I met Dr Abidi many years ago. I was pleased to find his interview in my inbox. Readers might find it of interest.
This article appeared in STEP (Science, Technology, and Education in Pakistan), and has been reproduced with their permission. The article first appeared here
Building ‘MIT for Pakistan’
A Conversation with Dr. Asad Abidi
By Bilal Zafar, April 12, 2010
In Fall 2008, the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) opened its doors to 150 freshmen students to study science and engineering at its brand new School of Science and Engineering (SSE). Offering undergraduate degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering, and graduate degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics, LUMS SSE had much grander plans than most Pakistani universities. Indeed, SSE envisions to be not just a “successful research university”, but “perhaps an MIT, Stanford or a Caltech
for Pakistan.” To realize this vision, SSE was able to raise a significant amount of money (more than $25 million), including Rs. 1500 and 500 million from the governments of Pakistan and Punjab, respectively.Perhaps equally impressive was the faculty that LUMS was able to assemble for this nascent school. It was a small — perhaps too small — group of promising young researchers, brought together by the project team to set the standard for LUMS SSE. Continue reading
This newspaper’s editorial ‘Whither and wither’ of Jan 4 articulates two excellent questions about the direction of Higher Education in Pakistan, while expressing disappointment over the shelving of HEC’s plan to create world-class universities in Pakistan. The editorial asks: ‘If you are poor and bright you have few options and ‘abroad’ isn’t one of them. But what if ‘abroad’ were somehow to be able to come to us? What if the benefits of a foreign education system could somehow get transplanted to Pakistan?’ I believe those are well-phrased questions to which we may still find solutions, but we would need some visionary political leadership to do so. Continue reading
Tech Lahore blog has this pleasing news (below) to offer. It is indeed gratifying to note that Lahore students are doing so well. But our question is – when will the non-elite education institutions reach, or aspire for, this level?
“Kudos to Hasanat and Farrukh, two sophomore students from the Lahore University of Management Sciences who have placed 5th in an MIT Design Contest that required entrants to design, code and document an electricity consumption monitor that uploads information to a central database. Since the competition was open to contestants from all over the world, this award is a huge honour for the young engineers, their school… and for Pakistan. The quality of our science and technology graduates is increasing by the day. LUMS and its new SSE (School of Science and Engineering) promise to yield several Newtons, Einsteins, Turings and Abd-ul-Salams! “
All three students should accept mubarakbaad from Lahore Nama.