ISLAMABAD - President Mamnoon Hussain has reiterated the commitment of the government towards promotion of quality education at all levels with focus on developing an educational system that is compatible with the requirements of knowledge-based economy.

The president said this during his meeting with a group of vice-chancellors and rectors of the leading universities of the country here at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Monday. The country needs skilled, highly educated and motivated youth to compete in the present global environment and keep Pakistan progressing on the path of development, the president said, adding that well-educated and fully trained youth could turn around all of national challenges into opportunities.

The heads of universities who called on the president included Vice Admiral (Retd) Shahid Iqbal, rector Bahria University Islamabad, Imran Rahman, vice chancellor Institute of Space Technology Islamabad, Dr Muhammad Aslam, rector Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences Islamabad, Prof Javed Akram, vice-chancellor Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University Islamabad, and Prof Dr Ali Asghar Chisti, acting vice-chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad. Engr Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, acting chairman Higher Education Commission, and Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, executive director HEC, were also present on the occasion.

Underscoring the significance of knowledge-based economy, the president urged the need for universities and educational institutions to maintain the spirit of excellence and generate new avenues of sustainable growth with focus on developing a knowledge-based economy. The president said that in present era of technological development where innovations in technologies and new scientific knowledge were becoming prime drivers of economic progress, the role of universities had become even more critical.

As human knowledge makes great strides, the role of the universities as centres of research, teaching and excellence has assumed greater importance, the president remarked and urged the heads of the universities and institutions of higher learning to rise to the globally changing environment, make pace with the global scientific and technological development and play role in the human, social and economic development of Pakistan.

The president while highlighting the critical role of the universities in nation-building process and human resource development called upon the vice chancellors to further focus on promoting excellence in learning and research so as to prepare the youth of the country to compete at global level and cope with the growing future challenges. He also appreciated the efforts of HEC that helped seven universities achieve top ranks amongst top 200 Asian universities. The president also urged to provide an environment conducive to research in science and technology and free of any disturbance including strikes and unionism.

On female education, the president urged the need for focusing on promoting women education so as to make Pakistani women strong enough to face the challenges of life with the strength of their minds, besides enabling the women of the country to participate more effectively in the decision-making process. Stressing on women empowerment, the president said that women, which accounted for over 50 per cent of the country’s total population, had greater role to play in the nation-building process and socioeconomic development of the country. He laid great emphasis on women education and urged the need for more concerted efforts to equip the women of the country with the steel armour of knowledge and relevant skills to utilise their potential and bring them into the mainstream of national life.

The vice chancellors thanked the president for sparing for the meeting and his keen interest in the promotion of education in the county. They apprised the president of academic activities, achievements, ongoing and future projects and plans and different issues of their respective universities.

The president assured all possible support and patronage to the heads of the universities in the promotion of education in Pakistan.