Last Sunday, Imran Khan delivered another promise when his brainchild Namal College in Mianwali was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. After Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Lahore, its yet another gift from the Great Khan for the people of Pakistan. Located alongside of famous Namal Lake, Namal College will have full support from University of Bradford UK which has also granted it Associate College status. Although Imran has been working on this project since 2002, strangely, it got very little media attention until the launching ceremony of first phase of project. The idea is to gradually develop Namal College into an Oxford like world-class research university and knowledge city where scholars can work and study in an Oxford-like academic environment.
The most impressive part of this project is that majority of the students at the college/university will be on scholarships and come from areas where they would not have had the opportunities that the Namal College would offer. The Namal College will be of enormous benefit not only to the Mianwali district but also the whole of Pakistan. Over the long term, Namal College’s “Knowledge City” will act as a best practice model for other regions of Pakistan to extend its benefits nationally, like the Shaukat Khanum is doing today.
Imran Khan started to work on the idea to build a university beside Namal Lake (above) during 2002 elections when he was running his campaign in Mianwali District. He observed one of the highest level of unemployment rate among the youth who were mostly unskilled. Everyone young person he came across during that time, told him that they can’t get any job because of lack of education and technical skills. That’s when Imran decided that he would build a world class educational and they don’t have any technical training college in one of the most backward areas like Mianwali. A place like Namal College where even the children of poorest people can get quality education, technical training and employable skills, so that they could earn a decent living. Last Sunday saw the first phase of his dream come true.
According to The News:
A large number of people gathered on Sunday for the inauguration of the college, including government ministers, educationists, and donors alongside the people of Mianwali, who have so generously donated the land on which the college has been built.
Working alongside Imran for the last two years has been the University of Bradford, one of the leading universities in the UK, especially in engineering and management courses. The university has been ranked No 1 for graduate employment in the north of England in The Times League tables for the last five years and has a history of developing and delivering high quality and demand-driven degree programmes as well as an excellent reputation for research.
In December 2005, Imran was appointed the university’s first international chancellor, succeeding four previous chancellors, the first of whom was Harold Wilson, Labour Prime Minister of Britain.
The University of Bradford has granted ‘Associate College’ status to Namal College. Commenting on the importance of the partnership with the Namal College, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bradford Mark Cleary said, “The university does not award Associate College status lightly. In our 42-year history since we were granted our Royal Charter, we have given this status to only eight Associate Colleges in the United Kingdom and only three around the world. We were, however, inspired by the vision and values for Namal College, which we felt were very similar to our own and to the commitment for excellence, exemplified by Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, also a partner of the university, which we know will be demonstrated here at Namal College too.”
The Bradford University will be involved in designing the courses and curriculum, in ensuring quality assurance mechanism and training and development for the faculty. Courses will be delivered in 4 phases. The Phase I will offer certificate courses, Phase II diploma courses, Phase III degree course and Phase IV research degrees.
The initial curriculum will be focused in the following areas: Construction (masons, carpenters, electricians), automotive engineering, electrical engineering with emphasis on appliances repairs; agricultural equipment engineering, development and maintenance, and cement industry work.
Let us hope and pray that this project fulfills its objectives of providing the best quality educational, research and technical training opportunities to the poorest and most neglected segments of our society. Anyone interested in knowing more, how can s/he help and donate, please visit official website of Namal College or goto Tehreek-i-Insaf website. More information on Namal College can be found here, here and here.
Note: Most of the photographs have been provided by Ahsan Mansoor of PTI, Lahore. Click on the links for rest which will take you to original photographer’s website.