Saturday, January 19, 2013
60 Years of Oxford University Press in Pakistan. (1952-2012) (2012-25)
60 Years of Oxford University Press In Pakistan Commemorative Postage Stamp December 15, 2012:- Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the university’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide, with branches in almost 50 countries.
Oxford University Press Pakistan (OUPP) celebrates 60 years of publishing this year, 2012. OUPP was established in 1952 with a branch office in Karachi, the first overseas publishers in Pakistan. Since then OUPP has been a success story in terms of expansion throughout the country, including Dhaka (pre-19714) with the Head Office in Karachi, Branch offices in Lahore and Islamabad, and offices and bookshops in all major towns and cities. With steady growth in output and number of staff in the Head Office, OUPP is housed today in custom-built premises in Korangi, comprising a classic, five-floored structure clad I nyellow, Gizri stone, designed by the Heritage architect Kamil Khan Mumtaz, to showcase Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage. The premises also have a spacious, purpose-built warehouse. The foundation of this building was laid in 1999 and the building was inaugurated in 2005, although OUPP had moved into the new premises in early 2003.
In terms of publishing, OUPP broadened the spectrum and diversity of its educational and general titles, and set a record for itself in the Sixties with the Ahmad and Rehana English language series that enjoyed country-wide popularity. Beginning with a modest publishing plan that comprised mainly reprints and adaptations, OUPP today publishes a fairly large number of original and well-researched school, higher education, and academic titles per year. The academic and general publications of OUPP are authenticated texts thatare authoritative sources of reference. OUPP today is a symbol of high quality in both content and presentation of its books. In 1997, OUPP published the Jubilee Series to celebrate fifty years of Pakistan’s independence. The Jubilee Series boasted works by well known and highly respected authors at home and abroad whose writings chronicled the history, society, culture, and literature. Committed to the promotion of education in Pakistan, OUPP has made good quality educational books accessible for all levels. OUPP publishes a wide range of school books for all subjects with focus on quality of text, excellent illustrations and user-friendly layouts. Most of OUPP’s O level books, especially commissioned and kept in sync with the latest O level syllabuses, are endorsed by the examining body. Almost all titles in the school educational series are supported by Teaching Guides that offer lesson by lesson explanation, answers to textbook questions and lesson plans and worksheets. Another first from OUPP is the extension of academic support to schools across the country by arranging Teacher Training Workshops as per demand for selected series and titles. This guidance and interaction with the workshop leaders and amongst themselves greatly facilitates teachers in accessing resources, planning lessons, activities, and assessments. Needless to say, OUPP Teacher Training Workshops are widely welcomed by the users of OUPP’s school publications.
Another feather in the OUPP cap are the bi-lingual dictionaries; OUPP made a mark for itself by commissioning the renowned scholar and lexicographer, Shan ul Haq Haqqee to publish the Oxford Urdu-English Dictionary based on the concise Oxford English Dictionary, which hwas launched in 2003. Work is in process for the Oxford Urdu-English Dictionary, which will be an equally valuable resource for scholars in particular and readers in general. In keeping with this tradition, bi-lingual dictionaries have been published in Sindhi as well as Pashtu, as well as dictionaries for primary, secondary and tertiary levels. OUPP supports the children’s reading programme through attractive and colourful supplementary readers.
Moreover, OUPP has actively promoted the reading habit through ongoing national book fairs, and was the moving spirit behind the first ever Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) and Children’s Literature Festival (CLF), which are now regular events on the readers’ calendars. These events are well attended – in fact, packed, as they feature book launches, interviews, panel discussions and also a range of activities for children that introduce and educate them to the charm of the printed word, as well as engaging their interest. The Karachi Literature Festival not only brings together national and international writers, scholars, reviewers in interaction with the audiences, but has also dispelled fears about Pakistan in terms of safety and security. The other two most effective initiatives for promoting the reading culture and bringing books within reach of the readers are the Oxford Mobile Bookshop for all levels and genres, and the Oxford Mobile Library. The Mobile bookshop has travelled all over the country, from the shores of Sindh to the heights of Swat with its treasures of knowledge. The Mobile Library, OUPP’s latest venture, is a boon for readers in the absence of public libraries. It is particularly advantageous for underprivileged areas as it provides access to books at the readers’ doorstep.
OUPP has come a long way from 1952, no doubt, but the journey continues towards further success and achievements.
To commemorate celebration of the 60 Years of Oxford University Press in Pakistan, a commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 15/- denomination is being issued by Pakistan Post on December 15, 2012.