Universities Must Uplift the Pandemic-hit Sections: Dr. Zakar
We must use this pandemic to reimagine a more equal and just society and as engines of social mobility, universities have a crucial role to play in this regard, said the veteran social scientist and Vice Chancellor University of Okara Prof. Dr. Muhammad Zakria Zakar in a social media message. He argued that unemployment and exploitation would increase in the aftermath of the COVID-19 and its impact on the least wealthy, women, youth and some ethnic minority groups was likely to be more severe. “Universities have more direct role to play. We can develop highly skilled people to support our economy, drive business productivity and provide vital workers to the industry. We can help teach the skills that people who have lost their jobs need to move on with their lives”, said Dr. Zakar. He maintained that the universities must step up to improve social mobility by not just uplift the gifted but also significantly increase the numbers of students from marginalized and deprived backgrounds, so that they can study, success and transform their lives. Dr. Zakar added, “We need to ensure the focus on equality, diversity and inclusion is not lost in these times of the crises.” According to the university spokesperson, the UO enrolled 6,000 students, about 70 percent of those are females, in the Fall 2019 admissions. According to a survey, conducted by the UO’s Social Sciences Research Center (SSRC), a vast majority of these students might not have been able to move to big cities to pursue their higher education.