ISLAMABAD:March 18: National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, on Saturday, gave a loud and clear ‘wake-up call’ for development of education, fearing that the country would suffer badly if it continues to lag behind in this vital sector.
“If we do not anticipate the sporadic change coming to destroy the fine fabric we have built with lot of hard work, we may lose for years to come,” she issued this caution while addressing the 4th Annual Convocation of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhtto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) held at Convention Centre, on Saturday.
The speaker said that the present government was fully committed to implementation of an ambitious academic agenda to help Pakistan not only survive but also thrive in the increasingly competitive global arena.
Fehmida was of the view that majority of the internal problems confronting Pakistan, including the economic woes, could be redressed only through knowledge and education. She said human and intellectual capitals were the real drivers of sustainable national growth.
The speaker lamented that Pakistan spent only 1.7 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education, which was quite insufficient to ensure an ambitious academic revolution. “If we take the case of our neighbours - Bangladesh and India - they are spending much higher than we do on education, and especially higher education,” she said.
Fehmida said given the constraints and resource crunch, the country might not be able to achieve the MDGs of having literacy target of 100 percent by year 2015 and estimated that with the present growth rate, the country might increase the literacy rate by 58 percent by 2015. She promised that as national assembly speaker, she would impress upon the government to further expedite its educational development agenda and allocate maximum resources on this account.
“We, in Pakistan, have to be awake to the challenges of creating learning opportunities and application of literacy, education and knowledge through higher education,” SZABIST Chancellor Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said, adding, “The institute will be expanded and developed further to produce most qualified, knowledgeable and valuable human resources for Pakistan.”
The institute’s president, Dr Saqib Razavi, while congratulating the graduating students, said that SZABIST is endeavouring to bring the students education par excellence that nurtured and prepared them to face challenges of the modern age. SZABIST Director Asad Hussain said, “His institution is striving to contribute the goals of knowledge-based economy by training and producing maximum number of entrepreneurs in a variety of sectors.”
SZABIST Vice Chancellor Dr Amanat Ali Jalbani and Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Javed Akhter Bhatti also addressed the occasion and stressed the need for industry-academia linkages to promote knowledge-based economy. A total number of 532 students were awarded degrees during the convocation which included 76 under-graduates, 455 masters and postgraduates and one PhD. Twenty students received gold medals in different disciplines.Daily Times.