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Pakistan facing the dilemma of COVID-19

KARACHI: Representatives of various public and private higher learning institutions of Pakistan have shown serious concerns over higher education policies and demanded the federal government to impose an ‘educational emergency’ in the country.

There is a dire need for the setup of a national consortium of all stakeholders so that Pakistan Education Policy (PEP) 2021 could be formulated as per the need of the time, they said.

The officials of the various public and private universities, higher learning institutions, and the federal ministry expressed these views while attending a seminar held at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi (UoK).

The seminar was mutually organized by the Federal Ministry for Education and Professional Training, Association of Private Sector Universities Pakistan (APSUP), Inter-University Consortium, and ICCBS – University of Karachi. The seminar was conducted with the objective to provide the federal government with concrete recommendations for the formulation of the Pakistan Education Policy 2021.

Additional Secretary of Education, Federal Ministry, Mohiuddin Wani, also spoke on the occasion. Prof Dr Iqbal Choudhary, Director of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, delivered welcome remarks, while APSUP Executive Director, Muhammad Murtaza Noor, conducted the seminar.

The names of the higher learning institutions that attended the seminar included the Malir University of Science and Technology, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Sir Syed University of Engineering, Institute of Medical Sciences, Indus University, MAJU, BBSUL, Iqra University Karachi, ILMA University, IBA, SBB Dewan University, Superior University – Lahore, ZABIST-Karachi, Dow Medical University, and ICCBS – University of Karachi.

The Federal Ministry’s official, Mohiuddin Wani, said that the country was facing the dilemma of COVID-19 that had already exposed the country’s vulnerability. He pointed out that everyone was a stakeholder in the education sector. The federal government is in need of suggestions and ideas from the stakeholders of the higher education sector so that the PEP 2021 could be devised for a better future of the country, he stated.

He asked the participants of the seminar to guide us on how to improve higher education in Pakistan.

The participants demanded the government to involve all stakeholders in the formulation of educational policies in the country. They asked the concerned authorities to devise policies for the most important sector of education by realizing the ground realities of the country.

They said that various challenges have risen in current times, including, but not limited to poor infrastructure and other resource gaps, lack of sound research-based studies, very weak industry linkages, lagging behind international standards/systems/ accreditation requirements, modernization of global systems, and economies, beginning of new realities like pandemics (such as COVID), natural disasters, climate change, a shift in the nature of knowledge and design of modern economies and societies.

February 5, 2021

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