Ever wondered how you would look back at your time in University and contemplate. Here is my go at it. One day in the not so distant future, I would be relating to my grandchildren* the adventures of my university life. After intriguing them with an awe inspiring story of how their grandfather was finally able to understand the application of Taylor’s theory, I may get a question from my grandchild sitting on my lap about the most fun time I had during my undergraduate years. The reply which I may give then scares me right now. I hope this is not the case, I wish world ends before I mutter these words, but chances are my answer may go something like this: “Kid, the best time of my University life was in…IBA”.
Wait! Before you (NUSTIANs) start building a time machine to pounce me in front my grandchildren let me give you an explanation. Recently I went to an IBA** event named “The Coronation”. Now, don’t start asking me what this event was all about because, seriously, I am also at a lost to decipher the mystery myself. All I know is that we, for three fun filled days, danced a lot and along the way listened to addresses by Farooq sattar (MQM senator), a former MNA whose name eludes me and Pervez Musharraf (over satellite). For social events there was a play, “The Call” band concert and a beach party. Interestingly enough there wasn’t even a single IBA teacher I came across during the whole 3 days. Not a single teacher who was there to stop us from going crazy. Not a single teacher to fine every 240 participants for wearing freaken jeans. Everything was managed by students. It was as if the admin of the university constituted of students with teachers only there to teach. The kind of freedom given to students would have surely made the faculty of PNEC gasp in shear horror and disgust. Then, is it any wonder that the students were able to pull it off flawlessly? I don’t think so.
The thing is that unless universities don’t give their students some space to grow; the student’s intellectual development turns out to be negligible. One may argue that events like these would actually be expected from institutions like IBA, since they primarily teach business administration. But my argument has nothing to do with the type of event. The case in point is GIKI. GIKI organizes these mega engineering events with sponsors and marketing and what not. And from what I have seen, the show is run by students alone. Whereas we in military institutions, we are too busy minding our shoes and our clothes and the “decorum” of our class. It’s a sad affair.
My seniors are building a formula SAE car to participate in the student version of F1 race. From what it appears, they are having a hard time finding sponsors. One wonders why a sponsor would not want its name on the body of a car that would be show cased on the world stage. The IBA guys were able to raise 1.3 million rupees in sponsorships for the event. And they all accomplished this in 3 months. So what do we lack that those students at IBA have? We lack that charisma which studying in an open and free environment develops in you. Those who know students studying in LUMS are aware of what I am talking about. Universities are meant to give students the freedom to decide and the support to stand by their decisions.
But all is not lost. Recently I was reading NUST news magazine and was amazed by the prestige of events being organized in various NUST schools and collages (mostly located in H-12). I saw our Prime Minister in one of the pictures; saw a student jumping off a hill with a glider in another. I was intrigued to see a NUST stall in an educational expo in Philippines. But was truly taken aback by the fact that there was only a single news and a corresponding picture of PNEC and that was of our convocation. I believe military collages are not meant to teach civilians. All they do is drill into their students the sole tendency of following orders without reasoning. That may be the right thing to do for the officers considering that their thinking is often bounded by “the chain of command” but for civilian, such an environment and influences are disastrous. So my advice to NUST would be to take away the choice to opt for military collages from civilian students or else to build a rehab for the purpose of reintegrating graduates back into the society.
*If Darwin is correct than my “grandchildren” will always remain fragments of my imagination.
**IBA = Institute of Business Administration.