KARACHI: The University of Karachi (KU) awarded degrees to 1,594 students, including 177 gold medals, 123 PhDs and 33 MPhils, in its 19th Annual Convocation held on Saturday. Gold medallist Durre Shahwar was awarded the medal named after the martyrs of Army Public School.
The ceremony, which was held at KU’s Valika Cricket Ground, was presided over by the Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, who is also the KU Chancellor. Around 130 of the 177 gold medals were acquired by girls.
Imran Ismail, addressing the ceremony, said, “People dream of graduating from KU as it is one of the best universities of Pakistan. Most people who reach great reputable posts have graduated from KU.” Ismail encouraged the students by saying that their future was glorious and they shouldn’t be disheartened or lose hope if they don’t get job immediately. “Work hard and believe in the Almighty. Dreams with great vision are not revolting; it’s the characteristic of living nations.”
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Ismail further talked about the efforts of the government in the education sector. He vowed to build the Karachi University Hospital under a public private partnership. “I have also talked about this with Prime Minister Imran Khan.” He said that being the Chancellor he was aware of the fact that the university that was established 50 years ago had now transformed into a vast academic city. “I’ll try my best to highlight the growing needs of the university to the federal and provincial governments and recommend them to provide resources according to its increasing needs,” Ismail said.
Addressing the teachers, governor hoped every teacher makes efforts to bring KU in the list of world’s best universities. He said that the teachers possessed a dual role in the development and prosperity of the country as this was the age of research, science and technologies, nations grow on its basis.
The KU Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan, speaking at the occasion, said that universities played a distinct role in the development of societies. “I believe that new stars of economic and social change will emerge from KU with its students being the representatives of education, research and models for Eastern values that will brighten Pakistan’s image in the whole world,” said Khan. He further added that KU was playing its role in recreating the society more effectively than ever. He believed that the time was not far when the KU would make its standing in the international ranking and would become a reason for pride for Pakistan.
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Khan highlighted some of the major difficulties that KU has been facing; one of them being the water bills that have become a burden on the budget. “KU had to pay around Rs10.16 million on fixed bills of water monthly due to the absence of metres. After taking over as vice chancellor, I issued the orders for the instalment of metres and now the varsity saves up to Rs75m annually,” he said.
Khan further added that the grant KU received was issued in accordance with the number of enrolled students. Due to the enrolment cards not being issued in time, the grant was deducted, he said. “But now we have made the whole system online so the students get enrolment and identity cards on the very first day and the correct number of enrolled students is sent to the Higher Education Commission on time.”
Khan said, “We have ended the culture of appointments on political and influential basis. Vacancies from grade 1 to 22 are being advertised in the newspaper.” He said that he had gotten the approval to advertise for these vacancies from the syndicate which meant that every appointment would be done through advertisements only.
Talking about the promotion of research activities, he said that the grant had also been reserved to promote such academic activities. The fund had improved the research facilities as projects of constructing new blocks for the Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Science, Department of Visual Studies, Centre for Digital Forensic Science and Technology, gymnasium, girls’ hostel to accommodate 200 girls, National Centre for Proteomics’ Auditorium and renovation of Department of Biotechnology are underway. In addition to this, arrangement of 10 new buses for students and improvement of main communication network would also be done through this fund, assured Khan.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2018.