SARGODHA: Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese premier Li Keqiang pledged to undertake many projects one of which is about the establishment of the Confucius Institute at the University of Sargodha (UoS).

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Pakistan’s Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi on behalf of the UoS vice chancellor and the deputy director general of Hanban, the Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing.

This will be the fifth Confucius Institute in the country; four institutes are functional at the National University of Modern Languages, the University of the Punjab, the University of Karachi and the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

In July this year, the Sargodha varsity had signed an MoU with the Henan Normal University (HNU) under which it was decided to establish the Confucius Institute at the UoS for the study of the Chinese language and culture. The two universities then approached Hanban which gave its consent and, subsequently, the Foreign Office and the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad completed the paperwork ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China.

Under the provisions of the MoU, the Sargodha varsity will provide the premises for the CI that includes space for a library, activity room and classrooms besides logistical support to the teachers including facilitation of visas and Hanban will reciprocate by paying the salaries of their teaching staff, cost of teaching materials and other allied costs.

As a prelude to the establishment and functioning of the Confucius Institute, two from the HNU have already started the Chinese languages classes at the UoS.

In view of the progress in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the UoS has made academic and research collaborations with Chinese institutions a top priority. With the CPEC entering its second phase, in which agricultural cooperation is particularly emphasised, the university has entered a number of exchange agreements with Chinese counterparts including with Lanzhou University in dryland agriculture and with the South China Agricultural University in precision agriculture and citrus research.

For the ease of communication and having good understanding of the Chinese culture and practices, learning the Chinese language plays a crucial role. Hence, the UoS aims to build a pool of human resource which is well trained, qualified and acquainted with the Chinese language to serve the local community and add value to economic development of the country.

Last year, the Pakistan Institute of China Studies (PICS) was established as part of the Rs1.5 billion HEC-funded development projects, which is overseeing and steering the university’s collaborative ventures with Chinese institutions.

The establishment of the Confucius Institute will expedite this mutually beneficial process, especially for the educated youth of this largely agrarian region.

PROJECTS: Deputy Commissioner Ms Asia Gull said at a meeting that public parks, toilets and filtration plants would be constructed on retrieved state land and would be given under the control of the local government institutions.

The district development committee not only extended the period for 74 schemes under the Public Health Engineering (PHE) and the local government but also approved various development schemes worth Rs40 million.

The DC claimed that work on sewerage schemes was under way and would be completed next year which would fulfill the needs of the city for the next 50 years. She said she was personally supervising all the schemes and would not compromise on quality of work.

Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2019

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