Graduation tends to be a bittersweet moment for university students, who, after four years of a bubble-like existence, brace for a life rife with challenges and exciting prospects, as was seen at the convocation held by Comsats Institute of Sciences and Technology (CIIT) on Tuesday.
The 43rd annual convocation was held for the bright-eyed students of the university’s Wah and Attock campuses. Seated in ordered rows for the ceremony, the young men and women of Comsats radiated pride and confidence.
Valedictorian Saba Hafeez, while speaking on the occasion, said that a university degree is more than just a piece of paper but an acknowledgment of the arduous process students have gone through. It represents “the process of learning, of growing, of failure and success,” she added nostalgically.
But the loss of a safety net was evident when concerns were voiced by graduates over future employment opportunities. BBA graduate and silver medallist Sana Iqbal described the job market as tough. Iqbal plans to pursue a masters degree but would also like to gain work experience.
Usman Rasheed, another young graduate said that jobs advertised in the newspaper required a masters degree and he had therefore decided to continue his studies rather than to gain experience in what seemed like a shrinking job market.
Students were awarded degrees in the disciplines of Management Sciences, Computer Science and Computer Engineering. The highest scorers were also awarded 11 campus medals, four gold, four silver and three bronze and four institute medals, one gold, two silver and one bronze.
“It is a difficult time for us,” said Comsats Chancellor and Federal Minister of Science and Technology Changaiz Khan Jamali, adding that efforts were being made to improve academic facilities in Pakistan.
He told The Express Tribune that job creation ranks among the top two concerns for the prime minister and despite the financial crunch, top priority is being given to facilitate young graduates in getting suitable jobs. He hoped that CIIT would soon emerge as a federally chartered university which would be an important step in increasing its overall standard.
Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration Prof. Dr Syed Amjad Farid Hasnu shared that out of over 200 graduates, 60 per cent were already employed, adding that Comsats graduates are in high demand in the market.
“Youth unemployment stands at seven per cent in Pakistan, though the figure only brackets the youth between the ages of 15 to 24, which is not representative of all college graduates,” he added.
The words, “This is not the end but a new beginning” rang in the ears of the fresh graduates branded as the future architects of Pakistan.
Director Wah Campus, Dr Tayyab Akram informed the audience about scholarships being provided to intelligent and deserving students from underdeveloped and far-flung areas like the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, DI Khan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Discussing strategic plans of Wah campus, he said that CIIT Wah was focused on providing highly skilled manpower to industries in the surrounding areas.
The director told the audience that CIIT had a student population of 17000 out of which 1700 were enrolled at Wah campus. He called upon the campus faculty to focus on research and publications so as to contribute to new developments in their fields.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.