Higher education is an indispensable part of today's society. On one hand, universities are invaluable resources for students to prepare for their future; on the other they serve as centers of academic, social, cultural and economic development of a nation.
I think the fundamental principle of a university is to prepare democratic, citizens for an open, inclusive, critical, secular, liberal society, which despite its modern outlook also remains embedded into the golden principles of Islam. Another objective of a university, I believe, is for it to constantly strive to achieve a vigorous capacity for creation and change to foster in learners the ability to pre-empt the future national needs and cater for them by incorporating the advances and discoveries of science and the aesthetic contributions of the human spirit. I always cherish the view that a university should transform society’s value systems, motivations, attitudes and behaviors. My experience teaches me that one other purpose of a university is to usher economic and social progress of the people it is meant to serve.
I have come to University of Sindh with the conviction to turn it into a seat of higher learning which must create and foster scientific research, innovation, invention and aesthetic creativity; to make it a university of disciplinary and trans-disciplinary quality and not merely a body for awarding degrees which are devoid of meaning. I would rather intend to see it as an institution for objective criticism and the search for new channels for a more enlightened future; an institution offering new contents for genuine, participative citizenship and for the practice of peace, tolerance and ethics; an institution which will help reduce unacceptable economic and social imbalances and asymmetries; in short, a university to strengthen social, scientific and economic development, freedom, dignity and authentic democracy. I deem it unfortunate to observe that at present, we are not achieving these goals and if we continue to only reinforce a utilitarian model of higher education we will never attain the above-said dreams and we will be constrained to continue with the traditional concept of a higher education model in its very narrow sense that i.e. merely a ‘training’ school to award paper degrees devoid of wisdom, global responsibilities and care for people.
I believe knowledge means three-dimensional development of an individual i.e. it should promote learners’ knowledge, skills and attitudes. In addition, it is also the mandate of a university to prepare youth for the available job market, yet its greater obligation it to produce citizen leaders who care for the world they inhibit, understand its various problems, strive honestly and devotedly to resolve them; and by doing so make this planet a better and happier place to live in. I understand, University of Sindh remains the first higher education priority of thousands of lower, lower-middle and middle class people of Sindh, as they cannot bear the exorbitant cost of private universities. Hence, University of Sindh houses humbler segment of society who deserve our greatest attention and effort.
I have joined the University as Vice-Chancellor with the above mission in mind, and I am pretty sure that by the help of university faculty, students, parents of the students, federal and provincial governments, civil society, community leadership and positive youth leadership; I will be able to bring about a massive turn around in the identity of University of Sindh and getting it the place it deserves i.e. making it a world class institution of higher education.
Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat
Vice-Chancellor University of Sindh Jamshoro