"Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who spearheaded the campaign for universal education for girls and women, could become a new political icon in Pakistan", said Professor Faiz-ul- Hasan, vice-chancellor, University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan.
He added that there are Talibani groups which are destroying schools, especially in Swat valley of Pakistan, so that the girls of the country do not get education as they think that education is not meant for girls.
"The girls have been threatened that they will not be allowed to join schools after summer holidays. The Malala incident has motivated girls to pursue education despite Talibani threats . Malala will be a polished girl after returning from Birmingham," he said while talking to Hindustan Times.
Mohammad Aslam, vice-chancellor, University of Health Sciences, Lahore, said, "Malala has played a pivotal role in motivating the youth of the country as she has already become an icon. Now that she has got the future she will come with much more opportunities and ideas."
The two vice-chancellors were here to participate in a three-day international conference on 'Human Values in higher education' which began here on Friday. The conference has been organised by the Punjab Technical University in collaboration with IIT Banaras Hindu University Varanasi, IIIT Hyderabad and The Royal University of Bhutan held at Pushpa Gujral Science City auditorium.
Prof Faiz said that religion used to be a source for teaching human values which is history now.
"India first chose to pick up human values as subject for studies. It doesn't exist in Pakistan. It is an era of formal education where values have been forgotten. We will also add the subject in the curriculum soon," he added.
On saving human values, Mohd Aslam said that sophistication of education is adversely affecting learning of human values.
"We have subjects like behavioural sciences and science of attitudes which should be promoted and made compulsory. Human values are a core subject which should be taught. We will also plan linkages and exchange programmes with Indian universities," he added.
SEECHEWAL ADVOCATES HUMAN VALUES
Sant Baba Seechewal who was the chief guest at the conference on Saturday, said, "It is all the more important for educated people to have human values. The uneducated lot may or may not have these values as they do not affect the society as much".
Prof Andu Dukpa, director, Jigme Namgyel Polytechnics, Bhutan, brought in a fresh perspective and said, "Gross National Happiness should be the measure of success and not Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This should be a part of the secondary as well as higher education system."