ISLAMABAD-Federal Minister for Planning and Development (P&D) on Wednesday said government will allocate improved budget for the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the next fiscal year.

Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said this in a seminar held on “Knowledge Economy: The Path to Speedy and High-Quality Growth,” at National University of Science and Technology (NUST).

The minister said that HEC development budget in 2017-18 was Rs16.4 billion while in 2018 it was increased to Rs18.8 billion. He also added that development expenses of HEC have also doubled and government has to consider strategic planning to overcome the challenges of research and development.

“All stakeholders need to work on single platform for best research,” he said.

He urged academics and researchers to align knowledge creation and innovation with real world problems, and stressed the need for building indigenous capabilities in terms of technological advancement and human resource development, so as to reduce and eventually eliminate foreign dependency.

Chairman PM Taskforce on Knowledge Economy, Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, presented salient prospects of “Leveraging Science and Technology for Building National Innovation Systems in the 21st century and the roadmap to kick starting knowledge economy.”

He said that China in last one year sent 500,000 of its students in other countries for education and around 74 percent scholars returned and were working in their country.

He also said that world is changing rapidly and Pakistan has to equip its youth with modern tools and technology.

Chairman HEC, Dr Tariq Banuri, talked about “The role of HEC towards National Development and Growth” and shared his thoughts on transforming this sector to embrace innovation-led development and accelerate knowledge-based economy.

Advisor to the PM on Digital Pakistan Initiative, Ms Tania Aidrus, elaborated on her vision of “Fostering Digital Pakistan Vision as a Powerful Initiative for the Development of Knowledge Economy.”