LAHORE - Eminent Physicist Prof. Dr Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman, appointed as third Vice Chancellor of the Government College University Lahore in July last year, eyes a slot for GCU in the ranking of world best universities, as he strongly believes that the Government College Lahore was established, by the British rulers in 1864 on the pattern of Cambridge and Oxford, with the aim of making it one of the best world-class centres of higher learning, but was later not given the due financial resources and importance.

“We are now engaging our students and faculty members in rigorous intellectual and research activities instead of just relying on traditional teaching methods for which the university and examinations’ rules are also rationalised as per the world’s best standards,” said Prof Khaleeq in an interview with The Nation.

He said that they were also striving to work in three additional strategic directions: institutional collaboration, international links and open-learning to increase flexibility and interaction. “We aim to extend the University’s reach and its capacity for research pursuits. This, we believe, is the best means of promoting creativity and generating innovative solutions to problems,” he added.

Prof Khaleeq said GCU had also established Directorate of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation at that would identify and locate research funds and provide assistance to academic staff for preparing and sending research proposals to national and international funding agencies.

The VC said that when he joined GCU there were only eight full Professors in the university, but now, the university had advertised professors’ posts to attract qualified faculty with market-based incentives.

The VC said that they had also decided in principle to affiliate other colleges with GCU to share its academic excellence, particularly in reference with curriculum design, teaching, assessment strategies and research, with a wide spectrum of students and researchers. “An Affiliation Committee has been formed to formulate rules and regulations for the affiliation of other educational institutions with the University. The university’s Academic Council and Syndicate have also approved the constitution of the committee,” he added.

Talking about GCU new campus, the VC said they were planning varsity’s new campus at around 400 acres of land at Kala Shah Kaku. The GCU new campus, he said, would introduce cutting-edge technologies and modern disciplines that would meet the needs of the modern world in next 50 years. He said that they were perusing the governments, both federal and provincial, to grant extensive funds for the GCU new campus as it was the state’s responsibility to invest in the development of human resources.

He strongly objected to the activities of political organisations in universities in the name student groups, saying a model system of apolitical student unions was full of life at the GCU which needed to be adopted in other colleges as well. He elaborated that 49 students’ societies such as Dramatics Club, Debating Society, Majlis-e-Iqbal, Welfare Society, Nazir Ahmad Music Society (NAMS), Library Society, Quaid-e-Azam Political Science Society, Punjabi Majlis, Dunnicliff Chemical Society and Media Watch were playing a vital role in personality development of Ravians by engaging them in intellectual, cultural, co-curricular and sports activities.

He said that he had doubled the financial budget of all these societies and now there was hardly a day in GCU when there was no lecture, debates, seminar, conference, drama or literary sitting.

To a question whether a person from even lower middle class can afford higher education in Pakistan, the VC said that the situation was really alarming, but in his capacity as Vice Chancellor, he was making all-out efforts to keep GCU an affordable university, besides he had slashed the university fee by 35pc, which he hoped, provided a great relief to the students and their parents. He said that he had also given scholarships of Rs 14 million to deserving students from GCU funds. He also said that GCU Endowment Fund Trust was also giving scholarships to deserving students.

Expressing pleasure at receiving gold medal from Pakistan Academy of Sciences, Prof Khaleeq said, “His passion for science and research is still as strong as it was when joined the university service 37 years back.”

He said that he would continue his research work despite the pressure of administrative work as the Vice Chancellor of GC University.