ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said that higher education could effectively be promoted in the country by widening the scope of online education as well as skill learning to cope with the growing market needs.
The ceremony was attended by Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood, Parliamentary Secretary Education Wajiha Qamar, and Executive Director Higher Education Dr Shaista Sohail besides vice-chancellors and rectors of different universities.
The president, who earlier also conferred awards among three Best University Teachers, said the online education was also a cost-effective method that could facilitate more students without increasing the expenditures.
Dr Tasnim Akhtar of Aga Khan University, Dr Muhammad Wasif of NED University, and Dr Muhamad Zulfiqar Ali of Agriculture University of Multan received Best University Teachers Awards in their respective categories.
The president hailed the role of Virtual University imparting online education successfully, saying there was always room for quality improvement.
He said in order to address the issues of financing for higher education, the government was providing scholarships and had also allocated funds for education scholarships under Ehsaas Program.
President Alvi said Pakistan was not producing graduates as per the market needs which led to the export of talent. He said in Pakistan only nine percent students went to higher education while Bangladesh stood at 16% and India 19%, which also necessitated the increase in the number of students.
He said the country was in need of around 0.9 million nurses but producing just around 150,000, therefore any export of the talent was beyond affordability.
The president repeatedly urged the teachers to improve communication skills in order to effectively convey their messages to students which also enhanced the worthiness of the content. He said faltering in communication could beget misunderstanding not only among the families but also the nations.
Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood appreciated the HEC for keeping up the practice of Best University Teachers Awards. He said higher education in Pakistan was faced with challenges including access to education, quality, and financing.
He called for constant revision of curriculum to ensure its relevance with the market needs. Regarding financing, he said the government had allocated a record Rs 124 billion for higher education and hoped that the provinces would also enhance their allocations.
HEC Executive Director Dr Shaista Sohail said the conferment of awards started in 2003 and so far 564 best teachers had been conferred awards. She said since 2018, the criteria for selection had been reviewed and the cash prize had been increased from Rs100,000 to Rs1 million, and 34 universities had sent their nominations in three categories.