Education

PM for provision of quality education

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that provision of quality education across the board is government’s top priority and every effort would be made to empower them with requisite knowledge and skills so that they could contribute towards the process of socio-economic development of the country. The Prime Minister said this while chairing a briefing on Higher Education by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) here at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on Monday. He said that government would continue its support to the higher education including the new engineering universities so as to make the country self-sufficient in science & technology sector.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan is blessed with a huge pool of creative people. The demographic dividend reflects that 100 million people out of 165 million populations are below the age of 25 which would be a great asset for the country by providing them professional education and necessary skills.

He said that the budget for education would gradually be increased to 4% of GNP over the next three years where expenditure on higher education would also be increased to 30% in the same period of time as per international norms. He asked the HEC to accord priority to remote areas of the country while formulating policy for higher learning so as to ensure the provision of quality education to the people of those areas which were un-attended in the past. He further directed the HEC to incorporate government priorities specified in the 100 days program in their policy on higher education.

The Prime Minister said that no country could make progress without having a strong educational base particularly in the field of science & technology. He called upon the need for strong linkage of higher education with industry so that creative potential could be unleashed for the economic progress of the country. He said that the mission of HEC is to facilitate institutions of higher learning to serve as engines of socio-economic development of Pakistan.

The Prime Minister stressed the need for further improving the standard of education, enhancing the enrollment in higher education and makes it relevant to the modern world to meet the needs for socio-economic development of Pakistan. He also asked for a comprehensive presentation on education at the earliest. He also called upon the need for frequent holding of coordination meeting among the various departments for effective implementations of decisions to promote science and technology in the country. The Prime Minister also instructed the concerned authorities to expedite provision of services like water, gas, electricity, sewerage lines, telephone to all those sites already allocated for establishment of the new universities of engineering, science & technology in collaboration with foreign countries.

Earlier, the chairman of Higher Education Commission, Dr. Atta ur Rehman in his presentation briefed the meeting about the activities of HEC for the promotion of higher education in the country. He informed the meeting that in five years 56 new universities have been established both in public and private sector, PhD enrolment has grown by 300%, PhD output has doubled from 300 to about 600 per annum, university student enrolment has increased by 130%, Pakistani professionals settled abroad are now returning to Pakistan in large numbers.

The chairman further apprised the meeting that enrollment ratio in educational institutions in Pakistan is 4% which need to be enhanced to 8%. He informed that HEC has initiated a massive foreign scholarship programs and 1000 students are being sent abroad annually to top universities in Europe, USA and China. He told that due to change in salary structure, HEC has been able to reverse the brain drain and a good numbers of expatriate scientists have been attracted to return to Pakistan. He also briefed the meeting about the Pakistan education & research network, digital library, virtual university and IT strategy. He also informed that a good numbers of engineering universities are being established in various parts of the country with the collaboration of foreign countries.

Federal Education Ministry has decided here Monday to form National Consultative Council for Curriculum Development. The body would supervise the curriculum development and its standard that would be brought at par with the established international practices. The council would form committees for different subjects for which the ministry has asked the educationists to forward their thesis and recommendations that would be given serious attention by the council. The decision was lauded by all the sections of society.-SANA

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Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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  • Mujahid Hussain Shah
    In parliamentary systems the main stream political parties influence policy making process, whether they form the government or happen to sit in opposition. Political parties form a link between the state and society, they are involved in determining the particular shape of the social institutions because they influence the policy making process; whether they form government or happen to sit in opposition. Every political party set its own policies and agendas on various issues mentioned in their manifestoes According to the rules of election commission of Pakistan each party have to issue its electoral manifesto before election that explains parties’ policy and position on various issues including education.

    It is a general observation that the majority of the literate population doesn’t check manifestoes for their voting choice. Other than the lack of awareness, the strong cause of this behavior may be the lack of interest of the political parties in their manifestoes and its publicizing in the last elections 2008 the major political parties issued their manifestos only a week or two before the polling day.

    Political parties lack internal debate over policy alternatives. Their priorities and preferences are not an outcome of household debates and discussion. Rather, they are identified with their leaders. Electoral candidates are relatively strong and do not depend on their respective parties for funding. It has been observed that politicians frequently change parties and alliances and even political parties has major role in this lota culture for increasing vote banks and seat. This situation displays the level to which politics in the country have been nude of ideology. Though, parties protest against the dictator ship but they them selves practice same thing such contradictions hinder the flourishing of normal democratic culture. Even call for APCs, signing of charters for democracy, and resolutions to resign at different issues, forming alliances and pledges to be one voice are echoed in the politics but the interest seeking peoples in the parties are not committed with the philosophies other than their own interest.

