KARACHI: Removal of structural barriers and de-coupling students from their financial background is necessary to reach out to talent available in Pakistan, said Wasif Rizvi, the co-founder of Habib University.
A session titled ‘Building Education Institution of Excellence’ at the ninth Karachi Literature Festival on Saturday was peppered with questions on why inclusion in education is important for the achievement of excellence.
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Rizvi held the view that excellence of educational institutions does not depend on a meritorious faculty, rather it depends on excellent students coming to the institution.
Educationist Sabahat Rafiq, who serves on the President’s Council of United Religions Initiative, defined an excellent student as one who is capable of critical thinking and encompasses a problem-solving approach.
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“There is a dire need to shift focus from rote learning to deep learning in order to achieve excellence through educational institutions in Pakistan,” said Rafiq. Reiterating her view, Wasif emphasised on the need to work towards betterment of education within the available means. He upheld the belief that incorporating a foreign educational model in Pakistani society will not do any good.
In order to create equitable participation of students at educational institutions, University of Central Asia Board Chairperson Shams Kassim Lakha said, “Prioritisation of merit and quality assurance is necessary for achievement of excellence in educational institutions.”
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Rizvi added, “The fundamental function of an institution is to create leadership. If one is reining some form of uniformity through which you’re bringing in the excellence then one must create leaders who are invested in their roots.”
Former Institute of Business Administration dean Dr Ishrat Husain contended that relying on the “state to ensure the achievement of excellence is of no benefit, as civil society, the community and the private sector should all work together provided that they take care of the disadvantaged section of society”.
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Lakha said, “Relying on putting together good students at good institutions won’t solve the problem because there are many exceptional minds sitting in the deprived backgrounds.”
Entrepreneur Amin Hashwani, the moderator of session, ended the session on the note that the “youth will have to come forward, utilise their expertise sincerely and invest themselves in the country for its betterment.”