New Education Policy: VCs, stakeholders present various suggestions for incorporation

ISLAMABAD: Vice Chancellors of the universities and other stakeholders on Thursday presented various suggestions for incorporating in new education policy set to be announced on 23rd March 2021.

They also demanded for declaring education emergency across the country and spending four percent of GDP on education.

The speakers were addressing an important online panel discussion successfully concluded here on the topic of “Debating Pakistan Education Policy 2021.It was arranged prior to 3rd Rectors Conference 2021.

The panel comprising of concerned stakeholders including government officials from Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training, Vice Chancellors , Central President Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association.

The panel discussion was organised by Superior University, Association of Private Sector Universities Pakistan (APSUP), Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS), University of Lahore, and Government College University Lahore.

There was consensus among the speakers over declaring education emergency, spending at least 4% of GDP on education and allocating one third of education budget over universities, discouraging rote learning and improving assessment at intermediate level, respecting , protecting autonomy of universities and academic freedom at university campuses, review of recent undergraduate and PhD policies.

They also called for formulation of policies in consultation of stakeholders, introducing one window procedure for award of charters, recognition of universities and approval of new academic programs to avoid years long delays, encouraging role of private sector in enhancing access to higher education, ensuring effective engagement of students through strengthening student societies/clubs & directorate of student affairs and restoration of 75% tax rebate for researchers.

The panel discussion was conducted by Murtaza Noor Executive Director APSUP while Mr. Mohiuddin Wani Additional Secretary/Focal Person Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training shared the background, objectives and consultation process in formulating new education policy.

Vice Chancellor University of South Asia and former Education Minister Punjab, Mian Imran Masood highlighted importance and contribution of private sector in higher education and recommended equal treatment to public and private sector universities in terms of policies and funding.

Vice Chancellor GCU Lahore Dr Asghar Zaidi emphasised over innovations in student societies/clubs as they should start thinking about contributing to the societal issues rather than restricting themselves to the university/ departmental level activities only.

Rector International Islamic University Islamabad, Dr Masoom Yasinzai suggested for award of 50 scholarships each for the faculty of nine public sector universities of Balochistan at Chinese universities so that they, as trained human resource, may play an effective role in CPEC related projects.

Vice Chancellor Islamia University Bahawalpur Dr Athar Mehboob and Vice Chancellor University of Hazara Dr Jamil Ahmed were of the view that special attention should be paid to resolve the problems being faced by the universities in far flung areas.

They also recommended that policies in higher education should be aligned with ground realities and based on proper situational analysis, data and proper consultation with the stakeholders and end-users. Head Campus SZABIST Larkana Dr Zahida Abro underlined importance of active and effective participation of women in education sector and demanded immediate steps in this regard.

Secretary IBCC Dr Ghulam Ali Mallah talked about uniformity in assessment and discouraging rote learning at intermediate level through learning from best practices and enhancing capacity of intermediate boards.

Central President Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association, Dr Sohail Yousaf suggested that new education policy should incorporate protecting autonomy of the universities, academic freedom and sufficient funding to the universities.