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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

UET allows male/female students to sit together; social media praises

UET has withdrawn its notification and allowed male/female students to sit together. However, Pakistani society needs to grow in terms of ideas in order to cope with the present-day socio-economic challenges

The Lahore campus of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) has withdrawn their notification regarding gender segregation in the canteen/cafeteria area that had required students to sit only with students of their own gender.

The order had been issued by the university’s vice-chancellor (VC) on September 6 after which many criticized the move on social media. Social media users questioned the intentions of the university administration and objectives behind such move.

A new statement issued by UET now states that the notification has been withdrawn as the previous letter was “issued without the approval of the VC Dr. Mansoor Sarwar.”


G-M Pitafi, a Lahore based academic and political analyst, believes that the focus on Pakistan should have been on learning and creativity but unfortunately, says Mr. Pitafi, “we are still trying to be moral police”. He also quoted some examples from public sector universities that have become a secured place for the extremist ideas to get evolved.

“A university is supposed to be a place of higher learning where students interact with each other and develop an informed perspective on life, politics, and society. But in the case of Pakistan, a university is considered to be a place of moral grooming based upon selective religious grounds,” he added.

It is believed that Pakistani public intellectuals need to understand the needs and demands of the 21st-century world in order to introduce socio-political changes accordingly.

Bertrand Russell, a famous British philosopher, long ago talked about the purpose and utility of a university in society. He believed that universities have, in an academic sense, two purposes: “One, to train individuals for various professions. Two, to pursue learning and research without regard to an immediate utility.”

But Russell looks upset when he talks about university teachers who start teaching morality and ethics to students: “The idea of old fashioned schoolmasters persists to some extent at universities. There is a desire to have a good moral effect on students, and a wish to drill them in old-fashioned, worthless information, largely known to be false, but supposed to be morally elevating.”

Mr. Pitafi believes that many university professors do not understand their responsibilities. “They are not there to be prophets of morality rather they are there to teach students to explore the world,” he said.

Read more: Debating the Educational structure in Pakistan

Moreover, Journalist Mona Alam, also appreciated the University for taking back its decision and proving to be a place of learning. She said: “Happy to know that nonsensical notification has been withdrawn by UET #Lahore, a leading Engineering University. Instead of Moral Policing, I wish our School administrations react with such aggression on intolerance, thuggery of political student wings, molestations, etc”.

However, many Pakistanis also appreciated the earlier decision of the university and criticized the later one. Ansar Abbasi, a prominent journalist and analyst, said that “it is shameful that the university took the notice back under pressure.”

It is believed that Pakistani public intellectuals need to understand the needs and demands of the 21st-century world in order to introduce socio-political changes accordingly. In the words of Mr. Pitafi, “you cannot live in the 21st century while practicing 16th-century beliefs.”