KARACHI: An academic collaboration was launched officially between Sindh Inter Universities’ Consortium (SIUC) with UK-based University of Northampton (UoN) at a ceremony held at Ziauddin University (ZU) on Tuesday.
Under the collaboration, which took three years to materialise, the UK-based university would create opportunities for distant learning for students in Sindh. In the initial step, students of ZU and Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto University of Law (SZABUL) would benefit from this partnership.
“This collaboration will result in University of Northampton (UoN) degrees being delivered under a sub-contract at universities in Sindh. The ZU and SZABUL will be the first to deliver UoN degrees under the arrangement,” said UoN Vice Chancellor Prof Nick Petford, adding that the collaboration would help both countries to work together in the education sector.
Sharing his vision about the collaboration, Dean of Academic Partnerships, UoN, Prof Hastings McKenzie said the programme would provide great opportunity to Pakistani students to have exposure to foreign education and new technologies as well as foreign culture and traditions.
“Degrees from this programme would be recognised by the Pakistan Bar Council. We want to expand our programmes to health and other fields,” he said.
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah described the launch of collaboration as a milestone and motivated students to pursue their education with utmost hard work and commitment.
“After seeing the limitations of financial support to get admission to foreign colleges, we have taken the initiative to provide foreign qualification (here) so that our capable, intelligent and brilliant students can take leading positions in the local job as well as international markets,” he said.
Speaking about the role of faculty in harnessing talent, he said that in the absence of a proper faculty, quality legal education was impossible.
“Law teachers should be well-trained, well-paid and committed to the cause. Poor quality of legal education in the country is taking its toll on the bench, the bar and ultimately the quality of justice,” he remarked.
During his speech, Sindh Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Asim Hussain spoke about the multiple challenges being faced in the education sector and said it was government’s desire that other institutions also followed in “its footsteps” and raise educational standards by bringing overseas collaboration.
“We have to open our mind and think big. We also need to look at our primary and secondary education and make the required changes there,” he said. This collaboration, he pointed out, would open doors of opportunities for youth. “Both universities would put their expertise under the same platform. It is a great chance for youngsters to go abroad for higher education, and serve back the country which provides them this opportunity,” he said.
He also criticised country’s law system and said that it was far behind other countries which explained the need for this collaboration.
“It’s the first ever programme of its nature which is recognized by the Pakistan Bar Council and will be taught by the foreign faculty. Our graduates will be given Northampton’s degree and I can see that our law graduates soon be recognised by British Bar Council,” he said.
British Deputy High Commissioner, Karachi, Mike Nithavrianakis said that he was glad to be a part of this consortium.
Team visits KU
A two-member delegation from the University of Northampton, UK, visited Karachi University (KU) on Tuesday to discuss the possibilities of collaboration in the discipline of law between the two institutions.
UK varsity Vice Chancellor Prof Nick Petford and its Dean of Academic Partnerships Prof Hastings McKenzie met KU acting Vice Chancellor Prof Khalid Mahmood Iraqi and faculty members.