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Ensure 100pc enrolment in schools: Alvi

By Our Correspondent
January 27, 2023

LAHORE:President Dr Arif Alvi has called upon all stakeholders to ensure that all children are admitted to schools and all FSC qualified students are admitted to higher education institutions (HEIs).

Addressing the convocation of the Virtual University (VU), here Thursday, the President said that Pakistan’s primary enrolment rate was only 68% compared to over 98% of other regional countries whereas higher education enrolment was only 9% compared to around 60% of other regional countries. This, he said, was not sufficient to provide much needed quality human resource required for achieving accelerated socio-economic growth in the country. He said that by starting now and taking appropriate actions, it would take only 10 years to achieve 100% enrolment rate. The VU faculty, students and their parents attended the convocation.

President Alvi said that the universities usually take pride in refusing admissions to thousands of students who desire to pursue higher education which, he said, was deplorable and should be discouraged. He called upon the government and relevant HEIs to ensure 100% admission for all students seeking higher education by increasing their capacity to substantially increase the number of graduates equipped with quality higher education using online and blended modes of learning.

The President said that an educated youth and a skilled workforce were the most essential ingredients for moving forward but unfortunately the pace of producing IT educated youth of 27,000 per year was extremely low as compared to the neighbouring country which produced almost 800,000 IT graduates every year. He highlighted that the most practical and speedy way to fill the gap between the required number of graduates was shifting our education system to internet-based online and hybrid modes which are now increasingly being practiced very successfully in different countries.

The President said the Muslim societies in the past became afraid of gaining new knowledge, were hesitant to adopt innovation, inventions and progress made in scientific, social and management fields and, therefore, were left far behind compared to many countries of the world. He said Sir Syed Ahmad Khan rightly realised the importance of education and knowledge after the War of Independence in 1857 and urged the Muslims to gain knowledge and education which was the lynchpin of gaining back the lost glory and supremacy. He regretted that till date we were unable to act upon his advice.

Alvi said that as a nation we needed to shift our focus from power politics, and should shift our focus on providing quality education to our children and youth. He said that the government, High Education Commission (HEC) and educational institutions, both in private and public sectors, should devise concrete and speedy pathways to ensure that no student was denied admission in higher education on any pretext or reason.

The President said that Allama Iqbal Open University and VU were doing an excellent job of providing cost effective and quality education to the youth and endorsed the VU’s plan to provide virtual education to Afghanistan, and other countries which were in need of cost-effective quality education.

Earlier, VU Rector, Prof Dr Arshad Saleem Bhatti, said that VU, established in 2002, was providing higher education and skill training in the IT sector to the country’s youth and had become one of the largest universities in Pakistan in terms of student enrolment. He stated that 160,000 students were currently enrolled in various programmes of the VU whereas 8,000 foreign students were also enrolled. He added that VU was providing the most cost-effective, flexible, inclusive and accessible higher education in the country, besides providing scholarships and awards to the deserving students. He informed that VU was also working on the development of differently-abled friendly and accessible course content. The President also conferred degrees, and distributed gold medals and merit certificates among the graduates of VU.