A high level delegation of Qatar belonging to the education sector called on the Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif here today. The delegation included Resource Mobilization Manager of Special Programs Division of Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development of the Islamic Development Bank Mr. Dawood S. Al Bourshaid, Chief Executive Officer of Education Above All Fahad Hamad Hassan al Sulaiti and other high officials. During the meeting different matters pertaining to education, especially promotion of bilateral cooperation in skills development, came under discussion, and it was agreed to promote partnership in this sector.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, on the occasion, said that he is ever-ready to extend his cooperation for the promotion of education, and observed that promotion of education helps in the development of the country. He said that promotion of education is the top priority of the Punjab government; and added that every sort of recourses will be provided for educating the youth.
He said that Punjab government has granted the youth their basic right of education as students’ enrollment ratio has been sufficiently increased due to the steps of government. “Provision of recourses for empowerment of the youth is not expenditure, but a beneficial investment.” He said that provision of technical and vocational education to the youth is the need of the hour; and proposed that cooperation with regard to skills development should be promoted with the Punjab government. He said that empowerment of the youth through skills development is his mission as youth is the greatest asset of the country.
The Chief Minister further said that the new generation holds the key of national development and prosperity; and proposed that joint efforts should be made to further empower the new generation though skills development. He said that bright future of the country has been secured by setting up Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF).
More than two lakh financially-challenged students, from across the country, are benefiting from PEEF which is the largest program of its kind, not only in Pakistan, but in the whole of the south Asia, as well. Educational stipends worth Rs. 11 billion have been distributed purely on merit from the income of educational fund worth Rs. 17.5 billion. PEEF has opened the doors of higher education to the bright but deserving children of hoi polloi. This is not only benefiting the students from Punjab, but male and female students from other provinces including Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, are also fully benefiting from this most beneficial educational program of the Punjab government.
It is important to note that bright PEEF beneficiaries are getting higher education in different national and international universities. He disclosed that an amount of Rs. 5 billion will be provided to this unique education program in upcoming provincial budget to enhance the total volume of this fund to Rs. 22 billion.
He further informed that 25 lakh deserving students are getting education through the platform of Punjab Education Foundation; while lakhs of laptops have also been given to bright students purely on merit. He said that child labor has been totally eliminated from brick kiln sector and assured that this menace will also be eliminated from auto workshops, hotels and petrol pumps.
The Chief Minister expressed the satisfaction that the menace of pledging the families through monetary advance payments for child labour has been eliminated and the lives of these children have been saved from the clutches of poverty and ignorance. He told that more than 80 thousands children of brick kiln workers’ children have been enrolled in schools by the Punjab government under education package; and added that every child has been provided free books, uniform and stationery items, besides provision of one thousand monthly stipend. Similarly, parents of the school going children have also been given stipends.
Forcing the children to work is a social as well as economic evil. The meeting mutually decided to enhance cooperation in skills development. Provincial Minister for Schools Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed, Chairman Punjab Education Foundation Engr Qamar ul Islam Raja, Chief Secretary, Secretary Schools Education and senior officials were present on the occasion.