Education to get 4 pc GDP allocation in next budget
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Jan 02 - 08, 2006
The Federal Minister for Education, Javed Ashraf Qazi, has said that the present government is quite conscious to raise the literacy rate in the country and had to revise the education allocation to 4 per cent of the GDP for coming budget against the previous 2.73 per cent.
The Federal Minister was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday. The LCCI President Mian Shafqat Ali, Vice President Aftab Ahmad Vohra and former Presidents Shahzada Alam Mannoo and Mian Anjum Nisar also spoke on the occasion and offered the services of private sector for bringing improvement in the field of education.
Javed Ashraf Qazi said that the lower education is a major area of concern as the government had already allocated sufficient funds for the promotion of higher education in the country. The Federal Minster also informed the participants that the curricula being taught in schools badly needs review and in this regard a Curriculum Review Council is being set up to get it reviewed after every five years. He said that it is a sorry state of affairs that for the last 18 years the Pakistani students are reading same books despite the fact that the information technology has changed the whole scenario of education altogether. He said that the Ministry of Education had already launched National Education Census to get complete and correct education data by June 2006. Talking about the technical education, the minister said that special attention is being given towards this particular sector, as there is a huge shortage of skilled manpower in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Shafqat Ali said that Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was doing the needful for establishing a right kind of Industry-University linkage and had already signed MoUs with various educational institutions in the province, including TEVTA, Government College University, Lahore, University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore and Lahore College for Women University.
He said that the sole object of signing of these MoUs is to bring improvement in curriculum as well as ensuring provision of right people to the industry of the country. He said there was no doubt in the fact that human development remained neglected for a long time and the country was therefore suffering today for this omission. Countries, which were less advanced, had surpassed because they invested in education in a way that enhanced their productivity. "The challenges, which we face in the 21st century and the threats, which the forces of globalization pose to weaker and ill-prepared economies have made it even more binding upon us to produce the kind of manpower that is equipped to meet these challenges forcefully." he added.
The LCCI Vice President Aftab Ahmad Vohra said that the present regime has taken revolutionary steps towards achievement of the virtually static sector of education. The government's decision to commit at least four per cent of the GDP to education in the next fiscal year deserves appreciation. It is the highest ever before. He said that the Chamber as representative body of stakeholders in the areas of commerce and industry in the province of Punjab would recommend special emphasis on certain areas of its concerns. The LCCI Vice President said that there is an acute shortage of trained manpower in new dimensions of global business i.e. WTO. The centers of higher education should be encouraged to initiate certificate, diploma and degree courses on international regimes of business regulations not only for the fresh students but also for the actual stakeholders in trade and industry. The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan needs to share experiences with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan and Singapore to customize the curricula of higher education in Pakistan. In terms of the content of higher education, the country should place emphasis on natural sciences, mathematics, technology, business management as at present we are producing surpluses of graduates and post graduates in arts and humanities while there is a shortage of quality manpower in science and technology.
CAPTIVE POWER PLANTS CLOSED DUE TO SHORT SUPPLY OF GAS:
The trade and industry of Punjab has urged the government to take immediate measures for the restoration of gas supply to over a hundred textile units relying on captive power.
The closure of the mills due to non-availability of natural gas to run power generating plants would not only leave a huge number of workers jobless but would also deprive the government of much-needed revenue, these units are paying in shape of taxes.
In a statement issued on Friday, the LCCI office-bearers said that the gas supply to the units has been suspended since December 15 which is a pretty long time and there is an urgent need that the government should give priority to this issue. The LCCI office-bearers also expressed concern over gas price hike of around 17 percent from January next saying it would cause severe hardship to export-oriented and value-added textile industry, particularly small and medium industrial units. They observed that turning gas, an essential indigenous utility, into a most expensive utility would hit hard the exporting industry and also cause adverse effects on other industries.