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SAARC-Chamber SAARC Chamber nominates VC PU Zaffar Mueen Nasir to head its "Education Reforms Committee"
SAARC-Chamber SAARC Chamber nominates VC PU Zaffar Mueen Nasir to head its "Education Reforms Committee"

LAHORE: (Wednesday, December 27, 2017): South Asia Association of Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an apex body in the region has nominated VC PU Dr Zaffar Mueen Nasir to head its high level “Education Reforms Committee” for promotion of common education agenda in the South Asian region to improve quality and efficiency in higher education. According to a press release issued here today, the decision was taken by a committee of SAARC Chamber chaired by its President Suraj Vaidya recently at a meeting held in Nepal. The names of other candidates drawn from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Bhutan and Pakistan were considered and finally VC PU was selected through transparent process of selection on merit based on his lifelong academic expertise and vast research experience in the field of education. VP SAARC Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik represented Pakistan. SAARC Chamber will seek administrative and educational expertise from the Punjab University. VP SAARC Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik said shortage of qualified and trained teachers is hampering efforts in most of the region to enhance the quality of education. On the one hand, recruiting qualified, trained and committed teachers is one challenge the South Asian countries are facing, on the other, distributing recruited teachers in an equitable manner is another challenge. “To achieve universal education, additional 196 thousand teachers have to be recruited in South Asia,” adding he said the SAARC educational chapter studied and examined thoroughly at a special meeting of the educational wing of the chamber on common educational agenda held recently in Nepal and finally it was decided in principal to seek collaboration from PU to raise the productivity of the graduates through quality education and practical knowledge to contribute in a significant way to the national economy. After the approval of his name, Iftikhar Malik said that he held a detailed meeting with VC Dr Zaffar Mueen Nasir about gender disparities in adult literacy in Pakistan. He appreciated the role of the Punjab University for raising the female literacy level to give the best educational environment to female students. He said the VC apprised him of the adult literacy rates for male and female population (age 15 years and over) being 74 per cent and 52 per cent respectively. Striking gender gap in adult literacy rates prevail in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With adult GPI at 0.46 and 0.63 for Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively, it is clear that major efforts are needed to raise the female literacy level for these countries, in particular, and the SAARC region in general. He said that it was also noted at the meeting that PU, an oldest seat of learning in the sub -continent since 1882 has been vigorously implementing on a tailored program to achieve the target of quality education, promotion international level research on modern scientific lines and revision of current syllabi in all faculties on market oriented basis besides monitoring the overall performance of the teachers in addition to the enforcement of merit as well as transparency in all disciplines. He said that participants of the meeting each from member countries were of the view that PU can play a vital role for pursing common education agenda in these countries. He said that the priority areas of action decided upon include enhancing the learning ,ensuring education for all, expanding skill development, facilitating mutual recognition of qualifications ,mobility of students and teachers and expanding alternative ways of learning like open and distance education. Iftikhar said that SAARC chamber proposed university will attract students from all SAARC chamber nations and its degrees are recognized by all eight SAARC countries. Tuitions will be heavily subsidised on the pattern of PU and compensation packages have been designed to attract high quality faculty. Though significant, this development is just a beginning and must be further reinforced by promoting investments outside of government institutions to attract the best minds amongst scholars of South Asia.