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Pakistan using nuclear energy positively: Dr. Aslam

UMT RECTOR SAYS DR. HASAN MURAD’S PLANS OF MAKING UMT A GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED INSTITUTION ARE IN GRADUAL MOTION

Interview By Shabbir Sarwar and Fatima Sajjad

University of Management and Technology Rector Dr. Muhammad Aslam contributed in building up the nuclear arsenal of the country. However, he emphasized more on the positive aspects of nuclear sciences. “Nuclear Medical Centers in Pakistan are a proof that we are utilizing this energy for the betterment of the country. The doctors in these medical centers have graduated from PIEAS as it also offers medicine, nuclear medicine and radiation oncology.” The Educationist conducted a detailed interview of Dr. Aslam.

THE EDUCATIONIST: Please do tell us about your early life and education.

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: My schooling was from Muslim High school, Tariq Abad, Faisalabad. After that I came to Lahore and enrolled in to F.C College for my F.Sc Pre-Engineering. After completing my Bachelors degree, I went to Islamabad for Maters in Physics. After that I got a fellowship from Pakistan Tarbi Community Commission in M.S in Nuclear Technology. After completing my fellowship I was offered to join the University’s Faculty. I joined Centre for Nuclear Studies in 1976. In 1984 I did my PhD from University of Purdue, US and came back in Pakistan to serve my country.

THE EDUCATIONIST: PIEAS, formerly known as Centre for Nuclear Studies changed its name. Why so?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: : I think that the political scenario of Pakistan in 1980’s was skeptical and unstable. Where a country was availing benefits of nuclear technology, it also had to poise for an acceptable diplomatic demeanor. That is why it was changed to the name of Pakistan Institute for Engineering and Applied Sciences.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What are your professional achievements other than contributing towards the excellence of PIEAS and as the Rector UMT?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: I worked as a scientist and a teacher. I have been contributing in building up of the nuclear arsenal of the country. I have also emphasized more on the positive aspects of nuclear sciences. For example, Nuclear Medical Centers in Pakistan are a proof that we are utilizing this energy for the betterment of the country. The doctors in these medical centers have been graduated from PIEAS as it also offers medicine,nuclear medicine and radiation oncology.

THE EDUCATIONIST: Dr Hassan Sohaib Murad, UMT’s founding father died in a road accident. How this loss caused greater challenge towards fulfilling your role as a Rector?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: Obviously, his sudden demise was a shock and above all, loss to all of us here. His visions and plans of making the university a globally recognized institution are in gradual motion. But we believe that we would be able to do it INSHALLAH. The strive for quality education, excellent teaching and promoting an innovative culture will always be a great and a consistent challenge but with hard work and belief, we will tackle it and ultimately, achieve our goals INSHALLAH .

purpose of education is the acquisition of knowledge to solve problems. these problems can be of any kind: social, political, economic, emotional and mental. Let’s use education for a better world, today and tomorrow

THE EDUCATIONIST: What are the key statistics of UMT?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: Total strength of students is 14,000, larger portion is undergraduates who are 70% while postgraduates are 30% and more than 300 people are pursuing their PhDs in UMT.

THE EDUCATIONIST: How many faculty members does UMT have?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: We have nearly 600 faculty members and around 122 are PhD scholars among them.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What potential reforms do you want to bring in UMT?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM : Well mostly our focus is on teaching and research. Quality teaching and in depth research is what makes any institution globally recognized and that is what I aim to do. It’s very nice to see that UMT has been included in top 500 Asian universities ranking according to the QS Asian university rankings and INSHALLAH we plan to take it on the top of the heap.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What is the number of publications (research journals) from the year 2017?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: The research publications, which have been published in 2017 in authentic journals, are more than 150.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What is the number of research journals that UMT publishes?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: Currently there are seven to eight journals but we plan to double them. In this case, the school of business and economics and the school of social sciences have contributed a lot. These schools have produced much quality research over the years. Our plan is to develop other schools of UMT also like engineering and Law and to promote the culture of research above all.

THE EDUCATIONIST: UMT claims to be trust fund whereas the fee it charges is high by all standards. Why is that so?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: As UMT is a private sector university, we don’t have any other funding except the fees. That is why it has such a stable infrastructure and facilities that we provide to our students. We invest all earnings on the university’s development. Co-curricular activities are the backbone of any institution and UMT hosts all the co-curricular activities with great zeal and zest. Fall semester is always a great time to indulge in different outdoor activities as the weather is pleasant most of the time and students get a chance to enjoy and relax themselves.

THE EDUCATIONIST: The bulk of undergraduate increases every year in Pakistan and you know that it is difficult to attain more PhDs if you have less post graduates. How are you tackling this situation?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: Well I would say that we have become more selective I our admission criteria now. We are more stringent and we have introduced some tests which the students must pass to get an admission. This is in order to get potential students so that they can contribute to the university with quality research.

THE EDUCATIONIST: University of Management and Technology has a professional name-tag but the industrial sector blames the higher education not producing the applied nature of research. How UMT is contributing in this regards?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: Here at UMT there is a lot of effort going on so the students can interact at their best with the industry. UMT has quite a few centers like Centre for Entrepreneurship and Office for Research Innovation and Commercialization. These offices are meant to work out the best in shining out the students’ capabilities and make them stand out with reference to professionalism and applied nature of the industry. Also, we are lucky that Lahore is a bountiful industrial state and we aim to make it even better and booming with our students’ raw talents.

THE EDUCATIONIST: How UMT is contributing to the social problems of Pakistan according to your view?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: I think UMT realizes the social problems and their impacts quite seriously. In this regard, there have been seven to eight conferences last year. All of them were subjected to the root causes of different social problems and what could be done by the youth to eradicate them. Other than that UMT also has a in institute of Psychology where mental health of the people is brought under focus and it is being realized that how crucial it is for a stable life. Gradually, I believe that we will contribute more because eventually it a responsibility of every citizen to stand up for their rights.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What message would you like to give the students and faculty everywhere through the platform of The Educationist?

DR. MUHAMMAD ASLAM: I want to convey that the purpose of education is the acquisition of knowledge to solve problems. These problems can be of any kind: social, political, economic, emotional and mental. Let’s use education for a better world, today and tomorrow.

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