INTERVIEW: PROF. DR. KHAWAJA AMJAD SAEED
Principal, Hailey College of Banking & Finance, University of the Punjab, Lahore
Sep 17 - 23, 2007
Q.1 Share with us the current progress of your university and its contribution towards higher education.
The University of the Punjab was set up in 1882. Some Universities, in the then British Sub-Continent of India, were established earlier than 1882. However, the University of the Punjab is the oldest teaching University in the sub-continent. The Universities set up earlier than 1882 (e.g. Madras now called Chennai), Bombay, Calcutta (now called Kolkata) were started as affiliating Universities and later became teaching Universities. At present our university is serving the market driven needs at home and abroad. Currently there are 25,000 students on its roll, nearly 800 Faculty Members on its teaching strength, around 6,000 administrative, technical and office staff on its payroll, have 13 Faculties, and 10 Constituent Colleges. It offers various market driven disciplines through its 68 Departments. It has rapidly growing programs such as M. Phil and Ph.D. All stakeholders are benefiting from the noble services which the University is offering.
Q. 2. What is the key factor behind producing potential graduates?
University of the Punjab in general and its various Departments, Constituent Colleges etc. in particular are producing graduates and scholars as a positive response to market driven forces in the area of Engineering, Commerce, Law, Management Sciences, Education, Life Sciences, Natural Sciences, Computer Sciences, Oriental Studies, Languages, Pharmacy, Art and Design and several other disciplines. The recently started disciplines namely, Computer Sciences, M.B.A, in Banking & Finance and Insurance & Risk Management, Statistical & Actuarial Sciences and Emerging Sciences are the most popular ones.
Q. 3. How satisfied are you with the quality of graduates that your university is producing compared to other private universities?
Public Universities are offering quality education at affordable prices, Therefore, unlike private universities, which are charging high prices, some time prohibitive, are offering education in few disciplines e.g. M.B.A., Computer Sciences and recently in Art and Design, Pharmacy and Telecommunication. Most of these private universities do not even qualify to be ranked by HEC in their first higher education ranking results announced by HEC in 2007. From time to time, due to their pressure tactics, they are getting extension for meeting criteria laid down by the Cabinet of the Government of Pakistan. It is high time that their management should be asked to set their house in order and ensure meeting of the past criteria. In future, universities allowed to be setup in the private sector be in those disciplines which are not being offered in public sector universities.
Q. 4. How do you compare your graduates with the international ones?
The Public Sector Universities are, with the kind assistance of HEC, recently announced their qualitative standards in all sectors of higher education and consequently our graduates are competing in the international field triggered by WTO. Indeed these aspects will be pushed forward with an accelerated speed due to big investment which the Government of Pakistan is making through HEC to meet the current needs and development projects of Public Sector universities. The future augurs well as most of the students sent abroad by HEC for Ph.D. will return to Pakistan, and enrich the qualitative front on higher education and will accordingly, provide a cutting edge to the graduates of our public universities in producing top class graduates to possibly outclass several competitors in the world.
Q. 5. Chalk out the role of devoted teacher for society.
A devoted teacher in higher education is expected to make a significant contribution in the following dimensions:
1. Quality transmission of knowledge.
2. Creation of new knowledge.
3. Publication of books.
4. Publication of research based articles to be published in the journals of international repute.
5. Services to society and community.
6. Guidance on national matters.
7. Guidance and counseling to students.
8. Develop students through guidelines in the following area:
Q. 6. Are you satisfied with the performance of your faculty members?
At present we have five full time members of the faculty. They are delivering goods in a befitting manner. Their teaching is excellent. The delivery is research backed and they stay up-dated, besides quality teaching. They are providing guidance and counseling including grooming students for the world of work. We have advertised 21 full time faculty positions for our college. We hope that, in due course of time, more faculty members will join us. However currently, besides above, our students are also benefiting from 30 part time faculty members who have been drawn from the Banking, Insurance and Industrial fields. They are also imparting high quality education to prepare our students for the world of work.
Q. 7. Do you have any plans to expand by opening new branches outside Lahore?
At present we are consolidating our gains in Lahore. However, in future we plan to expand our set up in Islamabad.
Q. 8. What do you suggest for HEC and Govt. to initiate for establishment of quality education system in a country?
HEC has already developed framework for establishment of quality education system in Pakistan. Guidelines in this respect are available on their website. Moreover for the ranking criteria for the universities, excellent guidelines for ensuring quality education in the country are available on their website.
Q. 9. What reforms and steps should be taken for the improvement of an education system in our country?
The following strategy is recommended:
a) Primary education: Instead of promoting literacy, we should promote functional literacy.
b) Middle/Matric level: Middle-Tech and Matric-Tech education system should be introduced in Pakistan with high emphasis on developing entrepreneurial qualities.
c) Commercial, Vocational & Technical Education: This should cover 50% teaching and 50% field work in business and industry.
d) Higher Education: This should be market driven and be pursued in existing disciplines with an innovative approach and we should also introduce new disciplines e.g. Actuarial Science Solar Energy, Internal Auditing, Insurance and R&D disciplines etc.
Q. 10. Any message you will like to convey to our youth.
The youth is expected to follow the guidelines provided by the father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and attain the highest qualitative standards with missionary zeal to serve the society and accelerate the socio-economic growth of Pakistan with a quantum jump approach to benefit masses in the total main stream with a dominating emphasis on "Inclusive Growth" Concept so that besides, rich people, the poverty stricken, down-trodden and persons belonging to low income group can be real beneficiaries.