ISLAMABAD: The National University of Modern Languages (NUML) will set up a campus in Gwadar primarily to teach Chinese language to the people of Balochistan and Balochi language to Chinese nationals.
The purpose is to enable local people to play an effective role in trade and economic activities likely to be generated after completion of the Gwadar Port and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project being implemented with the financial help and participation of China.
According to a senior official of the presidency, President Mamnoon Hussain has given directives to the NUML administration for establishing a campus in Gwadar to keep the people of the area abreast of the future needs and opportunities.
He said the president, who is chancellor of NUML, held a series of meetings with the officials of the university and issued directives for early opening of the Gwadar campus. The president has announced a grant of Rs15 million for the establishment of the NUML campus in Gwadar and directed the Balochistan government to provide land for it.
He urged the provincial government to provide a building to NUML on temporary basis till the construction of its own building.
He called for the early establishment of the campus and said he had made it mandatory for NUML to teach the Chinese language there. The people of the port city would be given priority in admissions, he added.
He said the NUML campus in Gwadar would help the local people to become part of the workforce for the Gwadar Port and other Pakistan-China joint ventures.
NUML Registrar Aminullah Khan told Dawn that the basic aim behind the establishment of the Gwadar campus was to teach the Chinese language to Baloch people and Balochi to Chinese nationals.
He said that initially the university would offer courses in four languages — Chinese, Balochi, Arabic and English — and with the passage of time more languages could be added.
The registrar said a survey recently conducted by NUML had found that the people of Balochistan were quite eager to learn the Chinese language so that they could land jobs and other opportunities.
He said that sensing the future needs the Punjab government had already made the teaching of Chinese language mandatory for all schools, colleges and some universities.
Talking about the grant announced by the president, he said the university had received Rs15m for the establishment of the Gwadar campus. But, he added, the university required Rs26m for the purpose.
“We require Rs26m for furniture, equipment and one-year salary of staff provided the Balochistan government gives us at least two buildings to run the campus,” he said.
The official said that for the long-term arrangement NUML would have to construct its own building for which millions of rupees would be required.
“We have written to the president, the Higher Education Commission and the education ministry to use their good offices to ask the Balochistan government to provide land so that NUML can construct its own building in Gwadar,” he said.
It has been learnt that during the visit of President Mamnoon Hussain to China in February, 2014, and the subsequent visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in April intensive consultations were held over the proposal. During the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan in April last year, the proposal was officially finalised.
Apart from the known infrastructure and energy projects, the two countries have realised that they should have more social, economic, technological, and even cultural cooperation and that is the reason the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has set up a branch in Lahore.
The ministries of science and technology in the two countries jointly established the China-Pakistan Joint Cotton Bio-Tech Laboratory and NUML and Xinjiang University have jointly established the NUML International Centre of Education. The China Culture Centre has also been established in Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2016