KARACHI   - A joint session between students and teachers of local universities was held to discuss the prospects of peace building under the title of “Best practices for Peace Building in Educational Institutes”. The event was held at the Applied Economics Research Centre, KU, on Tuesday.

It is inevitable to allow and support student societies within the educational campuses, said Vice Chancellor Committee’s Chairman and Vice Chancellor of Quaid-e-Azam University Dr Muhammad Ali Shah addressing the occasion. “Without full support of teachers along with students, the vice chancellor alone cannot run the affairs of a university.”

He said that there is a need to promote positive approach and see the brighter side of things. Pakistan is one of the best countries of the world. And it is not necessary that every affluent person here s corrupt.  We need to change our perception of our nation.

“All societies are a mix of good and bad elements. Corruption is present in every single country of the world. The student societies are a means to coach the leader of the future. There is an urgent need that we learn to accept others’ ideas and suggestions with an open heart”.

Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of University of Karachi Professor Khalid Mehmood Iraqi said that peace is not possible without intense academic development within universities and the most important stakeholders in the peace process are students.

“If there is peace on the campus, the educational year completes on time and degrees could be   awarded without delay. This ultimately ensures a healthy market for students. There is an urgent need for institutional building. This involves including both teachers and students in decision making because participation in this process cultivates feelings of equity.”

He said that it is time that we train our students to express their ideas and the society to encourage them in being vocal. The student societies have been thrown on the back burner since a few years now and that has obstructed the process of their growth.

The VC Iqra University Professor Dr Waseem Qazi said that it is most important to coach student regarding their attitudes and this can best be done by teachers only. “There is a need to strengthen the relationship between students and teachers and promote the culture of harmony.  We need to embrace diversity because societies that embraces differences, eventually they grow.”

He added that intolerance and injustice in the society are the two major problems and without addressing their root cause, no culture can thrive.

He mentioned that society and universities both work towards a similar mechanism and the inequality in any system would fail their mission. “We have to promote peace and harmony in the society and varsities can play a pivotal role in eliminating extremism mindset.”

The Dean, Faculty of Business Administration, IU, Dr Daniel Wesley Lund, emphasized the importance of student societies saying through students societies students are engaged in a mutual support process. Countries like China, Australia, US, Kazakhstan, Mexico etc encourage their students to create and interact in the form of a society. He mentioned that these countries warded off opposition towards the formation of student societies and instead cultivated a culture for them.

Another speaker, the National Coordinator for Inter University for Promotion of Social Sciences, (IUCPSS), Pakistan, Muhammad Murtaza Noor, said that we need to work through collaboration and exchange of experiences and ideas. He added that only eight percent individuals are fortunate enough to be able to acquire higher education in Pakistan.

He urged these fortunate individuals to benefit from this opportunity. Earlier, speakers expressed during on Monday that the higher education fund would not yield a good impact on the varsities as they would face many administration-related problems in coming days. The public sector universities depend upon the grants released by the Higher Education Commission Pakistan but as the funds have been reduced by the federal government, it appears that research and academic activities and payment of salaries, pension and medical bills would be mainly affected.

They urged for better teacher-student relationship and proper use of internet and asked teachers to play their role in preventing negative use of social media. They also asked students to take good care of their physical and mental health.

The Students’ Advisor Office, KU, and IUCPSS had jointly organized a meeting of public and private sector universities on “Best Practices for Peace Building at University Campuses” at the KU Vice Chancellor’s Secretariat.