02 April 2014
Dr Mohammed Nizamuddin will address the Paul Freire and Transformative Education: Changing Lives and Transforming Communities International conference
A pioneering sociologist from Pakistan is to be a guest speaker at an international conference held at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Professor Dr Mohammed Nizamuddin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gujrat (UoG), will be at UCLan’s Preston Campus at the end of April for the Paul Freire and Transformative Education: Changing Lives and Transforming Communities International conference.
He will be discussing the importance of community education within Pakistan.
Staff and students from UCLan’s Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership within the School of Education and Social Science have been working with Professor Nizamuddin to deliver a series of youth peer education conferences with the UoG in Pakistan and the UK.
Dr Alethea Melling, Director of UCLan’s Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership, said: “It’s such a pleasure to be able to welcome Professor Nizamuddin to UCLan as part of our fantastic global conference. He is a strong supporter of youth led peer education in Pakistan and I’m delighted UCLan’s working relationship with him is growing from strength to strength.”
The peer-leadership training was initiated in 2008 at a meeting with Dr Alethea Melling, Cllr Wajid Khan and Professor Nizamuddin, who has the vision for student community engagement. For the past four years he and the UCLan Team have been developing peer education and leadership in Pakistan.
Led by Dr Melling and Cllr Wajid Khan, the team has trained more than 100 student volunteers from the UoG in peer leadership and education techniques so that they in turn can help develop the skills of young people in Pakistan.
“In order to be effective in contemporary society, young people need capacity building so that they can lead, make balanced and informed decisions about their lives, politics, community, relationships and work.”
According to figures published in The Economist 2012 many of the young people in Pakistan lack the essential skills for a modern global labour market. Moreover, many young people are illiterate. However, the British Council Report shows young people love Pakistan and are keen to see strong economic and political development (British Council, 2009) but only 5% of Pakistan’s young people manage to access higher education. This 5% of the brightest, most dynamic and able can be effectively mobilised in civic action to act as peer role models to young people through a peer led community education model.
Pakistan is in a unique position in terms of a youth dividend. According to a British Council Report entitled ‘Pakistan: the Next Generation’, the period of the dividend extends from the 1990s until 2045. This gives around 50 years to capitalise on the benefits of a young population. However, against the demographics of promise, there is also a situation where 50 per cent of children do not have a secondary education, and only 5 per cent access higher education.
Dr Melling added: “In order to be effective in contemporary society, young people need capacity building so that they can lead, make balanced and informed decisions about their lives, politics, community, relationships and work. Most importantly, to allow young people to make an impact in the global economy and to contribute to the development of their communities.”
Professor Nizamuddin will be delivering a series of lectures and seminar at UCLan’s four day conference 28 April to 1 May.