Syed Ali Qasim
Education is the basic right of every child and is the key to socio-economic development of a country. Since it is the responsibility of the state and government to provide equal educational opportunities to its people, therefore, in order to encourage and promote education, the Punjab government has taken a number of revolutionary steps, which are unprecedented in the history of the country. The untiring efforts by the government have resulted in remarkable increase in its allocation for education i.e. Rs. 313 billion in the recently announced budget.
Moreover, the government also introduced Punjab Educational Endowment Fund for providing scholarships/monetary assistance to talented and needy students so that they may pursue quality education with equal opportunities. Under this programme, 150,000 scholarships worth Rs. 7.5 billion have been awarded to bright and deserving students who otherwise don’t have enough means to bear their educational expenses. It is important to mention here that Punjab Educational Endowment Fund is the largest scholarship endowment fund in the history of the country with a cost of Rs. 16 billion.
Besides, the government also introduced Education Voucher Scheme with the aim to benefit children belonging to less affluent and under-privileged areas, who otherwise cannot get education due to financial and social constraints. Furthermore, in order to spread the use of computers amongst the college/university level students and to bring technological revolution, the government has also initiated Prime Minister’s Youth Laptop Programme. Likewise, Teachers’ Induction Programme has also been launched by the government for imparting better education to students.
In today’s competitive world, education is a necessity for man after food, clothing and shelter. Therefore, it is among the top most priorities of the government and the PML-N leadership is making strenuous efforts for the provision of education to every doorstep. If Shehbaz Sharif’s dream of development of education sector in the Province materializes into reality then that day is not far when Pakistan will also be among the countries with highest literacy rate. It is hoped that the government will remain sincere in its efforts to provide education to every child and the dream of educated Punjab will certainly materialize into reality sooner than later.