As many as fifteen (15) universities, both public and private, in Punjab have shined among the 1,200 best-performing universities in the world on the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2023. In order to acknowledge the efforts, hard work, and commitment of the best-performing universities, the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) arranged an award ceremony at Arfa Software Technology Park, Lahore.

The universities that climbed up the ranking ladder include Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF), University of Management and Technology (UMT) Lahore, University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Taxila, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB), University of Lahore (UoL), University of the Punjab (PU) Lahore, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan, University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore, University of Gujrat (UoG), PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (UAAR), University of Sargodha, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore, Government College University (GCU) Lahore and Lahore College for Women University (LCWU).

The ceremony was attended by Mr Ahmad Raza Sarwar, Secretary, Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab (as a chief guest), and Mian Imran Masood, Chairman Chief Minister’s Taskforce for Education, Prof Dr Nizamuddin, former Chairperson PHEC, Prof Dr Shahid Munir, Chairperson PHEC, Dr Mansoor Ahmad Baloch, Chief Operating Officer PHEC, vice chancellors/rectors, registrars, deans, directors of ORICs, directors of QECs, and senior officers of PHEC attended the ceremony.

Prof Dr Shahid Munir, Chairman PHEC, on this occasion eulogized universities, saying that their performance on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings was commendable, “Although we do not have the same sophisticated equipment and facilities as the advanced countries have, our universities have performed exceptionally well within very limited resources; this reflects the commitment, devotion, and hard work of the leadership, faculty, and staff of our universities,” he said,

Prof Dr Shahid Munir further stressed that the primary function of a university was the creation of knowledge, and dissemination of that knowledge after that; universities were the engine of socio-economic transition, therefore their role in society was pivotal. He further stressed improving the performance of universities by focusing on each indicator separately. Chairman PHEC congratulated the 15 universities that showed marvelous performance on THE World University Rankings.

Addressing on this occasion, Mr Ahmad Raza Sarwar, Secretary HED, stressed the need for universities to provide the government their consultancy services, feasibility studies, and design and supervision for various government projects, “The government has billions of funds in this head; we hire foreign consultancy firms for our projects; our universities are capable enough, they should tap this opportunity, come forward, and provide the government with such services to cultivate huge funding,” he said. The Secretary further emphasized that universities should integrate the government’s finance people as a part of their team to tackle the technical budgetary aspects and irregularities to avoid probes/inquiries. Concluding his remarks, the Secretary stressed equipping the graduates with moral values that formed the basis for a civilized society.

Mian Imran Masood, Chairman Chief Minister’s Taskforce for Education also spoke and appreciated the achievements of the universities. He said that being a chairman of the CM task force, any of the suggestion from the vice chancellors regarding improvement of higher education sector would be discussed with the PHEC and put before the Chief Minister for a decision. Dr Nizamuddin, former chairman PHEC stressed on improving the performance of universities by experience sharing. He, however, dissented with the methodology of the THE. Vice Chancellors from GCUF, UMT and UET Taxila also spoke on this occasion. Souvenirs were distributed among the 15 universities at the end.

Dr Mansoor Ahmad Baluch, the COO PHEC, earlier highlighting the background of the event, said that Times Higher Education was a prestigious ranking platform that assesses the data provided by global universities against 13 performance indicators, grouped into 5 areas, namely Teaching, Research, Citation, Industry Income, and International Outlook, and releases the World University Rankings. By the next year, the PHEC is committed to bringing more provincial universities to the Timer Higher Education rankings.

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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