In an increasingly interconnected world, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have emerged as a guiding light, directing nations and institutions towards a future that is both sustainable and equitable. The Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan (APSUP) takes pride in advocating and embedding SDGs in teaching and practices of Higer Institutions in Pakistan (HEIs). Multifarious initiatives have been taken by HEIs in this regard during the last couple of years, and it is heartening to see that the efforts are bearing results. A recent announcement by the United Nation Academic Impact Report has featured a Pakistani university (Superior University) among top 25 universities of the world, in steering the agenda of promoting SDG through the platform of higher educational institutions. Let us take account of the essence of the SDGs, their global and national significance, and explore exemplary initiatives by Superior University, to promote and realize these goals, as evidenced by the UNAI Report released on September 29, 2023.
Understanding the SDGs as a Universal Call to Action
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015, serve as a universal call to action, addressing poverty eradication, environmental preservation, and ensuring the well being of all. Comprising 17 interconnected goals, these encompass a wide range of issues, including poverty alleviation, hunger eradication, healthcare improvement, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, sustainable energy, economic growth, and more. The beauty of these goals lies in their interdependence, where progress in one area can have ripple effects across others.
Global Relevance of SDGs
Globally, the SDGs hold immense significance. They provide a common framework for nations and organizations to collectively tackle pressing global challenges. By focusing on economic, social, and environmental sustainability, the SDGs chart a course towards a fairer and more prosperous world. Achieving these goals is pivotal to building resilient societies and preserving the planet for generations to come.
Superior University, Featured as role model in UNAI 2023 Report
Superior University’s dedication to the SDGs has earned it a place of prominence among 18 countries recognized by the United Nations, the custodian of SDGs, on the global stage. This recognition is a testament to Superior’s commitment to advancing the Global Goals and fostering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable 3 Development. The university has developed a comprehensive SDG Framework that embeds SDG sustainability and equitable growth into curriculum, pedagogies, research and practices of the university. The framework empowers faculty, students, and university management offices to foster partnerships with stakeholders and undertake collaborative initiatives to achieve SDG agenda.
The Relevance of SDGs for Pakistan
The question of why the SDGs are crucial for Pakistan also resonates with many other developing nations. Pakistan faces an array of social and economic challenges, such as rapid population growth, unequal resource distribution, and environmental degradation. The SDGs offer Pakistan a strategic roadmap to effectively address these challenges, accelerating progress in critical areas like education, healthcare, and poverty reduction.
Higher Education’s Role in Advancing the SDGs
Higher education institutions play a pivotal role in advancing the SDGs. They serve as hubs of knowledge, innovation, and critical thinking, contributing to SDG achievement through research, education, and community engagement. These institutions mold future leaders, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to address complex global issues. Among Pakistan’s higher education institutions, Superior University stood out for embracing the SDGs as guiding principles for its mission and vision. Through its various initiatives, Superior has demonstrated its dedication to these goals.
Superior University’s Impactful Journey
Superior University has not only earned recognition as the No. 1 Private Sector University in Pakistan in 2022 but has also secured the top position among Private Sector Universities in Pakistan for SDG-4: Quality Education in 2023. These accolades, bestowed by the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking, reinforce Superior’s commitment to leaving no one behind through its unique set of initiatives. The university places a strong emphasis on student success, producing socially responsible and economically independent graduates equipped with emotional intelligence, empathy, design thinking, and an entrepreneurial mindset.
The SDGs have not only transformed Superior University but have also inspired the broader community. They have empowered students to become change- 4 makers, instilling a sense of responsibility and commitment to society. Superior’s research and projects have addressed local and regional challenges, contributing to the sustainable development of Pakistan. The Sustainable Development Goals represent a global call to action, and Superior University has responded with determination and innovation. By aligning its mission with the SDGs, Superior is not only educating future leaders but also actively contributing to the betterment of Pakistan and the world. The university’s commitment to sustainability serves as an inspiring example of the transformative potential of higher education institutions in achieving the SDGs and ensuring Pakistan’s prosperity. I am confident, more higher educational institutions will come forward, join hands, and forward SDG agenda in Pakistan and abroad.
The writer is distinguished Professor, Chairman of a large group of companies, Institutions of higher learning and Chairman of Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan.
From the desk of
Prof. Dr. Chaudhry Abdul Rehman