Islamia College University’s (ICU) newly appointed acting vice chancellor (VC) has outlined an ambitious uplift programme for the institution.
Dr Noor Jehan, ICU’s acting VC, is Pakistan’s first female doctorate holder in the field of environmental and medical geology. She was previously serving as the chairperson of the department of environmental sciences at the University of Peshawar (UoP).
In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, she discussed her plans for the institution and the challenges it currently faces.
“I feel that many departments exist, but there are no experts, libraries and scientific laboratories,” said Dr Jehan. She maintained her first priority would be to appoint experts in various fields as teachers.
“People in other countries are more developed compared to us. Students here are unaware of modern technology and scientific research, the reasons being the lack of subject specialists and modern equipment in our institutions.”
Dr Jehan said since her appointment to the post, she has tried her best to meet national and international donor organisations in order to sign memorandums of understanding (MoU) in the field of science and technology.
“I will also try to hold a meeting with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to table ICU’s issues.” She denied reports that she had been appointed through ‘favouritism’.
“I was eligible for the post and fulfilled all the requirements,” she said. “Yes, I have a connection with the Awami National Party (ANP) but that does not mean that the party completed my PhD and conducted research for me.”
Regarding the land row between ICU and UoP, she intended to request government intervention and hoped it would resolve the issue amicably. She planned on allocating the UoP-claimed land for a girls’ hostel. At the same time, she stressed equal opportunities would be available to male and female students with merit playing the sole decisive role.
Meanwhile, regarding the blow the university’s image suffered following VC Ajmal Khan’s kidnapping, she vowed to restore ICU to its original prestige.
“We have requested the government to expedite its efforts for the safe return of the kidnapped VC so that he may resume his responsibilities in the office,” Dr Jehan explained.
ICU has been operating without a regular VC since Ajmal Khan was kidnapped in September 2010.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2012.