Challenging targets to access higher education
Access to higher education to be doubled by 2015
Islamabad, Oct 17: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Javed
Laghari on Friday said the HEC would meet the challenging targets set in the
0national education policy-2009 by improving the existing infrastructure,
strengthening scholarship programmes, teacher training and enhancing
opportunities for students.
"Besides establishing new universities,
infrastructure of existing varsities would be strengthened and new departments
would be established," he said, adding that "at present only five per cent
students were entering varsities for higher education, mainly, due to
unavailability of seats, the rest of the students move to colleges that are
affiliated with various universities".
Dr Laghari said access to higher
education would be increased to 10 per cent by 2015.
He was addressing a
media conference at the concluding session of the two-day Vice Chancellors'
Committee meeting hosted by the HEC.
The meeting is an annual event that
provides opportunity to the university heads to share their experiences and
streamline processes so that entire higher education sector works in synergy.
The two-day meeting was attended by vice-chancellors, deans, principals and
heads of 128 public and private varsities/degree awarding institutions.
He said the HEC would ensure that private institutions and affiliated
colleges were also given special attention so as to streamline the entire higher
education sector. According to annual report 2007-08, enrollment at
universities/degree awarding institutions (excluding affiliated colleges) was
276,274, 331,745, 423,436, 471,964, 521,473, 640,061 and 741,092 students during
the years 2001-2, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2007-8 respectively.
These figures show that increase in enrollment of students in universities was
consistent over the years.
About strengthening of PhD scholarship
programme, he said: "We want to increase the existing rate up to 40 per cent
during next five years."
Dr Laghari said currently 40 to 45 per cent of
the money is being spent on faculty training and human resource development.
"The HEC would establish two women universities one in Multan and the other in
Sukkur," he said.
The vice-chancellors pledged to enhance teaching
quality and research despite the financial crunch. Dawn
Education budget to be raised to 7pc of GDP: Zardari
Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari, while emphasising the commitment of the
PPP government towards the education sector, said on Friday that the education
budget would be raised up to 7 per cent of the GDP in the next five years and
the higher education budget would be increased by 20 per cent during this
He said the university budget would gradually increase up to
three times in the next five years. "The government has approved higher salary
structure for vice chancellors and faculty of universities in accordance with
the market rates," the president said during a meeting with vice
chancellors/rectors of the universities across the country at the presidency
Vice chancellors, rectors and presidents of over 100 universities,
both in the public and private sectors, attended the meeting, which became an
interactive session of leading academicians and educationists with the
President Zardari said universities were the battleground for
fighting the battle of minds and ideas."Our graduates must be men and women of
vision, knowledge, courage and integrity," he said.
The president said
that the vice chancellors as leaders of educational institutions had a great
role to play in producing responsible and productive citizens."As vice
chancellors and heads of universities, you are like the thread that holds the
beads together," he remarked.
The president urged the heads of
institutions to rise to the expectations of the nation in producing quality
manpower.The president said the government was working on a package on Madaris
reforms as a long-term measure to reform the extremist mindset. He was
responding to the issues raised by the vice chancellor of the University of
The president said that education played an important role
in national harmony and integration. He stressed the need for harmony and said
that Balochistan needed special handling, adding that he had already asked
parliament to consider giving amnesty to the politicians of Balochistan in
He also said that the government was committed to integrating
minorities into the national mainstream, so that they could also play their role
as citizens of the country.On the suggestion of a vice chancellor, the president
said that he would recommend to the government to consider setting up
universities in the rural areas as well.
He also suggested that the
public-private partnership model could be used effectively to promote higher
education in the country.With a view to focus on the quality and calibre of the
heads of universities, an institutional mechanism called the Vice Chancellor
Search Committee is already in place to recommend a panel of names for the
selection of vice chancellors.
Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr
Javaid R Laghari thanked the president for meeting the heads of universities and
institutions of higher learning and for his keen interest in the development of
the education sector.
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British HC to improve its visa process
Islamabad: The British High Commission (BHC) here on Friday said that
after November 15, visa procedure would be improved and the visa issuing process
would take only two weeks for completion.
Talking to this agency, Rob
Murphy, head of communication British High commission Islamabad said that UK
visa service is taking the issue of delay in UK visa process very
He said, currently about 5,000 visa application are pending
with the British High Commission, and the backlog of all UK visa applications
would be cleared within a month or two.
