President underlines need for making higher educational institutions free from drug and tobacco

Zubair Qureshi

President Dr Arif Alvi has underlined the need for making the higher educational institutions of the country free from drug and tobacco abuse so as to save the young generation from the menace of drugs.

He urged the management of universities to focus on drug prevention in their respective institutions to provide the students with a healthy and enabling environment for their studies.

He said that educational institutions played a central role in shaping the destiny of the nation and it was imperative to provide the students with a drug-free environment.

He stated this while chairing a Follow-up Meeting with the Vice Chancellors Committee on Drug Abuse and Welfare of Differently-abled people, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, Thursday.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) briefed the meeting on the implementation of the decisions made in the Vice Chancellors Committee Meetings in November 2020 and April 2021 to address the issues related to the use of drugs in the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and students with disabilities.

HEC informed that the draft Policy of Drug and Tobacco Abuse had been finalized in the light of direction and guidance provided by the President of Pakistan in the meetings held with the Vice-Chancellors Committee.

It was informed that the Policy had been approved by HEC on 28th July 2021 and the same had been shared with HEIs.

Highlighting the main features of the policy, it was informed that each university would be required to constitute Anti-Drug and Tobacco Committee to prevent drug abuse in universities.

HEC informed that Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), through its National Institute of Phycology in collaboration with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, would train Counsellors, Psychologists and Psychiatrists to provide counselling services to students.

Ministry of Narcotics Control informed the participants that the Ministry had designed a mobile app, “Zindagi” to provide information about the prevention and treatment of drug abuse.

The meeting also discussed the Policy for Students with Disabilities (SWDs) that provided them age relaxation up to 10 years for SWDs to take admission in any educational, technical institutions and universities.

In order to encourage students with disabilities to continue their higher studies, the policy also provided for waiving off all institutional charges, including tuition fees, hostel fees and utility bills.

Vice-Chancellor QAU informed the meeting that his university had already implemented the policy and had started facilitating SWDs.

The President emphasized the need for implementing both policies with regard to drug abuse and the welfare of students with disabilities at the earliest to prevent the proliferation of drugs and facilitate the SWDs.

He also appreciated the work done by the Vice-Chancellors Committee and other stakeholders in formulating the policies on drug abuse and expressed the hope that it would help in containing the proliferation of drugs in educational institutions.

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