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February 25, 2015

Pakistani, foreign universities ink 70 MoUs to explore avenues of mutual cooperation


February 25, 2015

Over 70 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed among various national and international universities at the two-day Vice Chancellors Forum (VC Forum) on ‘Universities in the Islamic World: Facing Global Challenges’ which concluded here on Tuesday.
These MoUs will open new avenues of mutual cooperation, networking and understanding among national and international universities.
The forum was jointly organised by the Comsats Institute of Information Technology(CIIT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Trainings, Higher Education Commission, Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Morocco, Federation of Universities of the Islamic World, Morocco, and the Jang Media Group.
The VC Forum was the congregation of vice chancellors, rectors, presidents of universities and higher education institutions of the Islamic world. Heads of universities of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Malaysia, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Yemen, Gambia, Jordan and other Muslim universities participated in the forum. On concluding day of the forum, multiple panel discussions were also held on different disciplines covering wide range of issues and challenges being faced by universities in the Islamic world.
The prominent topics included Fostering Links with Community, Sustainable Higher Education Systems, Sharing of Knowledge and Fostering Collaboration, Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Landscape: Role of University Leadership, Higher Education: New Visions for Future, Role of Higher Education in Economic Revitalization, Mapping International Research Collaboration-Future Trends, Equality of Access and Role of Women in Higher Education and in Society, and Partnering with Industry.
While stressing on the need for community services in

universities, Islamic University Uganda Vice Rector Professor Dr. Abdul Kaziba Mpaata said, “We need to incorporate community to make meaningful research.” “We all share social responsibility and the problems we face are the same. If we effectively engage community then we can substantially eradicate poverty from our community,” he added.
Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Salim ur Rehman, while explaining the importance of community work for university students, said that terms like house job and internship relate with community work. “Universities need to extend their boundaries and infuse it with community. Last year, the Sarhad University started projects on small scale, but it received tremendous appreciation by the community. Our students worked in education, health and agriculture sectors. It is heartening to see that 52% of the universities in Pakistan engage with the community. There is tremendous contribution of universities and its students whenever there is a natural disaster in the country. People trust the academia and students that their funds would reach the deserving people. They support and help them and extend their outreach,” he said.
While talking about the social responsibility of a university, Inonu University Turkey Rector Professor Cemil Celik said that their university is the first university in Turkey to start such vast projects. “Inonu University wants to make a difference in the lives of the community. This university is located in Malatya which contributes to the 85% production of dried apricots. Last year, the university has planted more than 500,000 saplings around the university. The students grow vegetables on their own. There are Children’s University, Centre for Women and a rescue team in the university. The Solar Energy Centre installed at the university produces 5.3MW electricity which is one-third of energy required by the university,” he said.
The panellists on the second day of VC Forum were: Professor Dr Hashim Ali Mohamed Salem, vice chancellor of the Sudan University of Science and Technology; Professor Dr Syed Khawaja Alqama, vice chancellor of the Bahauddin Zakariya University, Pakistan; Professor Khaleda Ekram, vice chancellor of the Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Bangladesh; Dr Kamalain K. Shaath, president of the University of Gaza, Palestine; Professor Dr. Javed Ashraf, vice chancellor of the Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan; Professor Dr Md Abdu Sattar, vice chancellor of the Jessore University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh, and many others.
The forum concluded with the resolution recommending maintaining a regular liaison among institutions of higher learning and facilitating scholarships for students. It also proposed establishment of virtual centres of excellence as well as promoting exchange of students and faculty among the participating institutions of higher learning.
An exhibition was also held on the sidelines of the forum which provided an excellent opportunity to universities-higher education institutions to showcase their respective areas of strength.
It was third VC Forum in the federal capital which was participated by vice chancellors, rectors, presidents of the universities in the Islamic world. The earlier two VC Forums were organised one each in June 2012 and September 2013 in Islamabad. The next forum will be held in August 2016 in Islamabad.

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