Almost a year ago, UK visa office
was shifted from Islamabad to Abu Dhabi, which resulted in delay in issuance of
UK visas to Pakistani students. It created lot of trouble for the students who
were planning to start studies during October in UK, and the delay has also made
it impossible for them to make alternate choices.
Omer Mirza, Chief
Executive Education Resource Network in this regard said after shifting of visa
office to Abu Dhabi, passports are collected here but the relevant documents are
sent to Abu Dhabi for visa approval.
All the major staff of the UK visa
office has been shifted to Abu Dhabi which completed the visa process within
stimulated time, but the applicants received the visa very late due to delay of
visa stamp office here, he commented. The news
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20 Pakistani educationists return after US training
Islamabad: A 20-member delegation of Pakistani educationists on Friday returned
home form the US after the completion of a four-week training course at Plymouth
State University (PSU), New Hampshire.
The newly-trained batch takes the
tally of Pakistani "Master Trainers" to 120. The Pakistan Educational Leadership
Institute (PELI) arranged the training for the Pakistani educators at PSU, which
was jointly funded by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA). The delegates were trained
in modern tutoring skills during the training session. The ITA-PSU partnership
began in 2004, with the training of 20 Pakistani teachers at PELI.
programme was funded by a grant by the US State Department's Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The success of the inaugural programme
ensured that it became a yearly event and the ECA continues to fund it. When
contacted, ITA chairperson Beala Jamil said the total number of trained faculty
members might seem a small number, but "the multiplier effect of these trainings
is enormous. All PELI Alumni are recognised as Master Trainers and receive
certificates of Professional Development upon completion of the Institute. The
role of the PELI Alumni is not limited to teacher training. Indeed, as part of
the PSU program, they have to introduce a new initiative in their own school or
When asked if the selection procedure of the educators was
transparent, Beala said the process was based entirely on merit. "The teachers
who go abroad are proven leaders in their fields. A gender balance is ensured.
In-fact, most PSU alumni are female teachers," she said. "This activity is
detailed in the Master Action Plans (MAPS) that they bring back with them. The
MAPS are based on a certain theme. This year's theme, for example, focuses on
Science Education, conflict resolution and environmental stewardship. The MAPS,
therefore, seek to implement activities promoting these themes," she
"Activities to be undertaken include capacity building of teacher
training institutions, training teachers and head teachers, supporting school
improvement programmes in the public sector and raising awareness of
environmental issues for schools and communities. Since PELI alumni are mostly
from public sector schools with a small number of teachers from non-elite
private schools and NGOs, the programme brings its benefits to those who need it
the most. The regions from which the alumni have been selected include Sindh,
Balochistan, Punjab, NWFP, AJK, FATA and Islamabad Capital Territory," she
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Exhibition 'Earth's Future in Our Hands' concludes
Islamabad: The 15-day International Expo on environment titled "The Earth's
Future in Our Hands" concluded here on Friday.
Foundation (PSF), Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with
Federal Directorate of Education, Embassy of France in Islamabad and Scientific,
Technical, Industrial and Cultural Centre, France had organised the expo at
Islamabad Model College for Girls, F-7/4, Islamabad, from October 2-16.
large number of students visited the expo and evinced keen interest in the
displays related to environmental issues and their solutions.
students and 285 teachers from 75 public and government sector educational
institutions of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad visited the Expo,
said Expo Secretary Ms Farhat Rajpar.
Besides the students, general
public also visited the Expo and admired the PSF and Embassy of France efforts
to create awareness of environmental problems, she added.
Ms Rajpar said
now the Expo would be moved to Abbottabad, where it would open for students from
October 21. She said later the Expo, which has already traveled to a number of
countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, would also be held in
Sukkur and Multan.
The Expo is a part of PSF science promotion activities
and celebration of National Year of Environment 2009, she said, adding, it is
aimed at raising students' awareness of the urgency to act if we are to save our
earth for our future generations.
The exhibition is structured around
three major themes including Living with Our Environment, Tomorrow's Consumption
and Production and Responsible Sharing of Resources, said Ms Rajpar.
said "The Earth's Future in Our Hands" not only targeted children and youth
between 12 to 20 years age group but also their parents and teachers. PSF had
designated alternate days for the boys and girls so that they could make maximum
use of this opportunity in a peaceful and secure atmosphere, she maintained. Daily times
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