LAHORE A NEW HUB OF EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES

The academic development at Lahore seems to be flourishing at its climax.

BY PROF MUHAMMAD IQBAL ANJUM
Feb 27 - Mar 05, 2006

Education plays pivotal role in shaping the destiny of a nation and is an essential ingredient of the parameter of civilization of a nation. Education and technology work as a ladder towards attaining the status of excellence for a nation.

The centuries old Lahore city, which is also a cultural center of Pakistan, is now emerging as educational hub of the country. GC University (former GC) being its oldest institution is the central focus of educational lovers. Lahore is also growing in the number of universities and quality of education. A variety of universities offer diverse courses in different disciplines. It is not only the matter of number but also the nature of quality of education that these universities are imparting to the students.

Compared with Karachi where only five public sector universities are operative and Rawalpindi where no private sector university has yet been established, the academic development at Lahore seems to be flourishing at its climax. There are almost 7,380 schools, 42 degree colleges for both boys and girls and 24 universities in public and private sectors are operating in the provincial metropolis imparting education to the students. Those who aspire to become nuclear technology experts for peaceful purposes acquire best of knowledge at GC University Lahore as it is the only institution with the Centre for Applied Studies in Physics (CASP) has the most modern nuclear accelerator. World known scientist Dr. Samara Mubarrak Mand has been a student and a teacher over here. The only Nobel Laureate scientist of Pakistan in Physics, Dr. Abdus Salam was also associated with the same centre.

GC University was established in 1864 and is considered "Mother of all Universities in Pakistan". From 1864 upto 2001, it remained a unique college in its historical perspective. In 1993, Dr. Khalid Aftab was assigned the responsibility of its Principal. He believed, as per his vision, that "institutions must grow with the passage of time as status quo leads to stagnation".

Driven by his vision, he transformed Government College into a world class university in this region of South-Asia. After a tiresome struggle of one decade (1993-2003), this transformational phase of GC to GCU has faced various governments with different educational policies.

The Vice Chancellor of GCU recognizes that the most successful universities of the 21st century will be more efficient, more flexible and more intensively interactive than the universities of the past. GCU has prepared its academic plans with reference to three guiding principles: efficiency, relevance and quality. GC University Lahore has been linked with 15-feoreign universities including Massachusetts University of USA and Strathclyde University of Glasgow, UK for collaborative research work and academic development. GCU is trying to create future through internationally recognised research, scholarship and learning within a distinctive environment. "We are committed to the communication of knowledge and learning, through an environment in which leading academic staff teach and engage in dissemination of knowledge to a broader community. This institutions is focusing increasingly on 'learner-centered' approach to education and the fostering of research activities and we are committed to promoting diversity and equality of opportunity for all staff and students," he said. The Vice-Chancellor GCU believe that the recruitment and development of the staff and students of the highest quality, recognizing that people are our primary source and ensure activities to be carried out ethically and to the highest standards. The VC believed that GCU would secure GCU's place in the top South Asian universities by 2010.

GC University's aim is to produce research of international excellence in all subjects while building the strengths necessary to be recognized as leaders in selected areas and to enhance contribution to the economic, social, cultural and educational life of Pakistan.

GC University Lahore has maintained wonderful traditions of academic excellence, research, promotion of new ideas and, above all, respect for others' beliefs and views. "These traditions have sustained us even in difficult times and it is these traditions that have been the guiding spirit of our endeavours to maintain GCU as an unique institution," the Vice-Chancellor maintained. He said that GCU in 141 years of its life, has been able to maintain its pre-eminence because it is guided by a great motto - Courage to Know - which lmmanuel Kant called the motto of the Age of Enlightenment. Kant interpreted enlightenment as "courage to think without the direction of another.

All these years, GCU graduates were enlightened through non-judgmental education. These traditions helped the Ravians to take the high road to progress which also greatly benefited society. We believe even today GC University has to be a role model for the other educational institutions, he added.