By Ali Usman
LAHORE: The Punjab government will establish three new women’s universities, The Express Tribune has learnt. The universities will be established in Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Sialkot.
Three women’s medical colleges will be upgraded to university status, officials of the Higher Education Department (HED) told The Tribune. In Bahawalpur, Government Sadiq Degree College will be upgraded to Government Sadiq College University Bahawalpur.
In Faisalabad, Government Degree College for Women, Madina Town will be upgraded to Government College for Women University, Madina Town. And in Sialkot, Government College for Women will be upgraded to Government College for Women University Sialkot, officials said.
Once upgraded, the universities will be autonomous degree awarding institutions, officials said. “Matters pertaining to allocation of funds and faculty appointment will be decided once these colleges are upgraded,” an HED official said.
The official said that research and teaching in new disciplines would also be started at these universities after the allocation of the budget.
“The chief minister wants to provide equal opportunities in education to women. Many girls cannot come to Lahore for higher education. Once these institutions become universities, girls from these surrounding cities will be able to pursue higher education,” he said.
“Currently, we are offering master’s degrees in a few subjects. Once we become a university, we will start new disciplines and hire faculty to start master’s programmes in additional subjects,” said the principal of one of the three colleges.
Higher Education Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir speaking with The Express Tribune said that the draft of a bill for upgrading the colleges to universities had been sent to the Law Department. He said after the Law Department gave its recommendations, the bill would be sent to the standing committee of the Punjab Assembly.
“I will address queries of the standing committee. If some amendment is proposed, it will be incorporated. The bill will then be presented to the Assembly which will hopefully pass it,” he said.
Dr Munir said he did not know when the Law Department would forward the bill to the standing committee, adding that the HED was hoping to table the bill in the current session. “Once these universities are approved, we will start working on hiring more faculty and starting new disciplines,” he said.