Punjab Student Convention: Universities to ink MoUs with industries: Maqbool
* University of Health Sciences seeks five acres of Punjab University land
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE: The Punjab Governor Lt Gen (r) Khalid Maqbool will sign Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between government universities and various industries at the provincial student convention 2004. President General Pervez Musharraf will preside over the convention.
Mr Maqbool, who is also the chancellor of Punjab public universities, talked to Daily Times after a meeting held at Governor House to review development projects of new universities. He said the convention would be held on December 26 and 27.
Mr Maqbool said that he had reviewed the development and progress of public universities and had asked the universities to improve their usage of development funds as per the directions of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Mr Maqbool said that a ‘silent’ internal audit of the universities had also been initiated. During the meeting, he assured assistance to universities in getting more land to expand their campuses and open sub campuses. He was responding to the University of Health Sciences (UHS) vice chancellor on a written request to take over five acres from Punjab University.
Representatives and vice chancellors (VCs) of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF), University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi, University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Bahauddin Zikrya University, Multan, Government College University, Faisalabad, UHS, University of Gujrat, and Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi participated in the meeting.
Varsity-industry MoUs: Mr Maqbool said that MoUs signing was part of a project to link universities with private industries as per federal government directions. He said these MoUs would include collaboration, assistance, funding and internship programmes for students.
He said that he would make sure of some varsities’ MoUs with the road construction industry (civil engineering), media industry and banking and corporate sector. He added that he would present a detailed report about higher education to the president during the convention. He said that a final meeting with industrial representatives would be held on December 24.
Varsities’ ‘silent’ audit: Mr Maqbool said that a ‘silent’ internal audit of all public universities had been initiated. He said, under the audit performa sent to all universities, the government had asked abut progress made by the varsities.
He said there was a deadline to submit this performa back to the Chancellor Secretariat. He added that, from next year, he would start inspecting all public universities, their development projects and academic progress.
Development projects review: Mr Maqbool said that he had asked all universities to speed up their development projects as per HEC direction.
HEC authorities had told Mr Maqbool that the universities were not properly utilising the development funds. He said that he had conveyed the HEC’s message to all universities and would hold meetings to review their progress. He asked the universities to become choosy about getting land because this issue could become critical.
Land demands: During the meeting, Mr Maqbool focused upon the land acquisition issue of universities for campuses and sub campuses. The UHS VC told Mr Maqbool that he wanted to acquire five acres of land (out of 2,000 unutilised land) for UHS. He asked Mr Maqbool to allot the land to UHS. He said the PU was only using the land for gardening and reminded him of an already tendered request.
Governor’s concerns: During the meeting, Mr Maqbool expressed concern on issues of quality, universities’ sub campuses, research projects and skill enhancement courses, sports facilities, student counselling centres, faculty development and training, foreign faculty hiring, industrial incubators in major universities, new courses and certificates, enhancing enrolment, planning and development cells for all campuses, computerisation of all universities, making computers available for all teachers, improving research facilities, realistic fee structure and increasing PhD students in universities.