Knowledge economy imperative for country’s development: Mukhtar

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Staff Reporter

Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Monday said HEC was committed to its role in developing a prosperous Pakistan through strengthening the basis for a knowledge economy. Addressing a press conference on the occasion of HEC’s 15th anniversary celebrations here, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed gave an overview of commission’s efforts for holistic development of country’s higher education sector.
He was accompanied by Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director HEC and Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, Rector, International Islamic University who is also Chairman of the Vice Chancellors’ Committee, and vice chancellors of local universities while Vice chancellors and university representatives, were connected through video conferencing.
Briefing the media about performance of HEC since its inception in 2002, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said HEC started its journey with only 59 universities in the country, 2.6 per cent gross enrolment, 800 publications, and 3110 PhDs, adding that the number of higher education institutions has now reached 188 with nine per cent gross enrolment, 12000 publications, and 11960 PhDs.
He said that 32 per cent female enrolment has now reached 48 per cent, as HEC is promoting equal higher education opportunities to maintain gender equity.
“So far, HEC has awarded over 251000 scholarships to Pakistani students including indigenous, overseas and need-based scholarships as well as Prime Minister’s fee reimbursement scheme.”
The Chairman said Pakistan emerged in 2016 as a country with highest percentage of highly cited papers as compared to BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries according to a Thompson Reuters report entitled “Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall”.
He informed that 41 per cent of HEC funding goes to human resource development, 33 per cent to ensuring equitable access, 23 per cent to ICT development.
He further said that HEC has allocated funds for construction of 505 academic blocks in universities, of which 357 blocks have been completed and 148 blocks are under construction. “HEC targets ensuring one institution in each district by 2019 without any compromise on quality of education,” he said.
Describing HEC’s steps for development of ICT infrastructure, he said HEC has set up Cloud Data Centre while connecting a large number of universities and colleges in Pakistani cities under Pakistan Education and Research Network. He said HEC plans four new education projects pertaining to Smart University Programme, Education Cloud and Services, PERN, and Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS).