With over 1,200 graduation walks at the Quaid-i-Azam University’s (QAU) convocation on Thursday, the mood ranged from celebratory to sombre. While some were overjoyed at graduating, others were well aware of the challenges that lie ahead.
Winner of the Vice-Chancellor Award in the Psychology Department Khadija Mazhar, who scored the most marks in her department, made a poignant case for why she is not over the moon about winning the award. “While I consider this an achievement and am honoured, the state in which our university and universities across Pakistan are [is a cause for no] celebration,” she said.
QAU students themselves suffer from the disparity public and private schooling. “Students with private school background automatically gain an unfair advantage and can excel while those from public background are left behind,” said the private school-educated graduate, who hopes to become a teacher someday. “Unless the primary education is unified, higher education will continue to be problematic and unfair.”
The security outside the building was high but inside the Jinnah Convention Centre, the students were not worried about the ongoing protest of their fellow students. A total of 887 Masters, 281 MPhil and 115 PhDs graduated.
Saima Ambreen, who won the Presidential Award by scoring the highest marks in Social Sciences, conceded that there were problems with the education system. However, she added that her teachers tried their best to watch out for them. “Quaid-i-Azam University is a great environment to excel in and the teachers are very encouraging. I can see the pride on all of my teachers’ faces,” said Ambreen.
QAU VC Masoom Yasinzai in his welcome address said almost 75% of the faculty holds doctorate degrees. Furthermore, they are actively engaged in high quality teaching and research and contribute articles to prestigious journals of international repute.
Senate Chairman Nayyar Bukhari, the chief guest, said, “Education is not only a means for socio-economic development of any nation but also plays a key role in reforming the individual and collective behaviour of people.” He added that in order to achieve sustainable growth, universities must become hubs of knowledge and creators of innovative ideas.
The graduating class was optimistic about Bukhari’s vision. After his address, Shahab an MSc graduate, said, “Our university has started taking its first steps towards becoming the kind of knowledge hub that [Bukhari] was talking about.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.
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