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1st PCTN Steering Committee Meeting held at NUST

The 1st Pakistan Chapter of Talloires Network (PCTN) Steering Committee meeting was held on August 7, 2014 at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad.  The 6 member steering committee headed by Chair PCTN, Rector NUST was formed in November 2013.  It was decided at that time that a meeting should be held every six months to review progress, programs and policies.


The meeting was headed by Chair PCTN, Engr. Muhammad Asghar.  Mr. Shoaib Sultan, Chairman of Rural Support Program Network (RSPN) was invited as a guest to share his views.  4 steering committee members attended the meeting including Vice Admiral Shahid Iqbal  (Rector Bahria University),  Dr. Talat Naseer Pasha (VC University of Vetrenary and Animal Sciences) , Dr. M. Asif Khan (VC Karakoram International University), and Mr Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui (Director IBA Sukkur).  Mr Irfan Ahmad Akhtar Pro Rector (F&I), NUST,  Mr. Mahmud Bashir Bajwa ( Chief Coordinator PCTN), Dr. Abdul Ghafoor  Principal SMME, NUST, Dr. Syed Irtiza Ali Shah ( Senior Coordinator PCTN), Miss Sundal Mufti ( Dir Student Affairs, Bahria University) and Mr. Ahmad Mehfooz (Manager Progrmas, PCTN) also attended the meeting. 


Chair PCTN Engr Muhammad Asghar in his opening remarks explained the role of a university in a knowledge-based economy.  He highlighted five key roles as development of human resource, research-based technology development, knowledge application to develop economy, development of mechanisms for a positive social impact, and finally to provide guidance in policymaking.  The main actors who generate such a socio-economic movement are the university leaders, students, community, government/non-government institutions and funding agencies and volunteers.   Whereby we have national and international partners as The Talloires Network, Rural Support Program Network, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund etc, we need to develop our capacity to create desired impact and sustain it by concentrating on the five key roles highlighted earlier.  


The opening address was followed by a presentation by Chief Coordinator PCTN Mr. Mahmud Bashir Bajwa, covering PCTN’s progress so far.  After this a presentation was made by Chairman Rural Support Programs Network (RSPN), Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan providing an insight into the role/and functioning of RSPN.  RSPN is a countrywide organization working for the uplift of the deprived and the underprivileged in the country.  Mr. Shoaib Khan discussed how RSPN could offer useful collaboration to PCTN to further its goals.


Later on discussion on agenda points took place.  PCTN’s Vision and Mission were finalized keeping in view the input sent in by PCTN member institutions. 


- The Vision was approved as “Pursuing HEC’s strategic thrust of universities building economies, PCTN envisions to capture dynamism of Pakistani Universities’ youth and impact the society positively by incorporating civic engagement and community service into their research and teaching missions.”


- The Mission statement approved was “To strengthen civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education by building a national movement of engaged universities”


- The following goals were proposed:

·         Development of curriculum and academic programs for service learning and community service.

·         Develop and apply standards for community engagement work.

·         Maximum use of tools for the purpose of impact evaluation in service learning programs.

·         Build and foster a culture of volunteerism in Pakistani academic institutions.

·         Organize discussions on forging a collective vision for universal values and community engagement in higher education worldwide.

·         Promoting the mission and vision of the Talloires Network and HEC (Pakistan) across all universities in Pakistan and motivating/facilitating them to become its members and play a meaningful role in enhancing community engagement.

·         Recognition of services through awards for outstanding performance in Civic engagement and community service.

·         Empowering people in collaboration with Rural Support Programs Network (RSPN), Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (APPAF) and other Government and Non-Governmental Organizations including HEC, BC, JICA USAID, KOICA etc.

·         Promote Collaboration with regional networks and institutions.

·         Vibrant media strategy for public support and sustainability.

·         Promotion of social entrepreneurship.

The committee regarded the set of goals as quite comprehensive and appropriate; however Chair PCTN thought it appropriate that the goals be sent to all member universities for their inputs before finalization.

- It was proposed that the status of PCTN steering committee members be ex-officio and not by name, which was approved.

- PCTN merit certificates / awards for outstanding Community Service Projects were also discussed.  A neutral board was approved to be formed to select the recipients of the award.  It was decided to launch the award after input from member VCs/Rectors in their conference in March 2015.  The award would be as follows:

-            1st Prize     -             Rs. 100,000/-

-            2st Prize     -             Rs. 50,000/-

-            3st Prize     -             Rs. 30,000/-

-            4st Prize     -             Rs. 20,000/-

- Cape Town Conference to be held in December 2014 was also discussed.  Chair PCTN urged member VCs to attend the conference. 

- It was decided that a PCTN seminar on Civic Engagement and Community Service would be held in March 2015.  The annual VCs’/ Rectors’ conference would be held alongside the seminar. 

At the end, Chair PCTN Engr. Muhammad Asghar directed PCTN Secretariat to pursue follow-up actions with the member institutions and chairman RSPN. Before the session was adjourned he appreciated the useful inputs of all participants and their strong resolve to pursue goals of PCTN.


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