    It is an interesting finding that Mostly parties have agendas on similar themes like Resources allocation quality education, literacy, teachers and teachers’ training, employment consideration, skill development, Vocational education, Private sector, institutional development, higher education, management ,decentralization, community participation, science and technology education, examination, adult education, Scholarships, financial help of students, teachers and teacher training etc. these themes are also recognized as the major issues by the peoples related with education, but the important thing is that what the parties has focused under these themes and further more what solution they have conceived and with what clarity and commitment. Different parties has placed different issues at the core of their policy and has emphasis with different degree on different themes mentioned above, but mostly it is found parties’ agendas are vague and theoretical with little or no details of funding and operational plans in most cases. In other words, parties promise result in their manifestoes but they rarely recognize the policy line to answer the “how” questions immediately raising after these promises

    PPP-P has committed to achieve universal enrollment of 5-10 year old children by 2015; whereas the PML-Q has made the commitment to achieve mass literacy within next 10 years

    Most political parties tend to emphasize the scientific and vocational education but no political party talks about the importance of humanities or social sciences.
    The PPP-P, MQM and PML-N all give importance to private sector educational institutions either by emphasizing the need of regulating them or making commitments about fiscal and other incentives for them. The PML-Q and the ANP have not said anything about private sector

    No party has made any specific commitments for improving governance and promoting accountability in the education system parties talk about quality of existing colleges, increasing the number of higher educational institutions, merit and the autonomy of Higher Education Commission (HEC) but make no clear and time-bound commitments. The PPP-P, PML-Q and ANP make no reference to the need to improving the syllabus and curriculum. PPP-P, MQM and ANP committed to lift the ban on students unions. No other party has made any mention of this issue in its manifesto. only ANP clearly talks about promoting democratic culture in education institutions. On the other hand, MQM talks about extracurricular activities in educational institutions through elected students unions, while the PML-N focuses on ethics and values based curriculum and teaching system

    Looking critically manifestoes are found to be more promising and filled with supercilious ideas rather than providing clear policy statements and its frameworks. This tone of the manifestoes enforces the reader to re-search the definition of manifesto in the dictionaries—if it is policy document of document of beautiful ideas and pledges? These manifestoes address a long list of problems; but they are not practical and avoid clear solution policies with specific explanation of resource link of each promise. These sentences and pledges can easily phrased on paper but the ground realities show dozens of challenges at each step. Parties are also seen to be less interested in their manifestoes or its publicizing. This fact can be conformed from last election 2008 campaign in which Election manifestos were issued by the political parties just 10 days before the polling day, and it has been also observed that parties did not gave importance to their manifestoes in their election campaigns.

    Manifestoes also display some serious contradictions among pledges for example PML (N) and MQM are very against of such systems of education that promote class disparities, but at the same time they show very tender policy towards private institutions in the same line. MQM manifesto is committed to abolish dual system of education, and by reviewing its manifesto it looks an over all approach of MQM to eliminate class disparity but at the same time, on other hand, it assure to encourage private sector in establishment of their ‘institutions’ through out the country. These types of contradictory statements are found in most of the manifestoes that are mentioned in the chapter of analyses. PTI is also against class disparity and such king of education which promotes it but at the same time it mentions in its manifesto; to offer tax incentive to the private sector for investment in education research in public and private universities, here one can not understand that why only private sector is planned to engage in research all the government universities already conduct research and most of them publish their research magazines.

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  • In democratic societies, political parties represent people and people’ wants and wishes and they form a link between the state and society; hypothetically, by their role, they are involved in determining the particular shape of the social institutions, but unfortunately this role is not properly played by the 90 political parties (including about a dozen mainstream political parties) due to their week position. The week position of political parties is result of their internal and external problems; internal problems are lack of democracy within the party structure; politics for power, failure to encourage the growth of alternate leadership and lack a clear political vision.
    Though, parties protest against the dictator ship but they them selves practice same thing such contradictions hinder the flourishing of normal democratic culture. Even call for APCs, signing of charters for democracy, and resolutions to resign at different issues, forming alliances and pledges to be one voice are echoed in the politics but these interest seeking peoples in the parties are not committed with the philosophies other than their own interest
    Political parties lack internal debate over policy alternatives. Their priorities and preferences are not an outcome of household debates and discussion. Rather, they are identified with their leaders. Electoral candidates are relatively strong and do not depend on their respective parties for funding. It has been observed that politicians frequently change parties and alliances and even political parties has major role in this lota culture for increasing vote banks and seat. This situation displays the level to which politics in the country have been nude of ideology.

    It is a general observation that the majority of the literate population doesn’t check manifestoes for their voting choice. Other than the lack of awareness, the strong cause of this behavior, among other reasons may be its publicity. parties are seen to be less interested in their manifestoes or its publicizing — this fact can be conformed from last election 2002 campaign in which Election manifestos were issued very late- just 10 days before the polling day . political parties promise more and more benefits and privileges to influential person whom they want to nominate on their seat in a way like competing to purchase a got, and these persons frequently change parties like a new car. Generally, it requires a level of political will and commitment that prioritizes education and makes the actual implementation possible that has been lacking in the history of 60 years unfortunately