As unbelievable as it seems, it seems like philanthropy has once again won the day in Pakistan! This Independence Day, instead of decorating our houses with jhandiyaan and flags, perhaps, we should consider donating a brick for the world’s first free university.
Dr. Mohammed Amjad Saqib, founder and executive director of Akhuwat, a micro-finance firm which offers interest-free loans in Pakistan, has announced the opening of the world’s first free university in Kasur district, near Lahore, on August 14, 2018. Speaking to the Khaleej Times, he said,
“Education is the ultimate solution of our problems. We can’t progress and compete with international community unless we are ahead in education. But it is a pity that a boy coming from a poor family may be able to complete 10-year education but can’t receive higher education. We are not doing justice with our talent”.
According to Dr. Saqib, the university has an initial enrollment capacity of 600 students and will provide pre-medical, pre-engineering and ICT courses. He also pointed out that this residential university will be a national institute where 20 percent of students will come from each province of Pakistan.
Have a look at the construction progress of Akhuwat University.A place where millions of futures will be built. For doorstep collection, call: 042-111-GIVING (042-111-448-464)Donate Online: https://bit.ly/2GR8Yt0
Posted by Akhuwat on Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Similar to the Akhuwat micro-financing model, the university will provide free education based on the concept of long-term Qarz-e-Hasana. Giving details of the fee structure, Dr. Saqib said,
“We are establishing the first fee-free university in Pakistan where students will not have to pay any fee. This is a kind of long-term Qarz-e-Hasana. First you get education and pay after 5, 10 or 20 years, when you are able to return it; because remember that you got education but didn’t pay for it; but now when you have a job you can pay so that somebody else can also benefit.”
To get entry into the college, a student must obtain 75 per cent marks in matriculation examination followed by an entrance examination conducted by the university management.
Many people, including celebrities, have shown support for Akhuwat’s work in general and for the establishment of Pakistan’s first free university. There are even requests to expand to other parts of the country.
A visit to the construction site of Akhuwat University with Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.
Akhuwat University will be the first of its kind – a residential University with no tuition fee. pic.twitter.com/KhwGRtoq48
— Amjad Saqib (@M_AmjadSaqib) February 15, 2018
While others have helped in raising funds for the foundation’s work:
Highest compliments for the citizens of "Shahar a Iqbal"
Rs. 35 Million raised for Akhuwat University in a dinner hosted by Deputy Commissioner Sialkot. The business community of Sialkot pledged to build another campus of Akhuwat College in the city of Iqbal. pic.twitter.com/jTWP3ipk2E
— Amjad Saqib (@M_AmjadSaqib) April 11, 2018
Rs 35 million raised by the people of ONE city at a SINGLE event. There is nothing the people of this country cannot do! Meanwhile, Ali Zafar auctioned his jacket for Rs 2 million and donated the amount to Akhuwat University!
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) April 9, 2018
Of course, there are the perpetual pessimists and naysayers:
I mean, jo acha ho raha hai, woh tou appreciate karlo!
And those who wish to clarify the details:
And those who, instead of focusing on the university’s offerings, want to know about its OWNERSHIP!
If YOU want to contribute to this great social cause and enable more people to acquire quality higher education in Pakistan, click here!
The Akhuwat Foundation was established in 2001, with the objective of providing interest-free micro-credit to the poor so as to enhance their standard of living and enable to become self-sufficient. At the moment, it is Pakistan’s largest microfinance institution and the largest individual based lending programme in the country. Its structure and workings are even used as a reference in local and international universities as a unique and innovative model in microfinance.