Minister: (Strong foundation of knowledge economy and inclusive growth laid through vision 2025, says Ahsan Iqbal)

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said that present government has laid strong foundation of knowledge economy by focusing greatly on education sector in its Vision-2025.

He said the old paradigm of education like memorization has lost the relevance and now the education system based on critical thinking, creativity, innovation and problem-solving approach is need of the hour.

Any country that has strong knowledge base and innovation will progress and those with weak base are bound to perish. Inclusive growth policy of government lays special emphasis on development of backward areas like Balochistan.

He expressed these views while speaking to members of teaching staff from different universities of Balochistan who visited Planning Commission on Tuesday. The Minister welcoming the members of teaching staff from Balochistan universities said that knowledge is important in human civilization right from the beginning and world entered into knowledge era in the 21st century after passing through agriculture era and industrial age.

He said present knowledge era warrants new thinking and tools to match with the pace of fast developing world and said that Pakistan needs to follow the footsteps of developed nation by promoting culture of critical thinking and innovation.

He said teacher holds the key for a knowledge based society and it is only possible it teacher is also trained and groomed on the lines of critical thinking and innovation. Quoting from Quran, Minister said observation and question is the most fundamental source of knowledge that Allah ordained in it.

He called upon the teachers to adopt the new techniques of teaching which help in developing the questioning minds of the students and make the class rooms interactive places rather than a lecture room.

He said present government attaches great importance to education sector, which is reflected from the increase in budget from Rs.43 billion to Rs.78 billion for higher education in last two years.

Speaking about the various initiatives for education sector, minister stated, Higher Education Commission has been directed to establish campus and sub-campus of universities in all districts of Pakistan to give access of higher education to the youth of the country in next three to four years. He said that to cater the teaching needs of these campuses, ten thousands PhDs will be needed in next ten years.

He said educational projects throughout the country especially in Balochistan it top priority of government. He pointed out that teacher has a transformational role and for this purpose, Transformational Teachers Training Initiative has also been launched, which helped the teachers to adopt the techniques that would make class rooms a pleasant place rather than laborious one for the students.

Speaking about the fast improving situation in Balochistan, Ahsan Iqbal said that the province is fast moving towards normalcy in the last two years and said that present government believed in the participatory model of governance so it scarified its majority by allowing a coalition government headed by a nationalist party of Balochistan.

He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor offers immense dividends to people of Balochistan and project will trigger of socio-economic development in the province. “it will bring a revolution in the lives of people of province when it will be implemented fully”, he said when pointed out that work on missing links in existing road network especially on Western alignment is moving on fast track.

He said Gawadar is gateway of CPEC and though this project the city will be brought at part with the developed port cities like Dubai and Singapore. Ahsan Iqbal said that CPEC is aimed making the country manufacturing hub rather converting it into a container economy and believed Balochistan would be the bigger beneficiary of this industrialization through CPEC.

He said that for economic development, political stability and continuation in policies are of paramount importance. Now we have a stable political system in the country following a smooth transfer of power and bad events of last year also reflected the fact that democracy is firmly rooted having ability to absorbs shocks and upheavals.

The Minister also responded to queries of teaching staff of Balochistan universities and told that seven projects for universities in Balochistan have been launched. He also assured to address reservations viz-a-viz scholarship of HEC for Balochistan.

He also shared with them memories of teaching in Balochistan University of Engineering, Engineering and Management Science (BUITEMS) during 2003-4, which he said that he did out of love for Balochistan to make contribution towards under developed areas.