LAHORE - Punjab Education Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman has said that the provincial government for the first time in the countrys history has introduced far-reaching reforms in education sector for improving quality of education and literacy rate to radically uplift socio-economic conditions of people. He was addressing participants of one-day seminar on Regional Economic Cooperation in South Asia organised by the Centre for South Asian Studies, New Campus at its seminar hall here on Wednesday. Former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan, Prof Dr Muhammad Saleem Mazhar and Prof Dr Javed Ahmad also addressed the audience. The minister said the existing 2 per cent allocation for education was raised to 4 per cent, and knowledge of modern sciences and technology was imparted to the young generation, Pakistan could not achieve its rightful and honourable place in the comity of advanced nations. Giving details of the revolutionary measures adopted by the provincial leadership, the minister said presently there was not a single ghost school in the entire province. He said a huge amount equal to total provincial development outlay of Rs 150 billion was required to cater to the missing facilities in all the 63,000 schools of the province. He said the government was extending handsome scholarships to meet the academic expenses of 16,000 students out of the proceeds of Punjab Education Endowment Fund set up with seed money of Rs 2 billion. The private schools were also being compelled to adopt the curriculum of government run schools for enforcement of a uniform system of education. State-of-the-art 2,486 IT labs costing Rs 5 billion have been provided at school level so that the students could benefit from the latest computer and internet facility. He said Punjab had taken the lead in introducing BS 4-years programme in 26 colleges of the province to ensure high-quality education to student community. Delivering his address, former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan observed that 57 Muslim countries possessed 70 per cent reserves of oil and gas of the world but their share in world GDP is only 5 percent. He said the weakest link responsible for our economic backwardness was the criminal neglect shown to educational promotion by our successive rulers. He said we could not achieve 100 per cent literacy target by setting up islands of state-of-the-art academic institutions for children of affluent classes surrounded by a sea of countless government schools meant for students coming from resource-less and deprived families. Prof Dr Muhammad Saleem Mazhar and Prof Dr Javed Ahmad also addressed the audience.