The Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) was founded in 1922, making it one of the oldest female institutions in Pakistan. Its Vision 2020 Statement explains, “As a premier university for women LCWU seeks to provide quality education to empower women through knowledge and skills so as to participate actively in the socio-economic development of Pakistan; as well as to impact the attitudes and beliefs of its graduates through various programs and activities to emerge as responsible, peaceful and tolerant citizens of the world.”
Various departments at LCWU are engaged in order to develop a civic sense amongst the students.The Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) of LCWU plays a significant role in order to build the economic life and to compete with the world which is moving very fast in the direction of higher education and scientific research with the help of policy analysis, capacity building, community awareness, trainings and advocacy. The major focus of QEC is the development of both human beings and modern societies as it enhances social, cultural and economic development, active citizenship and ethical values. The civic engagement programs and activities are part of the curriculum.
The University in collaboration with British Council Pakistan has trained faculty members from across the university in various areas of internationalization and set up an International Resource Centre (IRC). The efforts of IRC at LCWU help to promote and enhance international education programmers with the expressed goal of increasing knowledge transfer, student and staff mobility and best practices sharing between the academic and cultural communities locally and globally.
The University holds a full day campaign every semester featuring themes such as social and environmental development issues as well as raising awareness on adopting an environment friendly atmosphere. Further the university has its own radio channel FM 96.6 which helps in bringing awareness on social issues such as waste disposal, following traffic rules, mannerism and empathy for the less privileged, conservation of water and energy. The curriculum and research projects are geared towards municipal, social, cultural and local community development.
The University also plays a vital role in using contemporary and modern art so as to promote the spirit of civic engagement. Some of the documentaries are popularly visited on YouTube, as they focus on issues such as Inflation and Youth Employability, Home Servants Rights (Domestic Helpers), Cultivating Hope, Rights of Special Children, Youth and Social Evils – Sheesha Smoking, Revival of the Mother Tongue – Urdu, and etc. The documentaries help in raising awareness in the youth of today. University students are also involved in performing Arts and Theatre to promote and highlight the importance of civic engagement.
Students at LCWU have always been proactive in showing initiatives in helping the needy at time of adversity by joining hands with local NGOs and various associations in raising donations, collecting gifts and charity in the form of books, clothes, toys etc. Students at LCWU developed a culture for volunteering activities such as story telling, case works for social welfare by providing psycho-socio therapy and need analysis of the underprivileged. Further, students are constantly involved in community projects such as self-reliance, capacity building, awareness programs and patient welfare society (where the students join the local doctors catering to the needy people).
Most of our students are engaged in Urban Community Development Projects and Medical Social Services Projects in their local community. In these settings students are engaged in different community welfare activities to highlight various social evils and social problems prevailing in our societies and by also engaging in social research to provide contextual solutions.
Additionally, Directorate of Faculty Development & Internationalisation at Lahore College for Women University facilitated a Training of Facilitators for Active Citizens Programme in collaboration with British Council, Pakistan. The main theme of Active Citizen Programme is, “Locally Engaged and Globally Connected”. Active Citizens Programme links civil society networks, community leaders and community networks in Pakistan, UK and 22 other countries across the world to deepen trust and understanding within and between communities. It aims to facilitate policy dialogue to stimulate debate about active citizenship and youth policy and practice at national, local and community levels.
DFDI, in collaboration with the British Council has introduced the Active Citizens Progremme at LCWU as a mandatory 4 credit course to be undertaken by all BS students before graduation. These students are being trained in various aspects of community service and engage in community projects and policy dialogues to seek solutions for betterment of our nation. This HEI model developed by LCWU will be replicated in other universities across Pakistan.
Active Citizens is a not for profit programme run by the British Council in partnership with civil society organizations and educational institutions to encourage groups of youth to engage in social responsibility by developing and delivering sustainable projects on urgent themes such as poverty, literacy, democracy and climate change. The programme has been approved by the LCWU Academic Council and Syndicate and an MOU has been signed between the BC and LCWU.