LAHORE: School of Education, Beaconhouse National University (BNU), organized a one-day conference on “Language, Educational Policies and Practices” on Saturday at BNU’s Tarogil Campus on Raiwind Road in Lahore.
In his address to the audience at the conference, Mr Richard Weyers, Director British Council Punjab Chapter, announced the launch of a new programme Knowledge Exchange Partnership to promote collaboration between higher education institutes in the UK and Pakistan.
Mr Weyers said that the aim of the programme was to create opportunities for higher education institutes to work in close collaboration with industry, business, the public sector and non-government organizations.
The Director British Council Punjab shared with the audience various initiatives that the British Council has taken in Pakistan, particularly the assistance they are providing to the School Education Department of Punjab in providing English language teacher training to primary and middle schools.
Dr Nicholas Ostler, the renowned British linguist and author, was the key note speaker on the occasion. Dr Ostler, while talking about the knowledge of the “Linguistic Heritage of the World” stated that the expansion of empires not only took over the world but also revealed diversity of potential. This is also reflected in the diversity of languages in the world. He further stated that the hegemony of empires provided a stimulus to minorities to assimilate themselves to larger identities.
Mr Shahid Hafiz Kardar, Vice Chancellor Beaconhouse National University stressed the need to understand the link between progress and education. He stated that sadly in Pakistan, education is considered a means of obtaining good employment, whereas the true purpose of education should be to empower, civilize and innovate. He also showed his concern about the government spending less than 2% of its GDP on education. Thus the need of the hour was to ensure production efficiency to ensure maximum utilization of the available resources to ascertain desirable output.
Dr Sabiha Mansoor, Vice Chancellor, Lahore College for Women University, stressed the need to address the issue of role and status of the mother tongue, national language and English as a lingua franca in education. She reiterated the role of mother tongue in strengthening the ethnolinguistic identity of its speakers as well as acting as a unifying factor for achieving solidarity and harmony among the members of a community.
In her address, Shabana Ahmed, Head Deprtment of Teacher Education at BNU talked about the role of universities in promoting scholarship. She stated that these scholarly activities not only give participants a chance to share their perspectives, formulate new ideas and identify areas for further and new research but also guide and inspire students to get involved in these activities.
The other speakers included Dr Tariq Rahman, Dean School of Education, Beaconhouse National University, Dr Salima Hashmi, Dean School of Visual Arts and Desgin, BNU, Dr Shahid Siddiqui, Professor and Head, Dr Tayyaba Tamim, Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Lahore School of Economics.
The conference was attended by prominent academics, experts, educationists and a large number of students, faculty and educationist from various institutions in Lahore and nearby cities.