Lahore School Convocation – 2010
The Lahore School of Economics’ Eighth Annual Convocation was held at the main campus on December 4, 2010. Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, the Rector Lahore School of Economics conferred degrees and awards to 850 graduating students of MPhil, MS Economics, MSc Economics, Masters in Business Administration, BSc Economics, Bachelors of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration (Executive) and Masters of Business Administration (Professional).
The Lahore School of Economics, chartered in 1997, has grown to become a mature institution of higher learning. This is reflected in its present strength of 181 faculty and 3154 students – 2741 Undergraduate, 339 Postgraduate and 74 MPhil / PhDs candidates – in Economics, Business Administration, Social Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Environmental Sciences and Media Studies, Art and Design.
In his convocation address, Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry summarized the Lahore School’s academic activities and programs. The School admits students every year into the Undergraduate program after an extremely selective admission process. After a common first year involving intensive training in mathematics, statistics, basic economics, English language skills and computing these students then specialize in economics, social sciences and business including finance and marketing – often with double majors in these disciplines or with strong minors in mathematics and statistics, environmental sciences and media studies, art and design. As a result students emerge with extremely high level academic skills which provide a basis for both further academic studies and or immediate employment. The Lahore School also offers a range of Graduate Programs in Economics, Business Administration and Environment Studies which range from M.Sc. in Economics and MBA to MS and PhD in Economics, Business Administration and Environmental Sciences.
There are currently 40 students doing M.Sc./MPhil leading to PhD in Economics, 43 students doing MS/MPhil leading to PhD in Business Administration and 9 students doing MPhil leading to PhD in Environment Studies. In addition the School has 321 students enrolled in its MBA Programs.
The Rector said that the Lahore School encourages both its faculty and student body to undertake research which is supported by a specialized Centre for Research in Economics and Business. The Lahore School has excellent research support facilities including specialized libraries and electronic data bases, the JSTOR archives and EBSCO Business and Econ Lit which provide up to date full text access to the world’s leading journals in these disciplines. All undergraduate students are required to write an original paper before they graduate and faculty members are expected to write two first authored research papers and one second authored research paper each year.
The Lahore School also places great stress on extra-curricular activities, particularly in Sports, Debates, Dramatics, Music and Art. Our Sports and Debating Teams are amongst the best in Pakistani Universities in large part due to the fact that these activities are a regular part of the daily activities of the campus.
All of these efforts have led to extremely successful job placements for our graduating students. At the same time, our graduates are entering some of the finest academic programs in the world for further studies. “I am also proud to see that our previous graduates are reaching the highest levels of the financial and corporate sectors and I am sure that this graduating class will exceed the accomplishments of previous graduating classes,” said the Rector.
Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry also noted the Lahore School’s Board of Governors, Faculty and Student body has been touched as has every Pakistani by the enormity of the damage done by floods this summer and has accordingly made a serious effort to assist the flood affectees. In addition to provision of active flood relief during the floods by the faculty and students, the faculty and staff have contributed one day’s salary to the Government’s Relief Fund and the students have collected a considerable sum of money which is intended for flood relief. The students supported by the faculty have decided to utilize their collected funds (which is an ongoing process) together with a matching grant from the Lahore School to reconstruct about 20 single room dwellings in the poorest area of the Town of Jampur, District D.G. Khan. We hope to construct more such dwellings in the future. The Centre of Environmental Sciences deserves recognition for coordinating the efforts in this regard.
Reviewing the the Pakistani economy Dr shahid Amjad Chaudhry said that Pakistan is passing through a difficult period both because of a regional war and also because of a difficult economic stabilization process. I would first and foremost like to say that I am certain that this period of economic uncertainty is transitory and Pakistan’s economy has a bright future. The reason for my confidence in the country’s economy is because of its incredibly rich natural resource and human capital base. Just look at the remarkable young people before us today, and you will also be convinced of the incredible potential of our economy.
While many of the important macroeconomic issues have been significantly resolved as a result of the current stabilization program, including a more realistic exchange rate, a lower fiscal deficit and an appropriately tight monetary policy, there are still some remaining issues facing our economy relating to the convertibility of our capital account and the low public resource base. As all of you know, we are one of the few developing countries in the world with a fully convertible capital account, which is not the case in China or India. Though this convertibility has certain benefits, it must be acknowledged that it also brings about significant uncertainty in terms of our exchange rate. I think that it is crucial for us to understand and discuss the pros and cons of this issue more carefully.
The final issue that I would like to discuss is the obvious resource constraints faced by the Government of Pakistan. Recently, the issue of resource mobilization has come into the spotlight because of the discussion of the Revised General Sales Tax (or the RGST). Without going into too many details, I do want to emphasize that the federal governments share of RGST revenues is only 40%, while the provinces is 60%. So, all the provinces will ultimately realize that they gain significantly in terms of revenues as a result of the RGST. Therefore once the provinces and the federal government agree on the RGST, and particularly its timing, then the Pakistan’s fiscal resource issues will be significantly resolved.
Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry congratulated all the graduating students and the parents for their remarkable achievements. “The strength of any academic institution lies in their students, and the strength of these students lies in their parents. Both the graduating students and their parents should be proud of themselves just as the Lahore School of Economics is proud of you,” the Rector said.
The Convocation was attended by a large number of parents.