‘UK to develop education standards in Pakistan’
LAHORE: British High Commissioner Sir Hilary Nicholas Synnott on Tuesday said the UK would continue its support to develop the Pakistani educational system.
Addressing the audience at the opening ceremony of the London Metropolitan University’s (LMU) Pakistan office in Lahore, he said Pakistan and the UK were long standing friends and would remain friends. “We are interested in supporting the Pakistani education system so that it could be developed on international standards.”
The LMU is a London based university established with the merger of two old varsities. The LMU has become the largest varsity of London, serving 33,000 students, out of which more than 3,300 are foreigners. The British Council centres, he added, had been conducting A and O level examinations despite the closure of its offices after the September 11, 2002 incident. He said the UK visa scheme for Pakistanis interested in higher studies was helping many students. He said hopefully more UK varsities would open their offices in Pakistan and would help provide direct linkage to Pakistani youngsters and students. “This will help determine real intellectuality against the despairs of ignorance.”
Mr Synnott encouraged Pakistani women and girls to lead society. “The UK is really inspired by the subcontinent’s slogan that to educate a woman is to educate a family.” He said the education of a woman might not help in improving a family’s economy. However, her attitude would bring grace in her future generations. He said Pakistani girls were really hardworking. “Pakistani students are scoring top positions in the UK universities and institutions and it’s A and O level students are also first in the list of the exams at world level.” He pointed out that in higher education, 50 Chevening scholarships were being provided to Pakistan every year, while on an average 5,000 candidates applied for the scholarships.
He said the UK was providing 600 million pounds every year for the development of primary education. “And there has been a 400 percent increase in this fund during the last three years.” He said the basic objective of providing scholarships to Pakistanis was to enable them to serve in Pakistan with international standards. “We don’t train the higher education students to get their services for UK. They should come back to their homeland and serve the nation.” He said the commission was also forming an alumni association of scholarship holders. He said the standard of education would help Pakistan in good governance and poverty alleviation. The commission, Mr Synnott said, had changed the visa policy for the UK. “All information and application forms are now available at and every one can download these forms.”
Later, LMU Pakistan office Director Faisal Hassan told Daily Times that the centre would provide free information and counselling to students. He said since the last three months, they had consulted more than 183 students. “We are also providing five scholarships from the LMU, one from Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan, and one from the British Council.” He said the office would also cater the area of the United Arab Emirates. LMU Director Student Recruitment Mark Bickerton and Karachi British Council Director Charlie Walker also addressed the audience.