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