LAHORE  - The Vice Chancellors Committee set up by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has given a final shape to the future roadmap of higher education in Punjab.

Under the roadmap, besides establishment of an international standard Information Technology and Technical University at Knowledge Park in Lahore, up-gradation of existing sub-campuses of public sector universities, granting status of full-fledged universities to some major government colleges and improvement of the infrastructure of the existing universities, development projects worth Rs34.6 billion would be completed during the five years period from 2014 to 2018. 

An action plan has also been evolved for spending a further amount of 30 billion rupees on infrastructure development during the next five years period.

This was informed in a briefing on future of higher education at a meeting presided over by Provincial Education Minister Rana Mashhood. Vice Chancellor University of Engineering and Technology Lahore Lt General (r) Akram Khan, PU Vice Chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran, GCU Vice Chancellor Dr Khaliq ur Rehman, LUMS VC Dr Sohail H Naqvi, Chairman Steering Committee on Education Prof Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, Secretary Higher Education Punjab Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Additional Secretary Shahid Zaman, Director British Council Pakistan Peter Upton, Director British Council Punjab Richard Weyers, Director Education British Council Islamabad Nishat Riaz and Manager Higher Education Muhammad Ali attended the meeting.

Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan thanked British Council Pakistan for playing a key role in achieving millennium development goals for the promotion of school education in Punjab and expressed hope that British Council will also provide technical assistance in raising the standard of higher education in Punjab to the international level.

Head of Vice Chancellors’ Committee Lt General (Retd) Muhammad Akram Khan informed the meeting that under the future plan, projects of 3 billion rupees have been given a final shape. Moreover, infrastructure of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering & Technology in Multan will be completed at a cost of Rs3.8 billion rupees and one billion rupees will be spent on the project in the first phase. He informed that 850 acre land at Dera Rakh Chal Badian Road Lahore has been allocated for the knowledge park. He said that out of this, sub-campuses of world renowned universities will be set up over 400 acre land which also include Pakistan’ public sector IT and Technical University. This state of the art university will be set up over 100 acres of land, he added. He said that the remaining 400 acres of land of the knowledge park will be utilized for providing the facility of housing to foreign universities, setting up of ICT companies and provision of recreational facilities.  Director Pakistan British Council, Peter Upton said that his institution is ready to hold 10-day workshop for the professional development of vice chancellors associated with higher education, principals and head teachers of schools. He informed that due to efforts of British Council, 8 international universities of Britain, Turkey and Malaysia are willing to establish their sub-campuses in Knowledge Park Lahore while British Council is also in contact with 350 experts associated with research networking and academics who will make possible investment of educational institutions in the knowledge park.  Rana Mashhood informed that Punjab government welcomed arrival of international universities of the world in Knowledge Park Lahore and will serve as a catalyst in this process.

He said that separate academic areas of 30 to 50 acres land have been reserved for ten international universities in the knowledge park. He said that Punjab government will conduct a knowledge park road-show and international educational conference in Knowledge Park Lahore in which 150 senior research experts from America, Britain, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and India will participate. He said the government will ensure that the research conducted in Pakistani universities should help alleviate poverty in the country.