An interview with Bilal
Rashid, Registrar, Iqra University
By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
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
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
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.