LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani on Friday announced a grant of Rs50 million for an endowment fund for Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Chair at the Women Institute of Leadership and Learning (WILL), the Lahore College for Women University. The announcement was made at the 9th convocation of the university.
Earlier, degrees were conferred on 885 graduates.
Gillani began his speech with a reference to Thursday’s court proceedings of the contempt of court case against him in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. “I spent yesterday among black coats. Today, I am among black robes,” the prime minister said.
Gillani also announced a Rs10 million grant for the establishment of Support Centre for Disabled Students at the LCWU. He said he would direct the Ministry of Information Technology to provide information and communication technology facilities to the university.
He said the restoration of Sir Ganga Ram Building at the university would be included in the next Annual Development Programme of the federal government once a PC-1 was prepared and approved by the competent authority. He was responding to a request by LCWU Vice Chancellor Sabiha Mansoor about the renovation of the building and the establishment of a central library in it.
The prime minister expressed surprise on learning that no gold medal had been awarded in the discipline of journalism.
He reminisced about his days as a journalism student at the Punjab University and said that he had interviewed several foreigners studying at the LCWU for his thesis on foreign students’ perceptions of English press in Lahore.
He praised the university administration for addition of several new disciplines and establishment of new departments at the university. He pointed out energy, water, food, healthcare and environment as some fields in which, he said, research should be carried out by top universities in the country.
Gillani quoted Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s statement: “No nation can rise to the heights of glory unless their women are side by side with men,” and said that his government was committed to Benazir Bhutto’s vision of gender equality.
In her address of welcome, Vice Chancellor Dr Sabiha Mansoor said that academic rolls of honour were awarded to 100 graduates, gold medals to 36, special medals to 12 and co-curricular rolls of honour to nine. She said the institute was given university status in September 2002. From then onwards, she said, nine faculty members had been sent for doctoral studies to Australia, Germany, United Kingdom and Malaysia. She said three scholars had successfully completed PhDs from China, UK and the Punjab University under the Higher Education Commission’s faculty development programme. Another 18 faculty members are enrolled in PhD programmes in Pakistan, she added.
She said the university’s publications in recognised journals have risen from 191 in 2010 to 223 in 2011. She said four new institutes were set up at the university last year –WILL, the Institute of Arts and Visual Design, Institute of Education and Institute of Languages and Culture.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2012.