The moves are being geared up for signing of a free
trade agreement between Pakistan and Sri Lanka which would obviously
result in enhancing economic cooperation and trade volume between the
Apart from improving business relations between the
two countries, sincere efforts are need to gain from the outstanding
performance and experience of Sri Lanka in the field of education.
The literacy rate in Sri Lanka is said to be higher
than 95 percent. The public spending on education reflects in the fact
that education from Montessori to graduation level is free in Sri Lanka.
The schools and colleges provide free meal, free text books and uniform
to the students.
Despite all tall claims made by the governments in
Pakistan, we are lagging in the field of education, perhaps on the
bottom in the region. Look around the world, the economic progress and
prosperity is education based and those countries lack in education are
The education becoming expensive day by day in
Pakistan which would draw a line of discrimination between the have and
have nots. The private sector education institutions have been given a
free hand to operate at their whims. It is not only the private sector
but even at the public sector education centers like IBA, are also
charging a price for education which is beyond the reach of the low and
middle income group of people which constitute 92 per cent of the total
population of Pakistan.
Recently, the Industrialist of Pakistan at SITE
Association of Industry have taken a lead for setting up a Pakistan-Sri
Lanka Business Form for promotion of trade and industry activities and
cooperation between the two countries. Similar forum in the field of
education is the need of the hour to gain from the experience of Sri
Lanka, which provides basis for growth in aspects of life.
Since the education sector in the private sector has
gone beyond the limits for making money, it is suggested that the trade
bodies like Karachi Chamber of Commerce, FPCCI and other leaders in the
economy should also form a Pakistan-Sri Lanka Education Forum in the
larger interest of the country. Despite all efforts, the real rate of
literacy in Pakistan is not impressive. The growing drop outs among the
school going children are mainly because of economic reasons which are
formidable and calls for remedial steps for those who desire to see
Pakistan a growing concern in future.
How our political leadership is sincere for the cause
of education is exposed by the rate of literacy we achieved during last
55 years. The leaders are least bothered about state of education
because their own dear and near ones have the opportunities to go abroad
especially the US for education.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka, already developed better
trade understanding, are about to go ahead with signing of Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
The Consul General of Sri Lanka Ms. Manel De Silva,
who recently visits Site Association of Industry, Pakistan's largest
industrial sector, said that the two governments are moving on a fast
track to achieve the purpose. This provides basis for PTA between
Pakistan and Sri Lanka which would be a reality soon.
She was of the opinion that the agreement for free
trade would bring the regional countries closer to each other and that
the scope for economic activities was formidable for the SAARC nations.
Describing Asia as the future of the world, Manel De
Silva asked that Pakistani and Sri Lankan business must gear up for the
challenges and the opportunities in the coming years.
Appreciating the initiative taken by the SITE
Association of Industry for setting up of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Business
Forum, the Sri Lankan diplomat said that the move signifies the
pragmatic and positive outlook of the industrial leadership in Pakistan.
Regarding FTA, she said that the Indian-Sri Lankan
FTA has already resulted in a tremendous growth of business volume
resulting in bilateral trade in excess to 120 billion Lankan rupees. She
said that this should be an eye-opener for other member countries to
enhanced cooperation which produces results and that a basis could be
formed taking this into account.
It may be mentioned that over 56 percent of the total
trade in European Union, transpired within the region and only 44
percent of the trade is left outside the zone. This can be taken as a
good example by the countries in this region and an enhanced economic
cooperation among the SAARC and ECO region can do economic magic, if
The business community in Sri Lanka is keen to have
FTA with Pakistan at the earliest. She suggested more exchange of trade
delegations and making fast moves to establish business relationships
without waiting for FTA.
Manel de Silva also highlighted the need for more
tourism activities and said that both the countries could promote
tourist attractions. She further said that Sri Lankan airlines have come
out with many attractive packages for tourism from Pakistan.
There are a number of areas where the two countries
have good chances of cooperation by going into joint ventures.