ISLAMABAD: Over 250 academic leaders are converging in Islamabad for a two-day 5th Vice-Chancellors’ Forum (VC Forum) on Universities in the Islamic World: Towards Disruptive Technology in a Globalised World, set to begin in Islamabad on Sunday, 19th March 2023.
The 5th VC Forum is being jointly organized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan, COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), British Council Pakistan, Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), and the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. The Forum aims at building on the previous forums, held in Pakistan and Türkiye, from 2012 till 2017.
Over 40 heads of universities from 20 OIC counties and 200 Vice Chancellors from local universities would be among the 250 Vice Chancellors, Rectors, and Presidents of Universities / Higher Educational Institutions of the Islamic World that will be participating in the VC Forum this year. These countries include Azerbaijan, Benin, Chad, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Türkiye, UAE, Uganda, and Yemen.
Among the keynote speakers at the VC Forum are Dr Salim M. AL Malik, Director General, ICESCO, and Ambassador Mustafa Turker Ari, Advisor to the President Council of Higher Education (CoHE), Turkey. The Forum will provide a platform for sharing experiences, networking, pooling resources, fostering collaborations, strengthening networks of excellence, and encouraging dialogue on the future of Higher Education in the Islamic World. These engagements would inspire and enable participants to plan future programs and set targets for leveraging the collective wisdom of worthy academicians and professionals gathered from around the Islamic World and Pakistan.
Panel discussions and invited talks are an integral part of the proceedings of the VC Forum. This year the four major themes around which panel discussions and invited talks would revolve are: 1) Transforming Traditional Faculties; 2) Improving Online Education; 3) Tools for Innovation and 4) Technology Commercialization and Forming Higher Education Re-Opening for International Students.
Quick adoption of technology in education, commerce, agriculture, and healthcare has radically transformed the mandate of universities, from merely being centres of traditional education to becoming hubs of cutting-edge disruptive technologies, capable of swiftly developing superior solutions to meet the ever-changing international demands.
This poses an immense challenge for academia to rethink its role, beyond just conferring degrees upon students, to developing critical thinkers who can adapt and respond to fast-changing global trends with agility and creating lifelong learners, with the relevant skillsets is essential for the survival of universities in the future.