Mirza Shafqat Baig is a distinguished educationist, unpretentious guide, a man of principles and currently the Vice Chancellor of University of South Asia, Lahore. We had an informal meeting with Mr. Baig, on a bright sunny morning, in his tastefully decorated office. During the course of discussion we came across outstanding extents of his dynamic personality which are stated below:
Q1.) Sir please tell us something about your childhood days?
Ans.) I come from a very humble background, all we had was a two bedroom house which was our heaven – we, the four siblings and our affectionate parents.
Q2.) What were the rules strictly laid down by your parents?
Ans.) No compromise on morals and values was borne in our minds from early childhood which enabled my siblings and me to achieve the highest positions in life.
Q3.) Tell us something about your academic qualifications?
I completed my early education from Muslim Model School, Lahore and later joined the prestigious Government College, from where I did B.Sc. (Honors). My lust for acquiring the heights of knowledge led me to pursue M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, from Institute of Chemical Technology and Chemical Engineering, Punjab University, Lahore.
Q4.) You’ve spent a great part of your life in England, where you influenced by their lifestyle or was higher education your main aim?
Ans.) I had the vision to go a long way ahead and hence, proceeded to the world famous Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London, from where I accomplished a PH.D degree with flying colors. A few hours after getting this prestigious degree, I was offered a job at my alma mater, The Imperial College, London where I spent years in delivering what I owed to the university
Q 5.) How did you feel as a teacher at the World’s renowned university which had received you as a student once?
Ans.) That feeling is beyond explanation; it gave me the aura of being the richest man on Earth whose greatest property is the recognition of his skills by his teachers.
Q6.) Did you teach in some other foreign universities apart from the Imperial College, London?
Ans.) I’ve taught in many prestigious universities of Europe and the Middle East and have benefitted from the prodigious learning environment there. Transferring knowledge to the future generations has been an awesome. He wants students to be beaming with confidence and representing their identity with grace e experience.
Q7.) Did you do some research work also during your teaching at these universities?
Ans.)Oh yes! Over one hundred International Papers carrying a detailed research work done by me on various topics have been published in World’s Leading Journals. My research work has been sponsored by distinguished National and International bodies and I hav been a Member of New York Academy of Sciences and American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Q8.) Tell us something about your accomplishments as the Vice Chancellor of University of South Asia?
Ans.) During my eighteen months tenure at this university I’ve revised the entire curriculum of all Departments here, with the consent of Chairman. Furthermore, roadmaps and course files with clear outlines have been made and filed as a complete document.
Q9.) How do you see these efforts of yours at this University?
Ans.) Just a few words for this—-I have enlightened this dark room.
Q10.) What kind of educational strategy are you in favor of?
Ans.) I’m in favor of interactive atmosphere in classrooms so as to equip the students to discuss their view point logically and confidently with others.
Q11.) Any specific reason for this strategy?
Ans.) . I want students to be beaming with confidence and representing their identity with grace.
Q12.)In your opinion what are the most enthralling factors for any student to join this university?
Ans.) Our course outlines are compatible with the course frameworks of any renowned foreign university and as a result students are desirous of joining this university.
Q13.) Is this University evaluated by any foreign university?
Ans.) Our University is evaluated by A.B.O.T (American Board of Technical Education) which evaluates all top universities of the world.
Q14.) The news of holding the 1st National Conference on Emerging Technologies at the University of South Asia (UNCT) is in circulation, can you highlight the importance of this conference?
Ans.) UNCT is being organized by us in collaboration with Pakistan Academy of Sciences on the 21st and 22nd of December,2015. The main aim of this Conference is to have a gathering of experts from diverse domains and emerging technologies to throw light on the current technological issues and advancements.
Q15.)What are the specific areas of discussion in this Conference?
Ans.) Well, this Conference has a multitude of topics to be addressed like;
- Software and Information Technology
- Computational Applications
- Technology in Education
- Systems Engineering
- Artificial Intelligence
- Networks and Communication
- Web and Mobile Technologies
- Database System
- Biotechnology and Nano-Biotechnology
- Entrepreneurial Landscape
- Information and Cyber Security
Q16.) What outcome do you expect from this Conference?
Ans.) We plan to have a new vista in the future trends in Information Technology for emerging markets.
Q17.) Are you going to conduct such conferences on regular basis?
Ans.) Sure In Sha Allah, we are planning a 2nd International Conference on Biotechnology in February, 2016. Faculty of Biological Sciences and ORIC, University of South Asia are the sponsors of this seminar.
Q18.) Are you planning to invite foreign speakers too?
Ans.) We would be having renowned speakers from Germany, UK, Portugal and USA.
Q19.) No speaker from Pakistan?
Ans.) Why not; we are inviting guest speakers from UNIDO, PCSIR and PSF.
Q20.) What are the objectives of this conference?
Ans.) This conference will focus on oral and poster presentations on different aspects of Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering, Bioinformatics, Bioenergy and Molecular Biology.
Q21.) As the VC of USA what plans do you have for this university?
Ans.) My desire is to see University of South Asia ranked amongst the top universities of Pakistan, this is my dream and I will make sure it comes true. We have got bright students and as mentors it’s our duty to refine these jewels.
Q22.) What, in your opinion is the key to success?
Ans.) ‘Discipline and hard work is an amalgamation of success and go hand in hand.
Q23.) Please tell us something about your personal life?
Ans.) The Almighty has blessed me with an invincible and educated life partner who is a Doctor by profession. Both of us had devoted their life to the upbringing of our two children who have brought laurels to us and added to our pride.
Q24.) How many children do you have?
Ans.) Two, a son and a daughter!
Our son has proceeded abroad for specialization after graduating from Agha Khan Medical College and daughter is embracing honors in the Government College Lahore.
Interviewer: Maryam Iftikhar
Lecturer Media Studies Department