Pakistan’s GDP stands at $250 billion but it spends less than $5 billion on education and only 0.1 to 0.2 per cent of its GDP is spent on research and development...that is deplorable, Punjab University Vice Chancellor Mujahid Kamran said on the occasion of the PU’s 122nd convocation at Faisal Auditorium on Saturday.
Kamran said most countries spent an average of five per cent of their GDP on education, while Pakistan spent less than two per cent. Of America’s $14 trillion GDP, it spent $980 billion on education and a significant amount on research and development. Only countries that focused on creating and promoting knowledge progressed, said Kamran. “The world is a battlefield ... we must use all our resources and abilities to defend ourselves in it,” he said.
The vice chancellor said 750 verses in the Holy Quran stressed deliberation on the natural phenomena and 250 dealt with legislation. “A silent genocide of Muslims is taking place,” he said. Australian scientist and researcher Gideon Polya’s book Body Count revealed that of the 1.3 billion avoidable deaths during 1950 and 2005, 600 million had been Muslims, said Kamran.
Muslims faced a plethora of problems because of their lack of interest in knowledge creation, he said.
He warned that India, Israel and the USA were trying to destabilise Pakistan. “Power is essential for survival in this world and knowledge is the source of all power,” the vice chancellor said. No country can hope to become powerful unless its people display strength of character and honesty in daily affairs, he said.
“Pakistan’s only collective achievement has been the making of the atomic bomb,” said Kamran. This was only possible due to the honest collective efforts of politicians, the army, the bureaucracy and the extraordinary efforts of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, he said. Even though Pakistan does not have a lot of scientists, “we have still managed to produce some of the best missiles...proving that we can achieve anything if we are determined,” he said.
Kamran said, “Some of us are not aware of their own talents or lack confidence in themselves...but our enemies are aware of them.”
The vice chancellor congratulated the outgoing class and encouraged the graduates to serve the country and mankind to the best of their abilities. As many as 180 doctoral candidates received their degrees this year. 390 MPhil/MS, 343 master’s, 181 undergraduate degrees and 162 medals were distributed among students. As many as 75 medals were distributed among undergraduate students and 87 medals were distributed among master’s students.
Examinations Controller Prof Dr Liaqat Ali, Registrar Prof Dr Khan Ross Masood, Faculty of Science Dean Khawaja Haris Rashid, Acting Treasurer Rao Sharif, heads of various departments and students and their parents were present on the occasion.
Senator Badar receives his PhD
Pakistan Peoples Party’s Jahangir Badar received his PhD degree in Pakistan studies. He is South Asia’s first serving parliamentarian to complete a PhD. His doctoral thesis was on Political Leadership in Pakistan: A Case Study of Benazir Bhutto.
Ayesha Khalid, a blind student, was awarded the Dr Muhammad Arif gold medal for taking the first position among disabled students in the bachelor’s examination 2012.
Two man and wife couples received their PhD degrees at the convocation on Saturday. Abdur Razzaq and Sobia Ilyas, Irshadur Rehman and Saadia Butt collected their doctoral degrees.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2013.
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