“National Education Emergency Is Need Of The Hour”, He Said While Addressing A Live Webinar On The Topic Of “Budget 2021-22.

Chairman, Prime Minister’s Task Force on Science and Technology, Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman Thursday recommended increase in allocation to education by federal and provincial governments by 0.5 percent of GDP annually till it reaches 5.0 percent of GDP over next five years. “National Education Emergency Is Need Of The Hour”, He Said While Addressing A Live Webinar On The Topic Of “Budget 2021-22: Needs And Expectations Of Higher Education Sector”.

The webinar was organized by Association of Private Sector Universities Pakistan (APSUP), Superior University, Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS), University of Lahore, Government College University Lahore, and FPCCI Central CSR Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology. He said that 33 percent should go to higher education and rest 67 percent be spent on schools, colleges and technical education.

He suggested at least 5 percent of all colleges should be converted to high level technical colleges with foreign collaboration to ensure high quality skilled workers, and 5,000 students should be sent on scholarships for PhD to top 200 universities abroad annually to pursue emerging technologies. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman further suggested major national programmes for technology parks and promotion of innovation/ entrepreneurship, funding for knowledge economy task force projects in emerging areas of industrial and agricultural importance, promotion of high tech manufacturing/ value added exports through appropriate policies and incentives.

He was of the view that the tenure track system of appointment of faculty members in universities should be revised to attract top foreign faculty to Pakistan. He recommended the expansion of matric-tech programs in schools across Pakistan to provide technical training at matric level. Chairman, Vice Chancellors Committee and Vice Chancellor Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah suggested allocation of 150 billion rupees in new budget as recurring budget in order to overcome years long deficit and financial problems being faced by Pakistani universities.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali, University of Balochistan, Quetta Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Shafiq-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor of Government College University Hyderabad Prof. Dr. Tayyaba Zarif, University of South Asia Vice Chancellor and spokesperson APSUP Imran Masood, Vice Chancellor of Islamia College University Peshawar Prof. Dr. Gul Majid Khan, and FAPUASA Central President Prof. Dr. Nek Muhammad Sheikh participated as panelists. The session was moderated by APSUP Executive Director Murtaza Noor.

The stakeholders recommended allocating 5 percent of GDP for education, involvement of stakeholders and end users across Pakistan in policy formulation process, equal opportunities of scholarships, research grants and faculty training both for public and private sector, one window facility for issuance of NOC and accreditation of academic programs in order to avoid unnecessary delays, restoring role of HEC as supportive and facilitative organization, respecting autonomy of the universities, restoring tax rebate to 75 percent for teaching and research community, establishment of contributory fund for payment of pensions, encouraging role of private sector in higher education sector, revival of indigenous scholarship program and special grants for mobility of sharing expertise, existing facilities, experience and knowledge.

They also vowed to undertake collaborative efforts in order to overcome challenges being faced by the higher education sector. At the end, Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman assured that these important recommendations by the stakeholders would be communicated to the quarters concerned.

This news was originally published at Daily Pakistan.