“Government spending on education accounts for only 1.9 per cent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP),” Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) former chairman Attaur Rehman said on Tuesday.
Addressing the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) faculty at the New Senate Hall, he said Pakistan was among countries where governments spend the least on education.
Rehman said the government had announced plans to allocate 5 per cent of the budget on education. He said the move would bring positive results in terms of poverty alleviation and achieving prosperity.
Citing examples of Malaysia and China, he said quality education led to socio-education development. “India will have as many as 200 new universities over the next five years,” he said.
He said higher education was an indicator which could be used to measure a country’s development plans, its uplift policies and its doctrine of growth.
Rehman said excellence in sciences was the need of hour to be competitive in the world.
He said massive online open courses (MOOC) were gaining popularity as they provided students an opportunity to interact with world renowned scholars over the internet.
Rehman said modern agricultural practices need to be adopted to ensure food security. “It is important to make sea water usable for agriculture,” he said.
UAF Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad Khan said the UAF was taking all possible steps to impart quality education. “The UAF is among the top 100 world universities for agricultural sciences, according to rankings by the National Taiwan University (NTU),” he said.
Khan said that the university’s research portfolio had crossed Rs2 billion compared to Rs300 million five years ago. He thanked Attaur Rehman for visiting the UAF and delivering a lecture.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2014.