Allama Iqbal Open University - the second largest in the world
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Established only recently (1985), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) boasts three million students worldwide, with two million of them based domestically in India and the rest spread across another 35 countries. The school has 175 academic programs and a network of 59 regional centers in India and 52 such centers abroad. It is far and away the largest university in the world by enrollment, with Allama Iqbal Open University in Pakistan's 1.8 million students a distant second.
The Nizam Sahib, I think I know
Friday, October 21, 2011
By Prof. Dr.I. R. Durrani
Prof Dr Nizamuddin is a man of iron clad discipline, inexhaustible patience, colossal ideas and insatiable illusions
His devotion is to his word. His power is of seduction. He goes to seek out problems where they are. The impetus of inspiration is very much part of his style. Invincible patience. Iron clad discipline . The force of his imagination stretches him to the unforeseen.
The essence of his own thinking could lie in the certainty that in undertaking academic work, it is fundamental to be concerned about individuals. That could explain his absolute confidence in direct contact. He has a language for each occasion and a distinct means of persuasion according to his interlocutors. He knows how to put himself; at the level of each one , and possesses a vast and varied knowledge that allows him to move with facility in any media. One thing is definite: he is where he is, how he is and with whom he is. Prof Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin, our [UOG] Vice Chancellor is there to win. His attitude in the face of defeat , even in the most minimal actions of every day life , would seem to obey private logic; he does not even admit it, and does not have a minute’s peace until he succeeds in inverting the terms and converting it into victory.
His supreme aide is his memory and he uses it , to the point of abuse, to sustain speeches or private conversation with overwhelming reasoning and arithmetical operations, of an incredible rapidity. He requires incessant information , well masticated and digested. Responses have to be exact , given that he is capable of discovering the most minimal contradiction in casual phrase. He is a voracious reader of papers and faces alike.
He does not lose any occasion to inform himself . His vision of the future integrated with an autonomous community is capable of moving destinies. Nizam Sahib knows Pakistan inside out, although he has more affinity with the US, where he has profitably spent most of his professional career; he knows the Pakistani people, their power structures , the secondary intentions of the governments; all this has helped him to handle the incessant torment of blockade.
He has never refused to answer any question, however, provocative it might be , nor has he ever lost his patience. In terms of those who are economical with the truth , in order not to give him any more concerns than those he already has: he knows it. But gravest are the truths concealed to cover up deficiencies , because alongside the enormous achievements that sustain the office of the Vice Chancellor, there is a colossal bureaucratic incompetence , affecting daily life , and particular domestic happiness.
When he talks with the students and ordinary workers in the University, his conversation regains expressiveness and crude frankness of genuine affection. They call him Nizam Sahib . They address him informally , they argue with him, they claim him. It is then that one discovers the unusual human being that the reflection of his own image does not let us see. This is the Nizam Sahib, that I believe I know. A man of austere habits and insatiable illusions , with an old fashioned formal education of cautious words and subdued tones, and incapable of conceiving any idea that is not colossal. The University of Gujrat is fortunate that the benediction in the form of the presence of Nizam Sahib will continue for a further four years. One can only wonder , what miracles will be wrought in the time to come!
Author: Dr. I. R. Durrani is Director, faculty of Basic Sciences in University of Gujrat.
Remembering the Apple CEO Steve Jobs (1955 -2011)
Thursday, October 6, 2011
"That's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."
Professor Dr Nizamuddin - a man of vision
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Established in 2004, the University of Gujrat is situated at a scenic spot away from the main city. Free from all kinds of pollution and spread over nearly 1,000 kanals, the university campus is a sight to behold.
The modern architecture with all kinds of facilities, including artistically-designed purpose-built classrooms, a digital library, conference halls, multi-storied buildings for the faculties of arts and sciences, is very appealing.
The university caters to the needs of peripheral areas like Gujranwala, Sialkot and Narowal. Presently, there are nearly 10,000 students studying here of which nearly 70 per cent are female. The university’s 25 departments boast of the services of 260 teachers of which some 65 per cent comprise the fair sex.
Bringing with him excellent academic expertise, the university’s present vice chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin took over the charge in 2006 and quickly upgraded the place as per the requirements of any high-quality institution. Dr Nizamuddin did his Masters in Sociology from the University of Chicago and followed it with a PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He served the United Nations for 20 years and held senior positions in Jordan, Egypt and Ethopia. Later he also served as Director for the Asia and Pacific Region of UNFPA at the UN headquarters in New York but left his highly-beneficial job at the United Nations to return to his country to serve his people.
“Not only do we want to provide knowledge to our students but practical skills too. Theoretical knowledge alone thus is not enough. IT training is a must for every student in our university even if he is a student of Islamic Studies,” Dr Nizamuddin states.
The university under his aegis has crossed many milestones. Be it Sufism or the 1857 War of Independence, the university has organised conferences on many burning topics in order to conduct dialogues with leading luminaries of the country.
A medical college has also just started functioning here for which the university has a hired a highly-skilled faculty, too.
Dr Nizamuddin throws light on his newly-constructed medical college: “It’s not an easy job to start a medical college but the government has been very supportive and the chief minister too has taken a keen interest in the project. I intend setting up a medical college where medical research will be given special emphasis. There is hardly any medical research done in our medical colleges these days. We don’t maintain any record as regards any disease in our hospitals, too. I want to introduce a ‘Health System
Management’ degree programme to fill this void.
“We also want to train para medical staff. Nurses are known to run entire hospitals out there in the West but the burden falls on doctors in our country. Similarly, many technical jobs are done by doctors for which they don’t carry much expertise. We will train technical staff too,” says Dr Nizamuddin.
Two hospitals — the Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Hospital and Social Security Hospital Gujrat — will be coming under the university medical college. There are nearly 60 other colleges too that come under the University of Gujrat. Dr Nizamuddin elaborates: “Just like the universities should be under the HEC, I feel that the constituent colleges under any university must be under the control of its vice chancellor.
“The state of affairs at these colleges is not up to the mark. They may be awarding their students our university degrees but they are under the direct control of the provincial government. This dichotomy should end. If the colleges came under our control, we will make sure they give maximum output,” he makes his point.
Dr Nizamuddin is also of the view that we can not attain excellence by neglecting social sciences. Progress, in his opinion, does not mean progress in science only. Rather he is for equal emphasis on social sciences too. Recently, he conducted a survey which dealt with the problems faced by our old people in villages. His students collected nearly 4,000 samples for this survey. It shows how much attention he pays to society and its changing trends.
The number of PhD-holder teachers at present is not very high. Dr Nizamuddin plans to expand the number of PhD-holder academics in his university. He proudly says that the university’s School of Art and
Design is turning out to be a high-quality centre.
“Our School of Art And Design is headed by Fawad Khwaja, a man of high calibre. We are working with our local industry. We are designing products for them. So our art section is related to the local industry. It has latest modern labs and other technical facilities.”
Dr Nizamuddin has plenty of ambitious plans for his university which also include the establishment of a centre of history, culture and Pakistan Studies along with a department of social policy and welfare. He is a man of vision and it can be stated without any doubt that the university under him will cross many milestones.