Sunday, February 15, 2004

NWFP Governor Vision of Women Education Reform

Muhammad Khurshid

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Feb 15 (PNS) - The NWFP Governor Lt. Gen. (Retd)Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah has described the education as the single largest factor in bringing a real change in attitudes with special reference towards the enlightenment of the masses. In fact, he added, educating a society which include both male and female – brings about tolerance, forbearance and respect for the others point of view.

Addressing as the chief guest at the All Pakistan Talented Girls Gathering held in connection with Golden Jubilee Celebrations of College of Home Economics in Peshawar University Campus, he was of the view that if we want to bring about a radical change in our society for the better, we have to concentrate on female education on priority basis. The ceremony was also addressed Lt. Gen. ® Mumtaz Gul, Vice Chancellor Peshawar University and Dr. Simin Masud, Principal of the College and beside a large number of educationists and students was also attended by Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gillani and Syed Muhammad Iqbal Shah, Vice Chancellors of NWFP University of Engineering and Technology and NWFP University of Agriculture respectively.

However, the governor said, female education till the recent past was a taboo in our society and in fact for centuries their role was cut and dried and they have been made to follow a very strict regime within the four walls of their houses. Even he added, their basic fundamental rights were denied in the name traditions and religion.

“They were to be seen not heard; supposed to be listened but never allowed to argue and so much so that buried alive at birth” the governor remarked and said but, with the passage of time things have started to change and demand for female education has steadily increased. No doubt, he said, education brings enlightenment and self confidence as well as make awareness towards rights and obligations but, he remarked, “we have to struggle hard to achieve this cherished goal”. In nutshell, he remarked, it is Education which will give a new meaning and respectability to ones life.

As far as government is concerned, the Governor said, we have remained highly attentive towards women development in every sphere of life and even given 33% representation in democratic institutions as well. “Unnecessary gender discrimination is being removed by providing equal opportunities to all segments of society and in education alone”, the governor maintained, saying we have opened new avenues for girl students to have easy access to higher education.

In this connection, he also mentioned the example of Frontier Education Foundation, which, he said, has opened as many as 14 girl degree colleges uptil now and more are also in the pipeline. No doubt, the governor said, a visible change has been ushered in the society in the recent past yet we have to take a leap forward to achieve the ultimate object of providing a level playing field to our women folk to seek knowledge and ultimately become atleast equal contributor in the struggle for national development.

Appreciating the performance of the College of Home Economics in the promotion of female education especially in this province the Governor said, this college has really played a tremendous role in creating this change and desired that it must continue its struggle with much more enthusiasm. Stressing the need of standard and quality education, the governor said, it should not mean merely possession of degrees and the ultimate results must be in enrichment of soul – in unshakable belief in moral values; in realization that happiness does not lie in worldly possessions but it prevails in service to humanity; in wiping off tears from the eyes of down trodden; and in bringing smile to the face of the one who has failed in life. In fact, the governor said, the purpose of education should be to make life more meaningful in real sense.

Lt. Gen. ® Mumtaz Gul while addressing on this occasion congratulated the teachers and students of the college on its golden jubilee and assured that its difficulties especially with regard to the augmentation of transport and construction of a multi-purpose hall would be resolved shortly.

Dr. Simin Masood, Principal in her address of welcome said since the inception of this institution in 1954; a considerable expansion has been made both in respect of infrastructure development and enrolments and the pressure is still in the increasing trend. Now, she added, they are in the process to introduce M. Phil and Ph. D classes in the college. As far as the performance of the students is concerned, she said, they have earned laurels many a times. She also paid rich tributes to her predecessors for their meritorious services for maintaining the distinctive position of the institution. Highlighting the Golden Jubilee Celebrations, she said, during the next three days different events would also be held amongst the talented students gathered in the college from all over the country. Their college, she added, will definitely participate in these activities but would not compete with guests as a good gesture.

Earlier the governor gave away shields to the former principals and staff members of the college in recognition of their meritorious services for the institution. He also unveiled the newly constructed Golden Jubilee Monument of the college within its premises.

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