been able to adapt to the changing international business environment. We are sure, if local manufacturers are able to meet the quality standards demanded by the overseas buyers, Pakistan's exports of textiles and clothing can be doubled in next three years.

The other major programme is the Associate Degree Programme after O'levels or Matric. Unfortunately, our colleges do not provide much value to students as the environment is generally not very conducive to academic excellence. The delays in results also adds to the frustration of the parents and students. The Associate Degree Programme is spread over 2 years (6 terms) and enables the students to prepare for 3 possible options at AMI-BBA (Hons). BC (CS), or BA Fashion Design. The smooth transition saves time and cost. We estimate that if a student goes on to do his/her MBA or MCS, he/she will save at least 2 years of his/her life. This is an enormous saving of time and will allow our youth to much more quickly become contributing members of the society.

As said earlier, the management of Iqra University has plans to add new faculties. Establishment of faculty for specialized courses in Economics is on top priority. The other disciplines to be added gradually may include Engineering, Law and Health Services. To undertake this ambitious programme we need additional infrastructure and qualified and experienced faculty. However, with the keen interest of students in joining various AMI programmes, the expansion plan should not be a problem.