The Government College University Lahore Friday awarded an honorary doctorate degree to Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for his invaluable services for Pakistan, democracy and his alma mater. Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar, Education Minister Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan and Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman presented the honorary PhD degree to the prime minister at the university’s 12th Convocation wherein 1,215 students also received degrees, medals, rolls of honour and other distinctions.
Addressing the convocation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reminisced of his old days at the Government College Lahore, saying that “today, when I was coming to attend the convocation at GCU, a caravan of memories accompanied me throughout the way.”
The prime minister said that he had used to sit in the oval ground of Government College Lahore and also played a lot of cricket there. “I was a prominent member of the GC cricket team,” he said.
The Prime Minister said he could not forget the days when he along with his friends used to sit on the benches of the ground and it was time when the friends’ company was more attractive than the classroom. He said that his teachers were very kind and they had not only taught curriculum but also play effective role character-building and grooming of their students
The prime minister wished he could become a GCU student again to spend time with friends. He also recalled a visit of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lahore when film star Dev
Anand, he was also a Ravian, expressed his great wish to see Government College, Lahore again.
Nawaz Sharif said he could not forget the college canteen, friends and honourable teachers. He asked the VC that he might remain vice chancellor but not change the name-plate of “principal” from his office. He said that he would prefer refreshment at the college canteen.
In his convocation address, Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar congratulated the new graduates and asked them to serve for the nation and pay back what you had earned from your alma mater. He said that the country would make progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said that getting the GSP Plus status is just because of the PM’s efforts.
The Governor lauded the Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khaleeq-ur-Rahman’s performance and said that under his supervision the university is growing in rapidly.
He said there are 7 million children in Pakistan who cannot get admission in a school due to poverty. He urged the newly graduates to utilise their degrees and work for the underprivileged children and women.
In his convocation speech, the Vice Chancellor said that Pakistan was facing the challenges like terrorism, intolerance, poverty, debt, unemployment, poor infrastructure, lawlessness, diseases, and other maladies just because of lack of quality education. He said, “Unfortunately, Muslim countries are categorised as low-income developing countries. This is because the Muslim countries spend only 0.46% of their GDP in education.” He congratulated the Prime Minister who has rightfully increased the budgetary allocation for education up to 4% of the GDP. T
Prof Rahman said that despite financial constraints, GCU reduced the fees of students by 35%, adding that there has been no raise in their fees for the last three years. Besides fee reduction, a substantive amount of Rs22 million has been disbursed by way of scholarships through the university budget as well as GCU Endowment Fund, he added. He maintained that at the same time, hostel fees and charges have also been reduced to 50% by rigorous control.
Concluding his speech, the vice chancellor congratulated the new graduates and urged them to make the best use of their immense energy and talent in the service of the nation.
Later, the Vice Chancellor and governor presented a shield to the prime minister.