Feb 25, 2009
Atta wants more funds for education
Former chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rehman has said solution to many problems of Pakistan lies in development of education and allocating maximum funds for this sector. He was speaking as chief guest at the inauguration of the three-day 29th Congress of Zoology International organised by the Department of Zoology, University of Sindh, on Tuesday. Scholars and zoologists from the universities of Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh are attending the congress. Dr Atta said the defence of a country does not depend on construction of roads, dams or buildings but a country can be defended through its educational system. He said during the last six years the system of education has changed and witnessed many reforms in higher education. He said Pakistan is investing very low percentage of its GNP on overall education — 1.9 per cent — which is not enough for the development of education. Dr Atta said there is a difference between college and university education. He added that college education’s responsibility lies on the students while a university has big responsibility and is judged on its ability to create new knowledge by producing persons who are job creators, not job seekers. Referring to three universities of the Asia region, he said he had the opportunity of witnessing the convocation of Chinwag University of China, where in a single year 1,100 students received PhD degrees while its total enrolment was 33,000 and production of 1,100 PhD was normal. The second was National University of Singapore which ranked 19th in world universities and its normal budget was $800 million and the Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, established in the 60s, had produced 3,000 PhD scholars in Science and Technology during the last 25 years. He regretted “our all Science and Technology universities have produced only 6 PhD scholars during the last 60 years.” He said the universities are judged from their faculty and a good university has a ratio of 15-1 students-teacher. He added that during the chairmanship of the HEC his entire efforts were dedicated to faculty development to send them aboard for PhD so that they come back and serve their universities better. He said during his tenure 4,000 scholars had been sent abroad who were selected from among 20 to 25,000 candidates, adding that 300 scholars had returned after completing PhD. ìIt is now our job to make sure to provide good environment to them.î He said during the last six years enrolment in the universities has more than doubled. He said now-a-days a culture of research has developed and digital library system is available with 25,000 research journals and 45,000 ebooks which is hardly available to the US and EU universities. He said a 4-year degree programme was introduced in the universities and all reforms introduced by the HEC were implemented by the Sindh University first among all public-sector universities. He said whatever the problems of the country these days they can be resolved only through education. He said now the country has overcome financial crisis and expressed the hope that the announcement of the prime minister about availability of funds to the universities would be materialised.