LAHORE  - Punjab Governor Malik Rafique Rajwana said that women must use their education for the development of the country and welfare of its common people.

He was addressing the 14th convocation of Government College University yesterday. Besides MPhil/MS, 24 of total 48 PhD (doctor of philosophy) degrees were conferred upon the female students.

Addressing the awardees, the governor believed that Pakistan is now reemerging as a peaceful state under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif courtesy to the successful Zarb-e-Azab and Karachi Operation for which the country’s armed forces and law enforcement agencies had rendered commendable sacrifices.

He said it was a matter great pride for him to attend the GCU convocation as the Chancellor because his son, who was a barrister now, had also studied there. He tasked the vice chancellor and his team to take all possible step to restore the traditional glory of this prestigious institution which had nurtured people like Dr Allama Iqbal and Noble Laureate Dr Abdus Salam.

In his convocation report, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah said that the country didn’t need an education system anymore that was just capable of producing well trained professionals who could fit into the huge machine of our national economy. Rather, he said, the education system must be geared towards grooming leaders (not followers) who had the spirit of inquiry, integrity, equity and humaneness.

He, in his report, detailed the challenges being faced by GCU which included shortage of senior faculty. He said when he joined as VC few months ago, he found no dean, seven of eight research chairs were vacant, Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Science had been virtually closed and there were adhoc appointments on all statutory posts.

In 2014, the year GCU completed 150 years, its ranking plummeted and could not find a place among the top 10 universities of the country. In the last few years, the students’ strength has almost been doubled. It stood at around 6000 in the year 2011 and it has increased to the level of 12,000 by 2015.

“It would have been a source of satisfaction only if the capacity to impart quality education had been increased correspondingly. Infrastructural provisions and qualified faculty were not added to in this time period,” the Vice Chancellor said.

Prof Shah highlighted that they had started academic audit of all programmes so that all gaps could filled and an effective monitoring system was also put in place.

Later, the governor and VC presented Shahbaz Sharif Gold Medal for Best Urdu Declamation Speaker to Khaqan Arshad, Prof GD Sondhi Medal for overall excellent performance to Syed Zohaib Zaffar Ali Shah, Mohammad Idrees Medal for Best Debater to Adnan Farooq, Daud Ilyas Medal for Outstanding Intermediate Student to Muhammad Kafeel Ashraf, Dr. Saida Karamat Medal for Best Woman Graduate to Aneeqa Tahir, Waleed Iqbal Medal for Best English Parliamentary Speaker to Awais Ahmad Malik while Thespian Medal for excellent performance in Dramatics was conferred upon Yousra Anwar.

“Bills for our social protection are no doubt good initiatives, but ultimately it is education that practically empowers a woman,” said the female PhD holders while talking to media at the convocation, in which total 1,005 of 1970 degrees would be conferred upon the female students in more than 30 disciplines.

In the first of the three scheduled sessions of the convocation, as many 664 MPhil/MS and 48 PhD degrees were awarded to the students besides the seven prestigious co-curricular medals.

The University would honour its position holders for the BA/BSc (Honours) programmes today (Saturday) at the second session of the conference. The total 1,970 degrees, to be awarded at the three sessions of convocation, also included 996 degrees of BA/BSc (Hons) and 226 of MA/MSc, and 22 co-curricular and seven sports rolls of honours.