LAHORE : There should be no age limit for students aspiring to be enrolled at universities and colleges, Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yassir Humayun said on Wednesday. He was speaking at a consultative meeting on defining the roadmap for community colleges in Punjab here on Wednesday. The meeting, held at PHEC secretariat at Arfa Software Technology Park (ASTP), was chaired by the minister and attended by Director General (QA & A) Zia Batool, Special Secretary Higher Education Department (HED) Sajid Zafar Dall, academicians and senior officials. The minister said the government was focusing on strengthening the knowledge and economy of the country by facilitating the access to avenues of education,  “Skill-based education is the fundamental factor of this knowledge-intensive economy; community colleges in Punjab are going to become the hub of skill-based education as the government lays special attention on it” he said, adding that there was a huge gap in the industry and academia which needed to be bridged by engaging the local chambers of commerce and industry in the development of curriculum and subject streams for the students.

 

The minister said that community colleges project of the government of Punjab was a step towards imparting demand-based education which would equip the students with two-year Associate Bachelor Degree in market-driven subjects, allowing them to enter into the job market soon after their graduation.

Sharing the future vision of the government, Raja Yassir said the government had envisaged establishment of new universities in six districts of Punjab, for which sufficient funds had been allocated.

He said that colleges in Punjab would be affiliated with and overseen by their concerned district/ division universities.

He said the universities, colleges, and local industry would be taken on board while finalization of the syllabus and curriculum for the community colleges. “The ‘disconnect’ of academia with industry would be turned into ‘connect’ by aligning the curriculum with the local needs of the society,” he said. “This meeting would help define the future roadmap of the community colleges” he further told.  The participants also shared their views on the possible contours of the roadmap for the community colleges. At this occasion Director General PHEC Ms. Zia Batool said that in order to produce more productive student, suited for local industry, local context should also be accounted for while defining the roadmap. VC QAU Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali said that there was a trust deficit between academia and local industry there needed to engage the local chamber of commerce and industry in the curriculum development, internships and training of the graduating students.

           VC Home Economics University Dr. Kanwal Ameen while sharing his views said that more focus should be given on life and communication skills of the students, adding that these skills must be embedded in the curriculum of community colleges.