ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday emphasised the need for universities to improve their syllabuses and bring it into consonance with social and psychological needs of the students.
“Education must be pleasure and should not keep students under a perpetual stress of achievement,” the president said while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the international conference on ‘Quality Assurance System, Standards and Policies: Issues and Challenges’.
The conference is being organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the United States Education Foundation Programme (USEFP).
The conference aims to improve the quality of higher education and advance mutual understanding of international quality assurance standards by bringing together academic experts from around the world.
The president said universities must focus on enhancing the quality of education and research in addition to increasing enrolments and publications.
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He said as the economy improved, funding situation for higher education would also improve.
He said past years had witnessed a remarkable infrastructural development in the education sector, but the majority of parents want improvement in quality of education for their children.Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said the government intends to enhance funding for higher education for recurring as well as the development budget.
He lamented that Pakistan was declining in the Learning Poverty Index, adding that quality had become a challenge with the expansion of access to education.
Mr Mahmood said 50,000 undergraduate scholarships per year had been announced under the Prime Minister Ehsas Undergraduate Scholarship Programme, which was a big initiative. He also acknowledged the contribution of the US government in promoting higher education in the country.
HEC Chairman Tariq Banuri said the conference themes correspond with the commission’s reform agenda. He added that the goal of the conference was to start a national conversation on quality.
US Ambassador Paul Jones said the United States was proud of its educational linkages with Pakistan. He said the US had recently entered into 23 partnerships with Pakistani institutions, adding that 100 Pakistanis were sent to the US under the US-Pakistan Academic and Cultural Exchange Programme.
The US envoy further said his country had so far awarded 19,000 need-based scholarships to Pakistani students.