Wednesday June 19, 2024

The News Education Expo helps youth gain info about higher education

By Yousuf Katpar
June 09, 2024
Sindh Education Minister Sardar Ali Shah (L to 3rd) along with Jang Media Group Managing Director Sarmad Ali (R to 3rd) cut the ribbon to inaugurate the two-day 16th The News Education Expo at Karachi Expo Centre on June 8, 2024. — Facebook/Syed Sardar Ali Shah
Sindh Education Minister Sardar Ali Shah (L to 3rd) along with Jang Media Group Managing Director Sarmad Ali (R to 3rd) cut the ribbon to inaugurate the two-day 16th The News Education Expo at Karachi Expo Centre on June 8, 2024. — Facebook/Syed Sardar Ali Shah

The two-day 16th The News Education Expo commenced on Saturday at Karachi's Expo Centre with an aim to bridge the gap between students and universities.

Sindh Education Minister Sardar Ali Shah inaugurated the mega education event organised by the Jang Media Group. There were about 65 stalls where representatives of local and foreign universities as well as career consultants offered guidance to visitors interested in pursuing higher studies. The expo will continue till today (Sunday).

The visitors included students who had just taken their intermediate exams, as well as those already studying in universities and looking for opportunities to pursue further studies abroad.

"We are currently pursuing our bachelor's degree, but visited stalls of different universities to seek information about courses and processes for master's programmes abroad," Zoha, a Pharm D first-year student, said, speaking to The News.

She came with her three classmates — Shaloon, Hiba and Raina. "We also looked at the fee structures of different universities," she added.

Hiba said they also explored options for transferring to a university that might be better than their current one. They lauded the expo, saying such events were greatly helpful and should be organised more often.

Some youngsters came with parents and family members while others with friends and classmates.

Marriam Nasir, who was visiting the expo with her cousin Reham Anwar, said, "I am currently studying electrical engineering at the Fast university. I sought information about master's programmes in this field abroad."

Reham, who has just passed her intermediate exam, wanted to pursue software engineering. Although she visited different stalls, her main interest was getting admission to the Fast University.

"I also visited Greenwich University stall to inquire about scholarships," she added. "Since I have just completed my intermediate, they said they will award scholarships based on my percentage."

At the Path Master counseling stall, Salman and Saleha assisted students interested in studying abroad. "Students are looking for the best courses that suit their qualifications, considering where they can easily gain admission, obtain a visa, and the tuition fees of the universities," said Salman.

"Our specific focus is on courses abroad, so most queries we receive are about foreign universities," said Saleha.

The Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (Szabist) stall had separate counters for various courses offered by the institute. Syed Muhammad Hassan, who was assisting students interested in computer science, told The News that most visitors to the stall inquired about admissions.

Muhammad Shakir, who handled queries about artificial intelligence (AI), said that most students asked about computer science and AI courses, given the current trends.

After the inauguration, the education minister visited stalls of different universities and interacted with their representatives.

Speaking to the media, Shah lauded the Jang Media Group for organising the expo in cities of the country. "This event is an example of the media's social responsibility and commitment to future generations to providing access to quality education. This is a commendable initiative. I extend my heartfelt appreciation for this effort. From Mir Khaleelur Rehman to Mir Shakeelur Rehman and Mir Ibrahim, they have always been keen on and supportive of education," he added.

The minister said this was the first time he had visited an education expo at the Expo Centre as usually furniture and other types of expos were held here. "Sindh is the only province that offers 7,000 scholarships under the government’s Peoples Scholarship Programme. Talented and deserving students can study for free at any top university in Pakistan," he said, expressing willingness to collaborate with the Jang Media Group to spread awareness about this initiative at the expo, where universities had gathered under one roof. Shah said the school and college education departments intended to celebrate 'Science in Sindh' year at the schools and college levels. The concluding event would be held in Karachi with work of best performers to be exhibited, he added.

"There are about 65 stalls of various universities. This expo has been taking place since 2008, marking the 16th year of the event this year," Jang Media Group Managing Director Sarmad Ali said.

"Just like corporate social responsibility, the media also has social responsibility towards society," he added. "We have created a platform for both parents and students under one roof to choose a course of their interest," he said, adding that virtual expos were held in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in 2022, we switched to in-person event. "The response this year is even better than the last two years," he said.

Sarmad lamented that it was unfortunate that education was not a priority in our country. "We cannot take the country forward unless we prioritise education. If we focus on education, our children will get educated and we will have an enlightened and moderate society. Without it, extremism and many other ills rear their ugly head," he said, calling for the federal government to allocate a minimum four per cent of the GDP for education as without it an enlightened society would be impossible. He emphasised the need for the provincial governments to focus on education and health.