Apr 14 - 20, 2008

LAHORE: Born on September 28, 1958 in Lahore, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal is the current Education Minister of Pakistan, with additional portfolio for Minorities. He is also the information secretary of the PML-N. He was elected as an MNA from his constituency NA-117 (Narowal-III) in the February 2008 elections. He is serving as a minister in the PPP led coalition government after 2008 elections.

Mr. Ahsan was schooled in PAF Public School, Sargodha, GC College, Lahore, and UET Lahore, before moving to Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania for postgraduate studies. He also took part in the Oxford University Program at the prestigious University of Oxford.

Ahsan Iqbal's political career started in 1980 when he joined the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, at UET Lahore. It was in 1988 when he joined PML-N and steadily rose be its information secretary during the regime of General Pervez Musharraf. He was elected for the first time as an MNA from his constituency NA-90 (Narowal) in the General Elections of 1993, and later from the same constituency in February 1997. He won his seat again in 2008, after losing in 2002, from his native district of Narowal.

In an interview, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal said the draft of national education policy would be reviewed to make it more receptive to contemporary and future trends for achieving national prosperity. The draft of national education policy would be studied, again, in consultation with heads of all the political parties and provinces to ensure that it is immune to frequent and un-necessary changes, he added.

He said though the government did not intend to undo all the initiatives taken by the previous government for the uplift of the education sector, but these would be studied to ensure that they were compatible with the present day's challenges.

He said education sector, unfortunately, in the country could not receive due attention in terms of sufficient budgetary allocation for it thus, he added, he would make efforts to work on this front.

About the role of Deeni Madaris, Ahsan said, mostly they were contributing invaluable services for the healthy development of the society however, he added, there was always room for improvement.

He underlined the need for making concerted efforts to end class based education system in the country and make quality education accessible to every citizen of the country irrespective of sex and social status. He said that elimination of class based education and promotion of quality education at every level would be his top priority.

He said that the government was committed to equipping teachers with modern teaching skills in order to fully capitalize on the newly-revised curriculum. He said that government would take all possible measures to resolve teachers' problems and restore their status as an important entity of society.

During the next two years every institution would be provided with computer lab and a science teacher to promote research based knowledge for achieving national prosperity. Similarly, network of educational institutions would be expanded to every nook and corner of the country and it would be ensured that there was institution for male and girls at each union council, he added.