By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said access to quality education was the most important goal for Pakistan to produce a useful workforce in compatible with the demands of market and society.
“We must be on the cutting edge of an education system that could ensure uplift of 200 million population in an era of knowledge-based economy,” the President said in his address at the inaugural session of ‘International Conference on Quality Assurance Systems, Standards and Policies Issues & challenges’.
The two-day conference organized by Higher Education Commission Pakistan (HEC) in collaboration with the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation (CHEA), US, and United Sates Education Foundation Pakistan (USEFP), gathered scholars and experts from all over the world to discuss the quality enhancement agenda.
President Alvi said quality education was a dynamic issue, linked with the factors of better human understanding and technology.
For improvement in educational standards, he said identification and fencing of problems, firm commitment and finding solutions within set time-lines were the essential ingredients.
He stressed upon the significance of quality syllabus and trained teachers for raising students to better meet the requirements of contemporary world and increase their scope for employment.
He mentioned meritocracy, evaluation of students and teachers, international ranking of institutions and collaboration with foreign education facilities that needed focus of the relevant departments.
President Alvi said in last few months, Pakistan had emerged stronger after witnessing good indicators in economy and social sector.
“It is like a country rediscovered before the world that has come out of a cloud, offering a lot of positives,” he added.
He expressed confidence that the country would soon achieve its targets in educational sector by improving standard and expanding research.
The President, however, emphasized for a knowledge system not creating individuals perpetually under the stress of education and elbowing their fellows to achieve the targets of merit.
“The struggle for knowledge should not just revolve around merit, but needs a balance where absorbed well at the level of humanity,” he said.
Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said the government was focusing on creating a uniform curriculum across the country to remove discrimination among the students of public and private institutions and madaris.
He mentioned that the ongoing Kamyab Jawan Programme would encourage youth for skilled jobs while the Ehsaas project would allocate Rs 05 billion each year targeting under-graduates.
He said 50,000 students would be given scholarships every year, in line with the government’s goal of 200,000 scholarships in next four years.
The minister lauded USEFP offering the largest scholarship programme in Pakistan and benefiting thousands of students in different areas and disciplines.
US embassy’s Charge d’ Affaires Paul Jones said educational collaboration was a proud feature of the US-Pak relationship spanned over decades.
He said in recent years, the United States ensured partnership of its 23 universities with Pakistan’s educational institutes and was also sending 100 Pakistani to US every year on cultural and educational visits.
By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai