ISLAMABAD, Apr 29 (DNA) : Chairman, Prime Minister’s Task Force on Science and Technology Dr. Atta-u-Rahman has recommended increase in education funds to federal and provincial governments by 0.5% of GDP annually till it reaches 5.0% of GDP over next 5 years.
Addressing a live webinar on the topic of “Budget 2021-22: Needs & Expectations of Higher Education Sector” he said that national education emergency is need of the hour.
Webinar was organized by Association of Private Sector Universities Pakistan (APSUP), Superior University, Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS), University of Lahore, Government College University Lahore, and FPCCI Central CSR Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology.
Prof. Dr. Atta said that 33% should go to higher education and rest 67% be spent on schools, colleges and technical education.
He suggested at least 5% of all colleges should be converted to high level technical colleges with foreign collaboration to ensure high quality skilled workers, and 5,000 students should be sent on scholarships for PhD to top 200 universities abroad annually to pursue emerging technologies.
He further suggested major national programmes for technology parks and promotion of innovation/ entrepreneurship, funding for knowledge economy task force projects in emerging areas of industrial and agricultural importance, promotion of high tech manufacturing/ value added exports through appropriate policies and incentives.
He was of the view that tenure track system of appointment of faculty members in universities should be revised to attract top foreign faculty to Pakistan.
He recommended the expansion of matric-tech program in schools across Pakistan to provide technical training at matric level.
Chairman Vice Chancellors Committee and Vice Chancellor Quaid-eAzam University Islamabad, Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah suggested allocation of 150 billion rupees in new budget as recurring budget in order to overcome years long deficit and financial problems being faced by Pakistani universities.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali, Vice Chancellor, Quaid-e-Azam University & Chairman Vice Chancellors Prof. Dr. Shafiq-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor, University of Balochistan, Quetta, Prof. Dr. Tayyaba Zarif, Vice Chancellor, Government College University Hyderabad, Mr. Imran Masood, Vice Chancellor, University of South Asia & spokesperson APSUP , Prof. Dr. Gul Majid Khan, Vice Chancellor, Islamia College University Peshawar and Prof. Dr. Nek Muhammad Sheikh, Central President, FAPUASA, participated as panelists. The session was moderated by Mr. Murtaza Noor, Executive Director, APSUP.
The stakeholders recommended allocating 5% of GDP for education, involvement of stakeholders and end users across Pakistan in policy formulation process, equal opportunities of scholarships, research grants and faculty training both for public & private sector, one window facility for issuance of NOC and accreditation of academic programs in order to avoid unnecessary delays.
They also recommend restoring role of HEC as supportive and facilitative organization, respecting autonomy of the universities, restoring tax rebate to 75% for teaching & research community, establishment of contributory fund for payment of pensions, encouraging role of private sector in higher education sector, revival of indigenous scholarship program and special grants for mobility of sharing expertise, existing facilities, experience and knowledge.
They vowed to undertake collaborative efforts in order to overcome challenges being faced by higher education sector.
At the end, Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman assured that these important recommendations by the stakeholders would be communicated to the concerned quarters.