Top position-holding students from across Pakistani educational institutions have thanked Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for arranging their visit to European institutions.
A group of 41 students, who secured top positions in the board and university exams in Pakistan - ranging from the matriculation to the masters degrees – are on a visit to Britain, Germany and Turkey as part of the Chief Minister Punjab’s Education Endowment Fund programme.
The delegation is led by Vice-Chancellor of the Government College Lahore University Professor Khaleequr Rehman, Muhammad Shahid Iqbal, deputy secretary assembly, Chief Minister’s Secretariat, and Zubair Gull, who is responsible for coordination.
The visiting students have been selected from Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, KPK, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir Kashmir. Almost all the students belong to middle or lower middle class families and they would, unlike their privileged Pakistani peers, not be otherwise able to afford a visit to Europe.
At a reception held in Waltham Forest Town Hall, the young delegates shared their enthusiasm at the opportunity to visit educational institutions, think-tanks and historical places in and around London. They said they had learnt a great deal through exposure to some of the best educational institutions in the world such as the Oxford University and London School of Economics (LSE). During their presentations, the visiting scholars spoke movingly of how they were selected for the visit solely on merit and there was no favouritism or nepotism involved. They hoped that such initiatives would instil confidence in students and would help them become role models for others.
While talking to The News, Dr Khaleequr Rehman said the purpose of the visit was to give the young scholars of Pakistan exposure to the best universities of the world and their system of study. He said it was a “revolutionary step” on part of the Punjab government to send young scholars abroad to help them broaden their approach and see where the rest of the world was headed to. He said the students had been enable to visit the world class education institutions and compare them with Pakistani system.
He said: “Students will also take their learning back to their institutions in Pakistan and on the basis of the feedback from these student, we will update our education system and give world class education to our children in Pakistan.” Shahid Iqbal said the visit was a great success and the students were enjoying it thoroughly.
He mentioned the efforts of Shahbaz Sharif and how he was working “passionately for the betterment of education system in Punjab.” He said the CM’s vision was that everyone must get an equal opportunity of education and there should be no class difference.
He said education was the only way forward for the new generation and that it was important that all provincial and federal governments encouraged exchange visits to foster better links between students of Pakistan with the rest of the world.