PESHAWAR: The business is as usual: staff working at the administration offices at the University of Peshawar and visitors waiting to meet the vice chancellor, who is busy in a meeting in his office.
Outside the administration offices, students in large numbers wait in long queues to submit their admission forms. However, there is good news for the applicants as the university is likely to introduce a campus management system in the near future, through which the students will be able to submit their admission forms using a single click from their computers at their homes instead of waiting in long queues. Professor Dr Muhammad Asif Khan, who has recently taken charge as vice chancellor of the province's oldest university, says that they are planning to introduce a campus management system under which most of the university's affairs would turn digital. "The students and others waste much time waiting in queues to submit their application forms. We want an electronic system in which one can submit admission forms and fees online," Dr Asif told Daily Times during an interview. Prof Dr Asif said that the University of Peshawar was the third oldest university in Pakistan after the University of Punjab and Jamshoro University and he wanted to undertake several important tasks to improve its affairs.
"The main issues we are going to concentrate on are research culture, hostel facilities and providing everyone on campus their due rights," said Dr Asif, who was earlier serving as vice chancellor of the Karakoram International University. Explaining further, Dr Asif said that he had witnessed several cases in which some university employees suffered because they did not belong to any group. "I want to give everyone their due rights whether they belong to any group or not. Progress and development is possible only if we follow merit," he added. Dr Asif also discussed an interesting idea with regard to appointments at the universities, as he said universities should appoint people from far and wide. "A university should appoint candidates from other cities and provinces. This can bring new ideas and knowledge. In foreign countries, the universities even appoint people from other countries," he added. He said that universities in Pakistan often give jobs to locals. "Often the teachers in universities prefer their own students for jobs in the same universities.
This results in recycling of knowledge," Dr Asif Khan said, adding that the universities should appoint candidates from other cities and provinces, instead of locals, in order to ensure exchange of ideas and knowledge.
Dr Asif is among the leading academicians and geologists of the province. He got his BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees from the University of Peshawar, followed by his PhD from Imperial College, London, the UK, in 1988.
He completed four post-doctorate fellowships at the Universities of Oxford, Texas (Dallas), Pen State and Lehigh in USA and UK. He started his career at the National Centre of Excellence in Geology, the University of Peshawar in 1981, where he progressed to the position of full professor in 1998. He was made the director of the centre in 2005.
In recognition of his contributions in teaching, research and higher education management, Dr Asif has been decorated with a number of national and international awards and fellowships, including the Civil Award of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (2000), Honorary Fellowship of the Geological Society London (2008), Fellowship of Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Distinguished National Professorship by the HEC.
Published in Daily Times, August 23rd 2017.