The Educationist Report
GILGIT: After taking charge as the first vice Chancellor of University of Baltistan (UOBS) Prof. Dr. Muhammad Naeem Khan elaborated his plan to raise university at new heights. He said, “universities make history of nations, Ali Garh University became base camp for foundation of Pakistan. After post doc and research studies in 6 countries, working on positions of registrar, Dean and Professor in Punjab University, my dream of community service has been materialized with acceptance of the offer to become the first VC of University of Baltistan.
I have a small but efficient team now that will increase with time. Universities are established in minds of the people, the whole community of Baltistan owns this university. You people, i.e. the media, the intellectuals are well connected with the communities and serving them, would be our ambassadors to communicate the message of university.
After announcement of the university in 2015, then completion and approval charter, approval of PC-1, NOC from HEC, formation of search committee and ﬁnally appointment of VC within a period of two years is the speediest progress in public sector university history of Pakistan. We hope to keep this speed of progress in future also. the search committee with the big brains of the region, processed appointment of VC timely. the GB assembly, the civil society and media also played their respective roles for which they deserve appreciation.
Regarding future road map and plans, we will try to derive our vision and set our targets from the aspirations and expectations of the community and stakeholders, the contextual needs and resources, the national and global demands of higher education and research. Our priority would be establishing non-conventional programs, departments, faculties and centers of excellence. Cultural studies, Archaeology, local languages, Tibetan and Buddhist studies, centers and faculty of national resources, centers for water resources, Glaciology, mountain agriculture, conservation of bio-diversity would be some of the proposed initiatives. similarly, we would also focus on hi-tech and virtual learning. ICT based virtual and distance education, material engineering, bioinformatics and the cross-cutting edge technologies would be our priority areas for research, innovation and degree programs. Both degree and non-degree professional courses, certificate course in technical education, skill development and capacity building would be part of our programs.
We aim to build capacity of our youth for future market particularly for CPEC related jobs and skills. in order to have quality in-take students, we plan a comprehensive teacher education/training program for the government colleges and secondary schools, so that by improving the quality of teaching learning at school/college level, we can have better candidates for degree programs whom we can prepare for national and global market needs. For all our ambitious plan we will focus on outreach and linkages at international, national and local levels. Linkages with the Himalayan Universities Consortium, with international development organizations working and/or willing to work in development of Baltistan such as the Spain based Baltistan Foundation and Basque Universities of Spain, Confucius Institute and other universities of China, NORAD, USAID, British Council, etc. At national level, we are willing to collaborate with the national universities of similar interest and scope such Punjab University, Aga Khan University, Karakoram international University, Universities of AJK, GCU Faisalabad, Arid-Agriculture University, Hazara University etc.
At provincial, regional level, we will collaborate with the department of GB government, local government, local NGOs and the civil society. the Directorate of external linkages and Outreach will soon be established. We want to promote the soft image of Pakistan through showcasing of the rich culture of Baltistan at international forums. University of Baltistan will conserve the antiquities and artifacts through a system of university managed museum and database.
We have to establish the statutory bodies of the university and get the statutes of the university approved so every activity will be carried on in a systematic legal way. this is the top priority and we will be moving in all domains simultaneously. regarding faculty development, we are going to interview for 18 positions of PhD scholarship as faculty of UOBS. MS scholarships will be announced soon. For in-campus professional development there will be seminars, workshops, symposium and conferences. there are around 3000 lectures of international professors available online, university will facilitate access to these online resources and promote online courses.