Promoting higher education

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PML-N Government has taken another step forward in fulfilment of its pledges to promote education and afford equal opportunities to all segments of the society and regions for the purpose. Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, on Wednesday, announced setting up of university campuses in major districts of the country to ease access to education.
Establishment of full-fledged universities at districts’ level, obviously, requires much investment and effort especially in the case of professional universities and therefore, the decision to set up sub-campuses is step in the right direction. The project seems to have been meticulously planned as in the first phase preference has been given to backwards areas and regions. The largest number of campuses (11) would be in Balochistan, followed by Sindh (6), KPK (5) and Gilgit-Baltistan (3), which would immensely benefit students from these areas who cannot afford to move out to other cities for higher education because of financial constraints. The decision to introduce marketable programmes as per local requirements and needs in different campuses also means early placement of graduates in jobs and their contribution in the development of their areas. Surely, this step would accelerate socio-economic development in poor and neglected areas and would be welcomed by those who cannot pursue higher education because of access issues. But access has relevance not just to location but also affordability of the education and with this in view we would suggest that the Government should subsidize higher education in these campuses. Similarly, to make the plan more meaningful and relevant, Southern Punjab and FATA should also be included in the first priority districts, in view of their backwardness as ongoing problems, emanate from poverty and ignorance.