Government aims to enhance education sector funds, assures Dr Ebad

KHALIL AHMED, Senior Correspondent
Nov 20 - 26, 2006

Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, while appreciating the efforts of IBA in maintaining high standard of education, said that the government aims to enhance funds in education sector to raise literacy rate and to better the quality of education, especially at higher level.

Speaking as chief guest at the IBA Convocation last week, he said that the universities and education institutions in Sindh must aim to produce quality PhDs with a view to match the fierce competition in the contemporary era.

Maulana Abdul Sattar Edhi was honored with a PhD degree by IBA Karachi for his unparallel global services to mankind.

The Governor said: "It is very heartening to see Maulana Abdul Sattar Edhi with us today who has now become part of this coveted family, having been bestowed with the highest honor the IBA could confer. I, on your behalf, welcome him from the core of my heart with a firm promise that he will always find IBA standing shoulder to shoulder with him in the noble cause he is working for. He is one of the greatest legends of our country whose passion to serve the suffering humanity is boundless. He shows the noblest force of Pakistan."

The graduating students of the years 2005 and 2006 were conferred the Bachelor & Masters degrees in Computer Science, Business Administration and Management Information System, at an impressive but simple ceremony at the IBA.

Mr Danishmand, the Director IBA, highlighted the importance of setting up Centre for Entrepreneur Excellence at the IBA with active support of USAID and Pakistan government, saying: "it will infuse a new spirit in the life of those who are aspiring to establish their own businesses".

Overall Marketing Gold Medals were awarded to Ms Palwasha Afridi and Ms Ayesha Zaidi, whereas Overall Finance Gold Medals were awarded to Ms Sana Masood and Ms Mehwish Haider. The award of best student was presented to Ms Aaizah Syed for the year 2005 and Ms Sobia Mohammad Din for the year 2006.

On the occasion, the Sindh Governor congratulated the management and the students body of the IBA. He said: "I am delighted to be at the Convocation. This is one of the most solemn and yet a joyous occasion. The IBA has completed 51 years of its existence. Its commitment to merit and an established fair and challenging system have produced world-class professional managers and entrepreneurs for the business and industry in Pakistan and the much of the world. I compliment all those who have worked hard to build this great institution and have contributed to its professional reputation. I share the values embedded in your system which is based on merit, truth, diligence, tolerance and humility. These are the core values so essential for building up a progressive and enlightened Pakistan. I have always supported the IBA in maintaining its high standards and values. I will continue to do so in the future. Here I would like to quote from a speech of our Prime Minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz, who affirms: IBA is an island of excellence, and it has always been that and will always be; because it practices meritocracy, teaches good values, teaches you to be competent, teaches you to be thorough, and moulds you. It is one institution in my view which moulds your personality rather than just gives you a degree.

"Convocation to me is an extremely important day in the life of a student. I wish to congratulate members of the graduating class of 2004, 2005 and 2006 for successfully completing their studies at the IBA. Your degrees, and the other academic distinctions, which have been conferred on you today, are richly deserved and you can feel proud of your achievements. The day, indeed, is a land mark in your life. You stand today at a new threshold in your life. Here, in this great institution, you have imbibed the values and skills needed to deal with the world outside. I urge you to remain committed to the values espoused by your institution. Whatever walk of life you may pursue, you will find that a commitment to excellence, to justice and fair play, to hard work and team spirit will stand you in good stead.

"I hope you would appreciate and remember that you have earned and been given the privilege of studying at the IBA. I hope that you would always remember that you belong to a great, highly regarded group of professionals. Let your conduct and your words be worthy of the great traditions of your Institute to further strengthen its name and its image. I also wish to extend my heartiest felicitations to the parents of the graduating students, for whom, I am sure; it is nothing less than a dream come true! I am glad that you are here today, to be part of this exhilarating experience, and to give parental blessings to your children. I am firmly of the belief that parents have a significant role in the education of their children; indeed their contribution cannot be overstated. The quality of a university is mostly defined by its human resource, its values and its culture. Although it has such a picturesque ambience, what really sets the IBA apart from most other business schools are not its buildings and its equipment, but the high caliber of its students, faculty and management. This equation must always remain undisturbed and the success story of IBA must go on from generation to the next. The achievement of the IBA, ever since its inception, bears testimony to sincerity, devotion, and sense of commitment of all those who have been privileged to be associated with the IBA in any capacity.

"Indeed it is even more gratifying to note that the IBA has vigorously embarked upon a new era of growth, expansion and rise in tune with the changing needs of the times. A large share of credit for this goes to its Board of Governors and its Management, which appears to realize the importance of an on-going dialogue, and interaction, between the academia and the society and indeed the world at large and continuous adaptation, renewal and regeneration. The IBA appears to be one of the few institutions in Pakistan, which have adhered consistently to the quality control, which is exercised, from the rigorous admission process, through teaching, testing, and the award of the final degree. The high image and the ready absorption of your graduates, in the work force across the country and the world bear undisputed testimony to this reality. I think all this can ultimately be attributed to the fact that, unlike many other institutions, the IBA has succeeded in putting a system in place--- a system in which everyone is required to give his best in order to survive. As one who has watched the growth of IBA over the years, I recall the days when as the pioneer in the field of business education in Pakistan, the IBA enjoyed a monopoly for a very long time.

"Now the academic scenario is far more competitive; and to that extent, the task of administration and faculty has become even more challenging and I hope, exciting and satisfying. Perhaps the teaching and learning processes were never as complex, and daunting, as they are today. The emerging world order, the significant changes being made by the sweeping tide of globalization, the rise of the European Union and other regional alliances, and the impact of W.T.O. on the world economy are only some of the factors, which have contributed to making the world a more complex and unstable place to live in. Against this backdrop, the role of universities has to go beyond the traditional parameters. Ladies and gentlemen: one should read history with a view to learning from the past, not living in the past. So far as education is concerned, all the vested interests, such as the feudal class, the obscurantist elements, and the forces opposed to the progress of Pakistan, had combined to ensure that education should remain a low priority.

"Hence, the neglect of education was not so much by default, as by design. The present government aims at enhanced funding to raise literacy level, remove urban-rural and gender imbalances, improve quality of education at all levels, strengthen higher education facilities, and provide for demand driven education. The Education Sector Reforms focus on implementation strategies, program summaries and innovative programs which include proposals of Education for All, poverty reduction, public-private partnership, good governance and re-defining the role of the Federal Ministry of Education for spearheading the reform efforts and mobilization of resources. Enhancing education and research at the tertiary level is among the top most priorities with the present government. Over the past few years, it has been investing reasonably in this sector through various programs of HEC in Human resource development, training, research, foreign scholarships, foreign universities collaborations, foreign faculty hiring etc.

"The real wealth of a society is the quality of manpower it produces. It has been established that the return on education is the highest return. We do have the responsibility that the resources invested in education are effectively utilized and not squandered. In this world of knowledge-based competition, quality and relevance of education are the key to our national development. In the end, I also wish to express my appreciation of the fact that the IBA graduates, fortunately, unlike the students of some other prestigious institutions, do not turn into arrogant individuals who feel and behave like aliens in their own society. I do hope and pray that the graduating class of today will try and continue this great tradition. Remember, the Quaid's exhortations: "Work, work and more work".'

In his address, Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi, said: "My religion is humanitarianism, which is the basis of all religions". He told the gathering that he did not prefer being addressed as

'Maulana' since he does not qualify for that. He further said that having got the Ph.D, he qualifies to be addressed as Dr Abdul Sattar Edhi. He asked the graduating students to serve the humanity to please God.

It is a fact that despite his great fame and vast sums of money that pass through his hands, Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi dresses most modestly. He and his family live in a two-room apartment adjacent to the premises of Edhi Foundation's headquarters. During Abdul Sattar Edhi's lifetime, the Edhi Foundation has grown to have a fleet of 1,200 ambulances, 3 aircraft, 1 helicopter, 20 emergency medical service ambulances with 40 emergency medical technicians and 30 rescue boats. The foundation annually handles over 1 million dead bodies, provides shelter to approximately 25,000 men, women and children, extends healthcare facilities to over 400,000 patients, serves free meals to over 25,000 poor, trains over 200 nurses and imparts free education to over 5,000 youngsters. Edhi International Foundation has its branches in USA, Canada, UK, UAE and Japan and responds with ready help anywhere when massive suffering calls for help; be it Chechnya, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, Russia, India, Bangladesh, Edhi is everywhere. He did not come to get this honorary degree last year because he was personally supervising relief efforts in the earthquake-hit area.

The 78-year-old Abdul Sattar Edhi personally worked to provide relief to besieged and bombarded population of Lebanon, ignoring all considerations of personal safety. Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi has been awarded and recognized 19 times with national and international decorations. He is cited in the Guinness Books of World Records for running the largest voluntary Ambulance services in the world.

Presenting his report, Director IBA Karachi, Mr Danishmand, said: ' Looking at the past graduating classes and their remarkable achievements and contributions, one can say with confidence that the individual members of the classes graduating today will go forth and make noteworthy contributions to the business and industry in Pakistan and in many countries abroad. 493 degrees have been awarded today. For the first time 4-year bachelor's program students have graduated.

"You would be pleased to know that the market has received them well; all the young men and women of this class who wanted to have jobs have been given very desirable jobs at good salaries by multinationals and local companies. Several of them have been accepted by some of the finest schools in the US, Canada and U.K. Nearly a hundred of the graduating class have decided to continue for our newly designed MBA degree.

"They are about to complete the first semester in which they are working in teams as consultants and problem-solvers. We hope this newly introduced program of team work projects would be extremely beneficial and would be followed by other schools. You may know that at this time a group from a U.S based consultants is on assignment given by USAID working to prepare feasibility for setting up a Centre of Entrepreneurial Excellence at the IBA. I hope the IBA would play a pioneering role in introducing the latest and revolutionary methodologies in training young men and women eager to set up their own business. Karachi is the centre of enterprise in Pakistan.

"Our faculty has been increasingly getting involved in research and publication. Two text books on Accounting and Engineering Standards written by our faculty were published last year. We have started to publish a half-yearly refereed journal, Business Review. The first issue of the journal was well received in academic circles in Pakistan and internationally. The second issue is with printers. Our faculty members have published articles in foreign journals and are doing extensive research not only for the corporate world but for other areas also. Research papers have been presented and published covering areas such as Stock Exchange, Tax Reforms, WTO, Fiscal Reforms, globalization and privatization, poverty alleviation, corruption, education policy, Information Technology, Quality in Ready-made Garments and knit wear etc. We organized an International conference which was attended by ministers, businessmen, bankers, researchers from SAARC countries.

"We are planning to repeat the ICICT Conference early next year and we are also planning an international conference on Integrating Financial Markets of the SAARC region for early next year. Recently one of our faculty members was nominated to the National Textile Strategy Committee constituted by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. We also have the honor of having been asked to prepare curriculum for Masters and certificate courses by the HEC on Entrepreneurship which have been approved after consultation with foreign experts without any amendment.

"IBA students have also been gaining international recognition. Recently two of our students were selected to participate in a Finance Seminar organized by P&G at Geneva. The IBA is the only University/Institute in the world who had two students participating. In 2005, over 10,000 students from more than 90 countries competed in the Microsoft sponsored Imagine Cup. Out of these more than 100 students were from Pakistan from 12 universities. Only one team from Pakistan reached the semi-finals in this prestigious global competition and that was from the IBA.

"This year also the IBA team won Microsoft India's Imagine Cup Contest in Pakistan but unfortunately the team could not go to India for not getting the visa on time. Four hundred senior officers of CBR from grade 18-21 have been trained in six different areas at the IBA over the last year. The second batch of CBR probationers is getting through the MBA (Tax Management) program. The Government has notified that ranking of these officers would depend considerably on their performance at the IBA.

"The IBA in collaboration with Citigroup is organizing a two week joint training session on "Risk Management & Control" in December this year in which students from other business schools have also been invited to attend. Eliot held that the most important element of any university and its life and the future of a country are the students and their quality shown in their intellectual capacity, diligence as well as in their moral and ethical standards. I believe in this particular area IBA today is better than at any time in its history.

"This year we increased the number of students accepted for admission from 490 to 542- an increase of 10.6 % over last year. Over the last four years strength of our full-time faculty has grown from 42 to 79. Last year we inducted 17 new faculties. Four of our faculty who had gone abroad for higher studies returned last year. We expect that by the next convocation you would see major development work going around here which will be in the form of offices, hostels, classrooms, research labs and seminars and other facilities. There is an agreed principle in management that a rating mayor may not tell you much about what is being rated. It must tell you about those who do the rating and I believe this applies to the ratings of the universities published recently. Business schools ratings around the world give great weight to the views of the employers about the product of the university i.e. the graduates reflected in their hiring and the salaries which they are given. After all the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I hope the whole process of ranking of universities will be thoroughly reassessed and reviewed."

"US Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Ryan C. Crocker speaking at American Business Council meeting on July 3, this year spoke in extremely laudatory terms about the IBA and its work and mentioned that the IBA was one of the two institutions of our country which were run on merit; the other, he said, was Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.

"To His Excellency, the Governor of Sindh and Patron of the IBA Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad Khan I will say on behalf of everybody working and studying at the IBA and myself: Sir, your unflinching support of the principle of merit at the IBA has given us the strength to do our work as it should be done everywhere. Without your support and trust it could not have been done. To the students who are graduating now I say: I have seen young men and women in great universities in the world and in many outstanding business organizations. You have what it takes to succeed in life. You can work and cooperate with or compete against the best in the world. The opportunities and the need are great.

"There is a serious shortage of quality manpower as Pakistan's economy keeps advancing at a fast pace. What you will make of yourself will depend on not just what you have learnt and how diligent you are but also the kind of moral and ethical person you are because that is the essential requirement of being trusted and without being trusted there is neither future nor enjoyment. Knowledge is changing very fast and I ask you to remember that there is nothing wrong with saying, 'I do not know. But I will find out.' Best of luck. God bless you."