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Shafqat rejects reports of 50pc cut in higher education budget.

LAHORE -- The Government College University (GCU) on Saturday conferred the doctorate of philosophy (PhD) degree upon a visually-impaired person, Muhammad Arif Mughal, in Urdu Literature.

Pakistan Navy's psychologist, Commander Fayyaz Ahmed Anjum, also received his PhD degree in psychology.

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood was chief guest at the first session of the university's 17th convocation where he along with Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah awarded degrees and rolls of honour to PhD and MPhil scholars.

Besides medals and rolls of honour, a total of 1,828 degrees would be awarded this year at university's two-day convocation, which include 23 PhD, 354 MS/M.Phil, 290 MA/MSc degrees and 1161 BA/BSc degrees.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that Pakistan was passing through difficult economic times and there were obviously financial constraints, so they needed to look at the innovative solutions. However, the minister negated media reports that there were going to be 50 percent cut in the federal higher education budget. He clarified that Rs65 billion were allocated to the Higher Education Commission last year, but for next year they had demanded Rs103 billion. 'Allocating any amount in between would in no way mean any cut in the budget,' he said.

The federal minister said they were moving towards a system where those who could afford must pay fully for the higher education while deserving students would be granted scholarships.

Shafqat Mahmood said that he felt pride in coming to preside over the convocation of his alma mater where not only he studied but also taught for a couple of years. He congratulated the vice chancellor and his team for improving university's international ranking and boosting research and co-curricular activities.

In his convocation address, the GC vice chancellor said that some more graduates, including 13 PhD students, couldn't receive their degrees because the Higher Education Department had delayed the extension of GCU's Controller of Examinations. He said that terms of reference for the appointment to senior positions forwarded to HED three years ago after approval by the GCU Syndicate were still pending approval.

However, the vice chancellor shared that the university faculty had been strengthened during the last three years. He said that GCU recruited experienced and qualified faculty by convening a record number of 17 selection boards in which 11 professors, 5 distinguished professors, 3 professors on various chairs, 27 associate professors, 34 assistant professors and 2 foreign faculty professors had been appointed.

He also highlighted that GCU faculty published 596 research articles in national and international impact factor research journals and supervised 1828 research dissertations penned down by their students. 'My faculty has been engaged in carrying out 66 research projects worth Rs126.506 million during the last academic year. Also, GCU scientists have registered 10 patents and filed another 5, which will be registered in a couple of years,' the VC said.

Earlier, the minister and vice chancellor presented 'Prof GD Sondhi Medal' for overall excellent performance to Maryam Ijaz, 'Mohammad Idrees Medal' for Best Debater to Muhammad Abdullah, 'Daud Ilyas Medal' for outstanding intermediate student to Muhammad Faizan, 'Dr Saida Karamat Medal' for Best Woman Graduate to Hafiza Qurat-Ul-Ain Fatimah, 'Waleed Iqbal Medal' for Best English Parliamentary Speaker to Mohiba Ahmad and 'Thespian Medal' for excellent performance in Dramatics to Mariam Hassan Naqvi. Justice Nasira Javid Iqbal would chair the second session of the convocation today (Sunday) at 10:30 pm in which position holders of BA/BSc (Hons) would be awarded degrees and medals.
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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:May 5, 2019
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