SUKKUR - The Sindh government is endeavoring hard to overcome the shortcomings it is facing in the education sector.

These views were expressed by Sindh Education and Literacy Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar while speaking at a seminar titled “The concept of the community colleges” held at Sukkur IBA University on Wednesday.

According to him, the Sindh government is also planning to establish 150 community colleges throughout the Sindh province to bridge the gap between rural and urban divide.

“We are short of teachers to the extent that, at some schools, there is only one teacher for every hundred students and to overcome this shortage, we are going to recruit 5,000 teachers especially for the subjects including, English, mathematics, science and computer science.

He said, the dropout ratio in the province was increasing and therefore we started stipend for the girl students from class six to 10, while students from class nine to 12 are being provided with free books. Sukkur IBA University is doing a marvelous job in the field of higher education and the success is attributed to its Vice Chancellor Professor Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui and faculty, he added.

In his welcome address, Sukkur IBA University Vice Chancellor Professor Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui said that normally the intermediate students coming from government colleges possessed the capability of class eight, which was very disturbing. To overcome this, the students seeking admission in Sukkur IBA University through National Talent Hunt Program have to undergo six months foundation semester, during which they are taught English, mathematics and computer science, which is the base of higher education, he said.

Besides, we are running community colleges in Upper Sindh with the aim to minimise gap between urban and rural divide, he went on telling at community colleges students not only get quality academic education, but also offered vocational training. The education at community colleges is two-pronged, in a first, the students get strong base to go for the higher education and secondly, they can go find some skilled job after completing certificate course under vocational training, he said. This is the way to give access to the underprivileged students to the quality education, he said.

President Johnson County Community College USA Dr Joseph M Sopcich said there was a remarkable collaboration between Sukkur IBA University and Johnson County Community College USA. Shedding light on the community college and its role in workforce development and higher education, he said, it’s the objective of the community colleges to serve everyone without any discrimination. At community colleges in the USA people are learning to transform lives and strengthen communities, he said. He said, at community colleges we provide quality education and vocational training, adding, this is where your tomorrow starts.

Executive Director HEC Islamabad said education is the best diplomacy to bring people together.

He said around 3,700 colleges throughout Pakistan are affiliated with different universities and we are planning to affiliate community colleges, as well.

Cultural Attache US Consulate Karachi Dr Daniel Lee, Professor of English at Johnson County Community College USA Professor Dr Beth Gulley, Vice Chancellor Sindh University Jamshoro Professor Dr Fateh Mohammad Barfat, Vice Chancellor Quid-e-Azam University Islamabad Professor Dr Javed Ashraf, Vice Chancellor Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar Professor Dr Razia Sultana, Chairperson Punjab Higher Education Commission Professor Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin and others also spoke on the occasion.

Director Distance Education Sukkur IBA University Dr Fida Hussain Chang briefed the audience about the concept of the Sukkur IBA University community colleges. In the evening, round table discussion took place between the academia and industry.

Later, souvenirs and cultural gifts were given to the honorable guests. The conference came to an end with the gala dinner.