THIS pertains to the observations made by Prof (Dr) Wolfgang Voelter on the golden period of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and its former chairman Prof (Dr) Attaur Rahman (Nov 23). Prof Voelter was sent by the German government in 1974 to look for cooperation partner in Pakistan.

After visiting 15 research institutions in Pakistan, he states that he found sophisticated equipment received on donations from abroad out of order, empty libraries, laboratories short of chemicals and frustrated university professors but for the HEJ (postgraduate) Institute of Chemistry at the University of Karachi, founded by the late Prof (Dr) Salimuzzaman Siddiqi, and subsequently developed by Prof Attaur Rahman, engaged in scientific research activities.

In my opinion out of the various achievements of Dr Rahman as chairman of the HEC, one was the hiring of active and viable retired indigenous professors with PhD for the advancement of knowledge amongst university students.

In the competitive world of today a fierce fight is going on for survival and sustenance. A knowledge-based economy is of great value and importance for socio-economic development. If the performance of the golden period is not retained, then we may fall back into bronze period (even a bronze medal was not won by us in the last Olympic games). World history is a witness to such an epoch.

I would, therefore, like to request the people at the helm of affairs to at least continue with the educational standard and progress made by the HEC, if we are to live in the comity of nations with dignity.

DR M. JALALUDDIN

Department. of Agriculture

University of Karachi

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