Punjab to implement seven-point agenda to upgrade higher education

LAHORE, Pakistan: The Punjab government has set a seven-point agenda to overcome the shortage of PhD faculty members, raise the higher education standards to international level, and tackle the prevailing educational challenges head-on.

This was stated by Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Chairperson Prof Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin while talking to a group of journalists here on Tuesday.

He said that Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif gave him the task of implementing the educational agenda and preparing the education structure to meet the future challenges of market economy.

According to PHEC chairperson, the seven-point agenda includes– establishment of three world class faculty training academies, special scholarships for PhDs at college and university levels, establishment of digital libraries, community colleges at division level, production of graduates in accordance with the market needs, launching of research programmes at all levels of higher education in various sectors, arranging for a number of activities including workshops, exhibitions, conferences, and giving travelling incentives to teachers for attending various programmes outside the country to observe the updated research trends in the developed world.

To a question, Dr Nizam said that Punjab was facing dearth of over 5000 PhD teachers in colleges and universities and the PHEC would focus on this specific goal during the next couple of years. He said that the Punjab chief minister wanted revolutionary steps in this field with the aim to equip the future generation with knowledge, which could help realise their potential to the optimum level. He said that research grant programme would be launched in the higher education institutions and all stakeholders including academia, industry and the government would be taken on board to promote world class research culture.

To another query, he said that the PHEC, keeping in view the financial implications of the project, has demanded an amount of four billion rupees in the next fiscal year for the current expenditures. He said that it was very unfortunate that there was not a single academy for the faculty training, like the Civil Services Academy for the civil servants.

He said that in the next fiscal year, PHEC would initiate regular training programmes for teachers, educational endowment schemes in higher education institutions across the province and internships to the fresh graduates to equip them with the market-based knowledge.