Kinnaird College for Women has played a pivotal role in nurturing independent thinking among its graduates who have risen to key positions in their professions, speakers at the inaugural session of a two-day conference on Issues and Challenges in Education said on Friday.
The conference is being organised as part of the college’s centenary celebrations.
Former principal Mira Phailbus said KC had always aimed at empowering women through education. She said independent thinking was very important, especially for women, and that was what the college always promoted.
Dr Meenakshi Gopinath from the Lady Sri Ram College in New Delhi has flown in to attend the conference. Expressing her thoughts on the Pak-India relationships, she said protestants and catholics had been fighting for many years in Ireland which didn’t benefit any of them. They, she said, then started looking for what they shared and eventually started respecting their differences. This, she said, could also happen in case of India and Pakistan.
She regretted that hostility in the history of the two nations was carried forward through curricula. She urged for the differences to be played down and shared culture and values highlighted. Congratulating KC on its centenary, she said, “Kinnaird College and Lady Sri Ram College share a dream of partnership to develop a new paradigm of learning to transcend borders between the two countries.”
Eric Massey, vice chairman of KC Board of Governors, spoke about the different national education policies in Pakistan. He said eight education policies had been introduced by successive regimes. He said that the Higher Education Commission had contributed a lot in. India, he said, had also adopted the HEC model and so had Bangladesh.
Principal Dr Rukhsana David said that education touched everyone personally and professionally. She said, “As we consider the issues and challenges facing our country, education, more so than anything else, is at once both at the heart of every problem and a part of every solution.”
Dr Richard Weyers of the British Council, Dr Tariq Rehman of Beaconhouse National University, Ameena Saiyid of Oxford University Press, Dr Amin Rehmani of Aga Khan University, Dr Waseem Anwar of Forman Christian College University, Dr Nosheen Khan of Government College University, Dr Shahid Siddiqui of Lahore School of Economics, Neelam Hussain of Simorgh, Lahore College for Women University VC Dr Sabiha Mansoor and Saima Asghar Riaz of Lahore College University were also present.
The conference has been convened to provide the opportunity to address issues and challenges faced by the country’s education sector. Three thematic areas will be explored— issues and challenges in curriculum development, testing and examination system; teacher training and faculty development programmes; and fee structures in higher education.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2013.