For the first time in its over 150 years history, the Government College University (GCU) is all set to open its admissions at intermediate level for girl students from 2021.
“I have got a lot of feedback that girls also want to become Ravians. Even my own daughters regret not being able to become a Ravian as after Intermediate they will move to medical or engineering universities…so I have decided to start work towards allowing girl students to take admissions at the GCU in FA/FSc from 2021,” GCU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi said in a talk with Dawn.
Prof Zaidi believes that the GCU will have to make separate merit for boys and girls for intermediate considering that the girls may otherwise take away most of the seats. “We are pursuing gender parity here and this step will also help the GC University secure even more top positions in the Intermediate Board exams,” he said and added that the varsity had also sought funds from Punjab’s Planning and Development department for establishing a new hostel for girls. “For admission in the intermediate, girls will come from other parts of the country so we need to first have our own hostel for them.”
Prof Zaidi, who assumed the office about eight months ago, has also declared that the GCU would make sure that not a single admission on sports this year is made in violation of merit. “There were complaints in the past that sports remained an area exploited for out of merit admissions… this is something I will have to plug out.”
To cope with Covid-19 testing time, the GCU has switched on to online teaching like other educational institutions and for the purpose it trained its faculty and revised courses to be online ready. “Like other institutions’ students, we too faced the issue of Internet connectivity issue during online classes. We asked the Higher Education Commission for help and guidance. We are grateful that the HEC Islamabad has given us additional funds and almost 10,000-software licensed of Microsoft 365, free of charge, in connection with our online classes this semester,” the VC said.
“We have introduced Digital Learning Environmental Council that approves outlines of the online courses and help resolve issues with the technology and setting examinations. Actually, moving forward, we are now systematically heading towards a blended system including online courses whether Covid-19 persists or not. To meet the pace of international standards of education, and enhance access of higher education to masses, we will have to go online and use this (Corona) crisis as an opportunity,” he said.
Prof Zaidi, who did his PhD in Economics from Oxford University, the UK, and served in multiple high-ranked universities across the world, further said that the GC University had been looking for Rs 1.15bn funding already approved by the HEC for its new campus at Kala Shah Kaku. “Although the new campus was inaugurated officially in the previous years, we could not shift a single department over there because a lot of additional work related to structure and facilities has yet to be carried out. If we get timely funds we will be able to shift many departments to the new campus. This year, in September 2020, we will shift Fine Arts and Physical Education departments, in the first phase,” the VC said and added that in the next year this campus would probably be fully functional.
The new VC is concerned generally about the quality of teaching and for the purpose he believes that the teachers of the varsity should be properly incentivised, with salary and infrastructure. “We need to train our teachers and help them prepare good curricula if we have to produce better graduates,” Prof Zaidi said. He went on to say that he is hopeful that the GCU will be able to generate funds from the Ravians to build a new GCU Business School which will match international standards of the top schools in the world. He wishes to rely on and draw from the support of the academics as well as the GCU Syndicate members in uplifting this great seat of excellence in Pakistan. — PAK DESTINY