High hopes and the prospects of a brighter future shone on the faces of the latest batch of students of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (Szabist) as it welcomed 1,200 new students to its fold on its orientation day at the Karachi Expo Centre on Saturday.
The event kicked off with a presentation about the institute, which aimed to familiarise the students with the staff and faculty. The presentation was followed by a welcome speech by the institute’s president, Dr Saqib Rizavi.
“I am confident that, in the near future, you will realise the wisdom and effectiveness of your decision to join Szabist to pursue your next academic degree,” said Rizavi, in his address.
“At each step in your course duration, you will be able to feel the difference in your intellectual abilities, marketable skills, personality and confidence level,” he continued. “You have to be open to new ideas and brave enough to try them - each one of you will have a different university experience as you will all be separately discovering whatever that you enjoy”.
For Dr Rizavi, these factors enable Szabist students to stand out from others and achieve their dreams. He added that Szabist, in the small history of its existence, had become the best choice for students and managed to establish its identity as one of the prime institutes of Pakistan, as well as, the United Arab Emirates. “Since its inception in 1995, the number of campuses has grown to five - one each in Karachi, Islamabad, Larkana, Hyderabad and Dubai,” he said. “As a result of diversification in our academic portfolio, the number of students during the last three years has increased by 52 per cent - from 4,972 to 7,260 - who are being taught by 126 permanent faculty members.”
“The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has ranked Szabist as one of the best business schools of Pakistan in their recent quality-based ranking,” he said. “Moreover, the Chartered Inspection and Evaluation Committee (CIEC) in their latest evaluation rated the institution as ‘outstanding’ by providing six stars to all our programmes while Szabist’s Mechatronics department has been rated as world class.”
Provincial education minister, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, who was the chief guest at the event, said that Szabist was a product of the well wishes and dreams of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Its establishment signifies that intentions make institutions, he said.
“After becoming the education minister, I thought I could have some clout but when I requested the Szabist president to grant a few admissions at my request, he simply refused to do so,” he quipped. “I hope the institution will ascend the stairs of success by keeping up the same regard for merit.”
The institution’s academics vice-president, Dr Amanat Ali Jalbani, told the newcomers that they were among the top 21 per cent of the total candidates who had applied for admissions to Szabist this year. “You are fortunate because, in Pakistan, hardly six per cent of the population has access to university-level education.”
It wasn’t long before iftar time that the event dissolved into a session of icebreakers where freshmen, while moving to the dining hall, were given a chance to introduce themselves to each other.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2013.
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