The LUMS Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali School of Education (SOE) welcomed its second batch of MPhil Education Leadership and Management (ELM) students and conducted a two-day Orientation Session from August 29-30, 2019. The Orientation Session was designed to welcome the incoming class and help them smoothly transition into the life of graduate studies.
The sessions included an overview of the MPhil courses offered in the Fall semester, introduction of SOE administrative departments, and a workshop based on John Dewey’s book, Experience & Education. A panel discussion was also held that was moderated by Dr. Mariam Chughtai, Associate Dean SOE; Syed Babar Ali, Founding Pro Chancellor of LUMS; Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor LUMS and Mr. Shahid Hussain, Rector LUMS. The orientation also featured a tour of the campus conducted by second year SOE students Ahsan Nazir, Adil Sattar, Fatima Iftikhar, and Sumaiya Faridi. The tour was followed by lunch at the LUMS Executive Dining Hall, where students, faculty and staff engaged in a candid conversation with each other.
The welcome note by Dr. Tahir Andrabi, Dean SOE, focused on inculcating the values of innovation amongst students. He identified the students as leaders in the education landscape of Pakistan. Focusing on the importance of unlearning previously held ideas, he said, “The school operates in a dynamic environment, and the MPhil programme will redefine and reimagine your perspective.”
Dr. Arshad Ahmad also welcomed the new MPhil ELM cohort, highlighting the need for more people to work in the education sector. In his address, he also focused on a cross-disciplinary, collaborative student environment. He said, “We take pride in our shared cultural traditions. Education is a cultural venture in itself and you should reflect within your culture, and also on the culture of others. I would encourage you to seek out individuals in this university from other disciplines, and form partnerships that will make a difference and amplify your purpose.”
Syed Babar Ali also addressed several questions during the panel discussion about learning, ethics, self-growth and Pakistan’s education sector. He also shared his vision for SOE with the incoming students and said, “SOE was not developed to train teachers but to develop leaders who will make a difference in the education landscape in Pakistan whether in curriculum, policy or pedagogy. You will be pioneers of bringing new ideas into education.”
Dr. Mariam Chughtai introduced the SOE faculty members, which included Dr. Faisal Bari, Dr. Tayyaba Tamim, Dr. Yasira Waqar, Dr. Gulab Khan, Dr. Rabea Malik, Dr. Qaisar Khan, Hasham Nasir, Joham Aziz, Ahmed Ayub and Daniyal Yousaf.
The course content for MPhil ELM was also discussed, where students were told that the course comprises of a study on interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives on education, leadership and management in the education sector, along with a focus on qualitative and quantitative research methods. The programme is designed to allow students to integrate with each other and understand the various dynamics involved in ensuring excellence in the education sector of Pakistan and beyond.
The students also engaged with each other in groups and with faculty members to discuss the premises and binary themes of Dewey’s book, which was sent to the students prior to the event. This discussion started the learning process and initiated the intellectual journey of pursuing the MPhil ELM degree. SOE also upheld its tradition of educating its incoming batch on various LUMS policies. Yasser Hashmi, Assistant Professor LUMS, gave a session on plagiarism, sexual harassment, mental health and upcoming challenges of graduate life. He urged the students to adopt a proactive approach and consider themselves as professionals in an educational landscape, in order for them to excel academically and emotionally. SOE also arranged a detailed session for students with Mazhar Chinoy, Director Office of Student Affairs (OSA), to discuss various academic and extra-curricular facilities provided by LUMS. Dr. Adnan Khan, Dean OSA, also talked to the students about campus life and the various facilities available to them. Moreover, an information session was also held by Waris Ali Arslan from the library, Ayesha Zia from the Registrar’s Office, Tariq Ahmed Sheikh and Afshan Amin from the Information Systems & Technology Department.
The session also included a panel consisting of second year students Hamna Tariq, Injila Rasul, Sundus Khalid and Talha Mahmood Dogar. The senior students briefed the upcoming batch on student life, practicum, and curriculum. They shared their personal interests and spoke about the SOE community life, challenges and opportunities. They also informed the upcoming batch on the facilitation provided by SOE on the academic and non-academic journey of MPhil students. The session was followed by an interactive Q&A session where the incoming students shared their queries and reservations with the current students. The practical advice shared was greatly appreciated by the new class.
The orientation concluded with a session by Salima Hashmi, an artist, curator and contemporary art historian, who taught at Lahore's National College of Arts for 31 years before working as its principal for four years. She is currently Dean at the Beaconhouse National University's school of Visual Arts, and is known to promote a unique intellectual perspective among students, teaching them to appreciate nature, cultural traditions and sacredness of the crafts. In her session, she talked about Art Education and its significance. She discussed the earlier times when artistic expression was not allowed freely, and how it covertly flourished under a strict environment. She also shared her thoughts on working in a collaborative environment while holding onto one’s own identity. According to her, learning from others and adapting different ideas and notions are imperative to personal growth.
The event concluded on a high note, with students, faculty and staff mingling over tea, and taking photos in the photo-booth set up. The orientation proved to be a great success as the students were equipped with necessary information for their graduate life. The inspiring talks were also beneficial in understanding the context in which the education sector in Pakistan is operating and how the MPhil ELM programme bridges the gap between policy and practice.