President Dr Arif Alvi has said that access to quality education is the most important goal for Pakistan to produce a useful workforce in compatible with 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,” he said in his address at the inaugural session of the international conference on quality assurance systems, standards and policies.
The two-day conference, organized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation (CHEA), and the US Education Foundation Pakistan (USEFP), gathered scholars and experts from different parts of the world to discuss the quality enhancement agenda.
President Arif Alvi said that quality education is a dynamic issue, linked with factors of better human understanding and technology. For improvement in educational standards, he said that identification and fencing of problems, firm commitment and finding solutions within set time-lines are 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 teachers and students, international ranking of institutions and collaboration with foreign education facilities that needed focus of the relevant departments.
In last few months, Pakistan had emerged stronger after witnessing good indicators in economy and social sector, he said. “It is like a country rediscovered before the world that has come out of a cloud, offering a lot of positives.” He expressed confidence that Pakistan would soon achieve its targets in the educational sector by improving standard and expanding research.
However, President Arif Alvi emphasized for 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.
UNIFORM CURRICULUM: Addressing the conference, Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mehmood said that the government is focusing on creating a uniform curriculum across Pakistan to remove discrimination among students of public and private institutions and Islamic seminaries.
He said 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 that 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 that the educational collaboration is a proud feature of the US-Pakistan relationship spanned over decades.
In recent years, he said that 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. He said that around 8,000 Pakistani students were currently studying in the US and assured full American support to further educational linkages for economic opportunities and growth.
HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banori said that the conference aimed at advancing mutual understanding of international quality assurance standards, would provide an opportunity for Pakistani university leaders to learn from the experiences of the developed countries in education sector.