Apr 26 - May 2, 2010

There is no question over the fact that quality of faculty determines the quality of an educational institution.

In Pakistani educational institutions, there are many questions on research work. In fact, our universities are lacking in this field mainly due to resource constraints.

The major causes for the low-standard college education in Pakistan include the lack of qualified faculty and faculty development, outdated methods of teaching, lack of sufficient funds and facilities and quality improvement mechanisms besides lacking research work. However, positive sign is that our educationists are realizing the importance of research work and taking steps in this direction. However, attracting and maintaining qualified and enthusiastic faculty is a great challenge for many educational institutions.

Faculty teachers in Pakistan face many challenges due to the lack of sufficient funds at universities and colleges. Most of them are underpaid, especially in the public sector, and suffer inadequate and limited exposure to the very fields in which they are involved.

In its current state, Pakistan's educational system does not provide a foundation to help students develop their capacity to explore, analyze and be critical about situations and be creative in solutions.

Whilst the Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) continues to be a first class teaching institution, producing exceptional graduates, it still struggles to obtain an internationally renowned status as a research based institution. In an attempt to encourage research by faculty, the LUMS is considering a novel idea of offering rewards - the precise nature is yet to be finalized. A track tenure system has also been introduced to address this shortfall, and in the hope that good faculty can be encouraged to join. Recruitment and retention of academics remains a problem, in a country where lack of security remains a chief concern, coupled with little or no regard for law and order.

Apart from many other initiatives, Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has also taken a lead in public sector institutions by taking practical steps for promotion of research culture in the university.

The Punjab University has so far distributed 140 latest model of HP laptop computers worth Rs3 million free of cost to Professors and Assistant Professors in order to promote research culture in the university.

Speaking at the distribution ceremony of forth installment of 35 laptop computers among professors and associate professors Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran said the laptop facility will greatly benefit the varsity scholars as a portable on-line resource to easily access internet and libraries across the globe, whether they are in office, at home or even during travel. He said under a phased program, laptops would also be made available to all the remaining varsity faculty members for carrying out research work. The recipients, speaking on the occasion, expressed their heart felt thanks and paid their tributes to the Vice-Chancellor for his services to accelerate research activities on the campus.

Those who were given latest version of HP laptops include: Director Institute of Communication Studies Prof Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz, Principal College of Art and Design Prof Rahat Naveed Masud, Director IER Prof Dr Mumtaz Akhtar, Dr Abdullah Khan Durrani of ICET, Dr M Saeed Shahid of IER, Dr Muhammad Abdul Qadir of Chemistry, Dr Rizwan Akram Rana, Dr Abid Hussain Chaudhry and Dr Rafaqat Ali Akbar from IER, Dr Nazir Ahmad of Geology, Dr Farzand Masih of Archaeology, Dr Hafeez ur Rehman of Economics, Dr Muhammad Saeed Khawar of Punjabi, Dr Anjum Nasim Sabri of MMG, Dr Najam ur Rashid of Persian, Dr Syed Alim Ahmad and Dr Shahid Jamil Sameeni of Geology, Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Salik of Islamic Studies, Dr Muhammad Ashraf Qureshi of Kashmiryat, Dr Zahid Javed of Social Work, Dr M Shafiq Ahmad and Dar Zafar Iqbal of Zoology, Dr Miss Nabila Rehman of Punjabi, Dr M Kamran of Urdu, Dr Malik Zawwar Hussain and Dr Muhammad Aslam Malik of Mathematics, Dr Zakia Latif of MMG, Dr Mahmood Saleem of ICET, Dr M Iqbal Shahid of Persian, Dr Sikandar Sultan of MMG, Dr Farah Knawal of Chemistry and Dr Mahmood-ul-Hassan of Physics Department.

Prof Dr. Munawar Sultana Mirza, Vice-Chancellor, University of Education told PAGE that established in 2002, the University of Education has now emerged as a reputable seat of learning in the most competitive environment. She said, "The University aims at nation building through producing dynamic leaders and practitioners with competence, commitment and integrity. We offer twenty six degree programs ranging from Bachelor to PhD in disciplines of high need. The University of Education is pioneer in developing and introducing a number of concurrent degree programs in Teacher Education in conformity with the indigenous needs and international patterns and standards as we believe that quality Teacher Education is the only shortcut to quality education, a pre-requisite for survival in the globalised community of nations. Such programs also open a wide range of job opportunities and upward academic avenues for the graduates."

According to her, the University of Education is well aware of its responsibility of knowledge generation. Recently, the Centre for Educational Research and Assessment (CERA) has been established to nurture, foster and sustain research culture in the University. CERA supports, mentors and coordinates the institutional, faculty and graduate students' research pursuits. Regular guidance and monitoring of the students by the well qualified and dedicated faculty is an outstanding feature of University of Education which distinguishes it from other academic institutions. Other than classrooms, meaningful student-teacher interaction continues during practical, teaching practice, internship, theses and co-curricular activities.

The youth of toady who are the nation builders of tomorrow, have plenty of opportunities to participate in sports and other co-curricular activities for the innovative and creative expression blended with tolerance and other social values.

Prof Dr Munawar Sultana Mirza further said, "University of Education is well linked with the educational institutions in the public and private sector, where students put their learning into practice with reflective minds and information sharing process. The University also works closely with all the stakeholders and partners for regular feedback and updating of its programs and curricula."

She said that institutions in public sector are performing well despite resource constraints. She did not agree with the notion that students of public institutions are not matching with the students of private institutions.