Higher education and Pakistan | By Dr Fareed Hussainee

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Higher education and Pakistan

UNIVERSITY education was initiated in Middle Ages in Europe. As man crossed the threshold of graduate studies and the continent kept on progress, the new avenues of knowledge were searched.

Consequently, the studia generali (Medieval Schools) were turned into mega centres for higher studies which were named as Universities in Europe.

Asia was already the centre of knowledge and the Asians maintained the higher institutions where the people, from all over the world, used to come for learning.

But in Asia, universities did exist in ancient times. Unfortunately, with the decline of empires in Asia, the learning took reverse gear in the universities and Europe, at the same time, emerged as a source of learning in the times of Renaissance Movement (14th Century).

Next five hundred years, Asia faced catastrophic situation due to internal wars, invasions, colonialism and dictatorships etc.

In the 19th Century, Europe took lead in the field of research. The students from different developing countries started moving toward Europe for modern research.

In the United States of America, Morill Act was passed in 1862 that advocated the establishment of cultural and mechanical schools in each state of the country along with land-grant colleges i.e. Massachursetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornal University, the State University of Illionois and Wisconsin etc played pivotal role in modern learning.

Britain established universities in its colonies. The British Raj established Punjab University of Lahore (1882), Banaras University (1916), Rabindranath Tagore Visca Bharti (1921) and Ali Garh Muslim University.

After partition in 1947, there were limited centres for higher studies in Pakistan. On account of the issues shaped by shift of population from the other side and financial crisis, the education sector could not be boosted up it should have been in the early days.

With the passage of time, the different governments took steps to promote the higher studies in Pakistan along with the establishment of new universities in different parts of the country.

Our country started focusing on research-based education in the beginning of 21 st century when Higher Education Commission was established in 2002. H.E.C not only promoted research programs but also provided opportunities for poor/common students.

Many new universities under public and private sectors were established due to the environment created by this body.

University of Chakwal is the dignified milestone in the history of Northern Punjab (Rawalpindi Division) and specially for Chakwal.

It was established in January 2020. The credit goes to the incumbent Minister for Higher Education Department, Govt of Punjab, Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz.

He got early education from Aitcheson Collage Lahore and graduated from University of Florida.

He is very well aware about the importance of modern higher education. Multi discipline faculties (i.e., Engineering, Arts, Natural Science, Computer Science etc) show the vision of Yasir Humayun.

Worthy Vice Chancellor Professor Dr.Muhammad Bilal Khan did his Ms.from Arizona University USA and got Ph.D degree from Imperial College London UK.

He was awarded with President Medal for Technology for the services he rendered in National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Islamabad.

Every journey has to face difficulties, hurdles and problems up to the destination. University of Chakwal’s journey is going on.

Soon, it will find its place not only amongst the top universities of the country but of the world too.

—The writer is contributing columnist.