‘Educational institutions should be allowed to contribute towards policy-making’


KARACHI – Educational institutions should be given a chance to contribute towards policy-making and the time has come to catch up with the global phenomena and give top priority to education, said a visiting scholar from the US, Dr Shaheer Ahmed Khan while speaking at Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) on Sunday.
A senior Aligarhian, Dr Khan is associated with various organisations in the US to help students ambitious to get higher education in foreign countries.
He pointed out that education is the only difference between developed and undeveloped countries and the torchbearers of the Aligarh Spirit have a responsibility of promoting education without discrimination in every walk of life.
Emphasising that universities must give due importance to endowment, Dr Khan said that even heavily-funded universities in the West have endowment account.
“Through the Aligarh Education Endowment Fund, we are guiding competent and deserving students, and supporting them to get higher education in the US and European universities without any discrimination,” he said, adding that funds are provided directly to the institutions for students’ education.
He stressed the need for establishing organisations or associations to help students get higher education in foreign countries and offered his support and guidance for this cause.
Earlier, SSUET Vice-Chancellor Dr Prof Nazir Ahmed welcomed the visitor and informed that SSUET, which started with only 200 students, today has over 5,000 students on its roll.
He said that the university has been focusing on quality engineering education and making continuous efforts for improved standards.
The Aligarh Education Endowment Fund is a non-profit, secular, non-partisan, and non-political organisation serving educational needs of the underprivileged communities in India. According to its philosophy, human resources are the most important element for the strength, prosperity and well being of a people, and then education in its widest sense – scientific, technical, humanitarian – plays the most important role in creating the right type of human resource for this purpose.
Its goal is not only to turn out qualified professionals for jobs, but also to inculcate in the people the ability to understand new and emerging problems, and to think analytically and creatively for their solutions.
Its challenge is to overcome such hurdles and to provide opportunities for education to underprivileged communities in India.
It funds a broad variety of educational projects, ranging from high-school to post-graduate levels, including professional areas such as information technology, biotechnology, agricultural sciences, management and business administration, with emphasis on areas which will accelerate the flow of the young generation into the economic mainstream.
The long-term financial goal is to raise 10 million dollars and fully endow the fund, using only the investment income for carrying out educational projects. The first year goal is to raise 500,000 dollars.
It was started keepin view that a large section of the Indian society has been left behind primarily because of lack of educational opportunities, especially in science and technology. The digital divide is continuing to widen for this section of the society.
A glaring example of a component of this underprivileged section of the society is the Muslim community. Although numbering 150 million, the Muslim community constituting 13.5 percent of the population in India, has produced only 1.5 percent of the graduates in technical and medical fields.
The initial focus of the fund has been the Aligarh Muslim University, which has been selected initially because of its prominence as a central university and a premiere minority institution, in an economically backward State, with continual lowering of educational standards.