VCs discuss challenges faced by Islamic universities (Dawn (Pakistan))

As many as 200 vice chancellors of Islamic countries began their twoday forum here on Monday.
On the first day, they discussed various challenges being faced by Muslim universities.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, speaking at the inaugural ceremony, said VCs were real corps commanders in any country.
“Future battles will not be fought in battlegrounds, rather the brain power will supersede the muscle power,” the minister said and added that world was witnessing unprecedented changes.
“We are in an age of paradigm shift.” He, however, said Muslim scholars had given up the tradition of questioning.
“In our classrooms, teachers keep students quiet while in our offices, officers keep their subordinate staff quiet,” he said and added that there was a need to encourage questioning for creativity.
The minister also said it was time to put their knowledge into action.
Earlier, Dr Aminah Obaid Ramadha Al Hijri, Deputy Director General, Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), said the forum had provided a platform to VCs, rectors and presidents of universities to foster collaboration and build linkages.
“Fostering links of higher education with society, strengthening the role of higher education in economic revitalisation, improving entrepreneurship in education and partnering with industry are important areas which need our attention,” she said.
Talking about global challenges in higher education, she said: “We need leaders to take up firm visionary position, thoughtful thinkers who can identify the changing demand, dare to take risk. It has become crucially important to make our universities more effective.”
The HEC chairman, Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, said education alone was the solution to problems being confronted by Muslim countries.
He said the platform provided an opportunity to all the participants to share their success stories with each other and take joint initiatives for the development of universities.
“There is no dearth of talent in the Islamic countries, the only thing we need is to provide a proper environment and facilities to our academics and researchers,” he said.
Mohammad Naeem Khan, assistant secretary general Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), said higher education was the key to socioeconomic change in any country.
Dr Junaid Zaidi, rector Comsats Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), requested the Pakistani VCs to offer scholarships to foreign students from this platform.
He got a befitting response from the VCs. The countries whose VCs are attending the forum included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Malaysia, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Yemen, Gambia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast, and a few other Muslim Countries.