By Rahib Raza
LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan lags behind India only because of a lack of education facilities here, but expressed confidence that the nation’s young people would tackle this issue.
Kinnaird students celebrate at the 74th convocation in the college amphitheatre on Tuesday.
“I don’t have any doubts that you will become the leaders, that you will show your expertise to the world and that we will confidently hand over our duties to you,” Shairf said in his speech at the 74th convocation of Kinnaird College for Women University at its Perin Boga Amphitheatre on Tuesday night.
The chief minister lamented that Pakistan was living on “leftovers” – a reference to the schools and universities set up by the British and by missionaries, which account for most of the country’s top institutions.
He said he had initiated the Danish schools programme in the province to set up institutes that would cater to children from all backgrounds. “The Danish schools will provide the best primary and basic education to the children who have never seen the inside of an institute before,” he said.
Some 500 post-graduate students, 473 graduate students, 19 academic gold medallists, 15 co-curricular gold medallists, 68 students on the principal’s honour list, and 34 from the 2006-2010 session and 30 from the 2005-2009 session with a CGPA of 3.80 or above were honoured at the convocation.
Dr Alexander John Malik, the bishop of Lahore and chairman of the KCWU Board of Governors, presided over the ceremony. He congratulated the students and told them they should look to their futures with enthusiasm and commitment.
He said KCWU had shown it was the best college for girls. “That’s why parents turn to KCWU to find their daughters-in-law and organisations look here for future leaders, PhDs and researchers,” he said.
Principal Rukhsana David in her speech tried to motivate the fresh graduates to make their mark in Pakistan. She also spoke about the new developments at the institute. The day ended with a formal dinner with parents, faculty members and teachers.
Farooq Altaf, the law secretary; Fakir Aijazuddin, the principal of Aitchison College; Haseeb Athar, the education secretary; Ahad Cheema, the district coordination officer; Mujahid Kamran, the vice chancellor of Punjab University; Marcia Grant, the vice rector of FC College; and former KCWU principal Mira Phailbus also attended the convocation.
Heavy security and low capacity meant many students and their parents were unable to find seats for the convocation at Perin Boga Amphitheatre and so had to sit on staircases and walls.
The ceremony began two hours late as visitors were vetted at the entrance by security men. The corridors leading to the entrance were packed. The doors were closed once the chief minister arrived, leaving many people stranded outside. “The timing was poor. Many people didn’t get the chance to join in. They should have told us to be at the venue three hours early,” said Saba Alam, a student.
The crowded venue also meant that the graduating students could not walk up to the stage to receive their degrees. Instead, their names were announced and they stood at their seats. Many students left afterwards, before the chief minister’s speech.