VCs Forum: Scholars from Muslim states converge on capital to discuss higher education issues

Educationists and scholars from Muslim countries to discuss challenges and cooperation at a two-day forum.

Educationists and scholars from Muslim countries to discuss challenges and cooperation at a two-day forum.

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, ISLAMABAD, 23rd SEPTEMBER 2013: Scholars, educationists, academics and heads of higher learning institutes from Muslim states are converging on the federal capital to discuss the challenges being faced by them in higher education and explore ways to promote mutual cooperation and research.

The two-day forum titled “Universities in the Islamic World: Challenges of Internationalisation” will be inaugurated by State Minster for Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education Balighur Rehman on Monday. The event will also be attended by Minister for Higher Education of Sudan and the head of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO).

The forum is being organised by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Ministry of Science and Technology and ), ISESCO.

Over 200 VCs of universities and higher education institutes of Muslim states will participate in the event. Last year’s event saw more than 300 participants.

“The forum aims to help establish linkages and promote networking among the participating universities,” said CIIT Rector Dr SM Junaid Zaidi, while talking to The Express Tribune.

Last year, universities of various countries, including Pakistan’s, signed numerous memorandums of understanding and other policy documents which will be reviewed in this meeting. Furthermore, it is hoped that interaction between institution will help pool up scholarships, said one of the organisers.

“To facilitate resource-sharing among institutions of higher learning in member countries, the forum would promote the exchange of students and faculty among participating universities and help establish virtual centers of excellence,” Zaidi added.

HEC Executive Director Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said CIIT has invested immensely in higher education and by conducting such a conference a soft image of the country will be presented to the outside world. “Besides, it will be a platform of opportunity for universities for exploring research opportunities and gain scholarships for their respective universities,” he remarked.

Former university professor and analyst, Pervez Hoodbhoy, seemed unoptimistic about the forum and said nothing could be achieved from such congregations as Muslim countries themselves need help and guidance.

The forum kicks off at 9am at Serena Hotel. The plenary talk will be undertaken by former HEC chairperson Prof Attaur Rahman and will be followed by a general discussion and later a networking lunch.

The forum’s general assembly session will be held from 2pm to 3:45pm hours and the technical sessions will be held in three halls from 4pm to 5pm.

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