Speakers call for empowering VCs, extending co-curricular activities in educational institutes to end violence

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Speakers at a conference here on Monday stressed the need to empower Vice Chancellors of the universities and enhancing co-curricular activities for students in the educational institutions of the country to discourage culture of violence and extremism. The Vice Chancellors’ Conference on the “Role of Universities in Advancing National Narrative to Counter Violence, Extremism and Terrorism” was organized by Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University (IIU) here today.
The Conference, attended by over 80 university heads from across the country, took into consideration challenges faced by Pakistani universities owing to intolerant behaviour and radicalisation, and aimed to contribute in the debate on the reconstruction of Pakistani society in accordance with teachings of Islam and the Constitution of Pakistan.
Specific objectives of the conference included searching a legal and theological framework for saving campuses from onslaught of militant ideologies, proposing measures for effectiveness of universities’ administration in inculcation of national narrative, encouraging awareness and appreciation for peaceful coexistence, preparing faculty and students to strive for a non-violent culture and receptive to new ideas and cognizant of Islamic principles, and disputing the morally bankrupt ideologies of the extremists and militants who are trying to target Pakistani youth.
Minister for Human Rights, Mumtaz Ahmed Tarar was chief guest in the closing ceremony. He stressed the need to engage students in healthy curricular and co-curricular activities. He said it was imperative to study our respective holy books in our own language so as to completely understand the divine message. He expressed his confidence that deep study would help eradicate the malice of terrorism.
Minister for Communication, Abdul Kareem on the occasion appreciated the effort to initiate the dialogue to help create better communication at all levels.
Addressing the Vice Chancellors, Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed related previous efforts of HEC regarding sensitising university leadership about prevalent issue of violence, extremism and terrorism in higher education institutions, wherein a broad spectrum of realities and hurdles were put forth, and the Vice Chancellors and Rectors were encouraged to institute sustainable programmes and processes to address possible threats of radicalisation.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed stressed that Pakistan’s armed forces are safeguarding our geographical borders but being educationists it is our foremost duty to secure country’s ideological borders. He emphasised that our youth is being neglected at all levels ranging from their homes to educational institutions and it is responsibility of teachers and parents to address their issues and challenges with utmost care and engage them in productive activities.
Talking to audience during plenary session, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed quoted Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “Education is a matter of life and death for Pakistan” to stress the importance of education in the country.He congratulated organisers of the conference for gathering educational leaders on a topic of greater national interest. He assured that recommendations of the conference will be keenly deliberated and will help in future legislation.—APP

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