The government will set up a National Curriculum Council to ensure uniform syllabi in the country.
This was said by Minister of State for Education Muhammad Balighur Rehman on Wednesday. He was addressing the inaugural session of “International Conference on Quality Higher Education 2014” at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML). Rehman said after the18th Constitutional Amendment, the government, in consultation with all the provinces, had decided to set up a national curriculum council to develop a uniform national syllabi for primary, secondary and tertiary education.
“The government plans to increase the education budget from 2 to 4 per cent of GDP.” The Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) budget has been increased from Rs49 billion to Rs58 billion and is likely to increase further in the upcoming year, he added.
Rehman said the HEC was allocating funds, initiating policies and planning to address the increasing number of drop-outs from schools and access to education, particularly to higher education in areas where there were no educational institutions. Only 7.8 per cent people have access to higher education in the age group of 16 to 22 in Pakistan which is quite abysmal, he added.
He said lack of finances was a hurdle in the way of providing education to the country’s young, consideringthat 50 per cent of the population was below the age of 30. He added that although the situation at the higher education level is comparatively better than primary and secondary levels, the number of students who make it to varsities is quite low.
NUML Rector Maj Gen (retd) Masood Hasan said universities are the citadel of knowledge where deliberations are made, where ideas are nurtured, where solutions to challenges are developed. “This is an attempt to bring together researchers in areas of interest including curriculum, methodology, evaluation, professionalism and humanism,” he added.
In order to develop a broad vision for the future of education, he said, they would have to establish communication linkages amongst researchers engaged in thr pursuit of attaining ever-higher quality.
Academic sessions were held on developments and challenges in higher education and quality management in academic practices. The concluding session of the conference will be held on Wednesday.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2014.
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