The National College of Arts, home to a century old learning tradition of art education is regulated by the Higher Education Commission and the Federal Government. Meaning that necessary steps are taken through a system of checks and balances before they reach practical realizations, following the voice of reason to bring about clarity, than jumping into blame games, the following details provide an insight into the workings done solely that the environment at the National College of Arts is provided for better intellectual growth and support of students, faculty and staff. These are the details that have not been mentioned and instead, only baseless allegations in the recent set of news publications defaming NCA.
In the past three years, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Murtaza Jafri, Principal National College of Arts, the college administration comprising of various committees chaired by heads of all departments, senior staff members of the education and accounts sections have been working together as a team to enact necessary changes that were pending for several years.
The steps taken include betterment to a wide variety of college sections from improvement in living conditions at the hostels to forming new, and the revival of international MOUs with foreign universities, not forgetting the improvement in college infrastructure that includes introducing state of the art technology ranging from security purposes to systems for student and departmental usage.
Improvement, with regards to infrastructure, promoting sound administration and outreach in order to earn development and fostering educational and practical career growth, for all college members, is sought for the future. The detail begins with construction of Academic Block for the Design Department, Installation of Biometric Security System for College and Hostel on entry and exit points, completion of pending building projects such as the Girls Hostel Building Lahore, Rawalpindi Development Project Building, College’s Restoration work, and construction of the Zahoor-Ul-Akhlaq Gallery Art Shop along with the Newsletter Office establishment. Installation of an advanced Water Filter Plant and the construction of Double Storied Cafeteria with subsidized rates along with a separate staff section is an imperative part.
Up-gradation of facilities is an important aspect where computer labs and digital studios of the National College of Arts are equipped with modern and state of the art Computer Systems and Apple iMACs for growing demand of the present era. This move has also been undertaken for the Rawalpindi Campus. Installation of a Solar Powered Alternative of electricity at the campus as well as the hostel has been accomplished successfully which will significantly reduce electricity costs borne by the College; and will provide uninterrupted power supply to lecture theatres and hostels.
Formation of linkages via MOUs with Foreign Universities (American, Chinese, Iranian and French) has been done; with a revival of an MOU with the prestigious Princes School of Traditional Arts in England has also been accomplished. Numerous, local and foreign artists showed interest to pursue residency programs held at NCA during principal, Prof. Dr. Murtaza Jafri’s tenure. This amounted to the interest of scores of sought after local and foreign scholars, artists and key individuals who have come to NCA to deliver master classes, lectures, seminars and workshops. NCA also found a home for film screenings and promotions by international and local filmmakers in its wake. Foreign dignitaries and diplomats were welcomed pertaining to the zest and zeal of activity at NCA that led to numerous international and local exhibitions to establish NCA’s standing as the premier Federal Government art education institute in the country.
A necessary step to regulate and streamline college administrative matters under the work load explained above, liaison offices between the Departments and the Main Office was imperative in form of a Single Centralized Office. Creation of the newsletter as a medium of outreach to the wider world (an e-copy is provided at www.nca.edu.pk) detailing all activities.
It is due to such activism, that NCA was honorably welcomed by wings of the Federal Government to undertake various projects such as the restoration of GPO Building and Government House Murree along with creation of video presentations that have promoted Pakistan’s softer image abroad. One example is of the standing ovation received from all the Commonwealth Countries by the documentary for the National Assembly of Pakistan created by NCA. Moreover, projects by the National Accountability Bureau such as the creation of coloring books for primary and secondary children against corruption have also been undertaken. To add to this, logos for Benazir Income Support Program have also been designed. All in all, the best students of the National College of Arts have been engaged in all such projects under the supervision of the faculty members. A recent program involves creation of a video documentary for the Victoria and Albert Museum by film students of NCA, Lahore along with art work for the Constitution Gallery at the Senate Secretariat, Parliament House by the students of the NCA Rawalpindi Campus.
Realizing that education is not just the right of the privileged and selected few, art education programs in form of art workshops and short summer camps were held in Murree and Lahore with a successful turn over. Diploma courses were sanctioned with a successful turnover in conjunction with the Punjab Skill Development Board that pays students stipends to attend the courses on a monthly basis for periods of three months, several such diploma courses have convened in the past two years. Art education for school children is also an integral part of these workshops. Moreover, Students of NCA have been commissioned with beautification projects of Lahore, such as painting the walls of the city, for which they were duly acknowledged.
To sum up, it is a planned measure by a certain lobby to acquire gains unlawfully by leveling baseless allegations and then use a sympathy vote of others by telling a one sided story, majority of which is fabricated and the rest have been clarified before proper authorities. NCA as a premier art institute in the country will continue its path towards progress and the selfish forces hampering its way will not be successful.