RAWALPINDI - President Mamnoon Hussain has said that the government is fully committed to the cause of education and is undertaking all possible measures to make education affordable and accessible to all people of the country.

"Education is one of the main contributing factors to address the challenges being faced by Pakistan. It is the only key to success and steer the country out of crises," he added.

The President said this while addressing as chief guest the 8th convocation of Riphah International University (RIU) held at Jinnah Convention Centre on Saturday. Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius Dr Ahmed Rashid Beebeejaun and Executive Director Higher Education Commission (HEC) Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmed were the guests of honour on the occasion.

More than 660 graduates and postgraduates of the university were awarded degrees at the convocation. They belong to various faculties including faculty of health and medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, management sciences, engineering and applied sciences, computing, social sciences and humanities, basic sciences and media sciences. Fifteen Zulfiqar Gold Medals and 16 Chancellor's Gold Medals were awarded to the graduates and postgraduates for obtaining top positions in the examinations and securing distinction for their best performance in the academic field in various disciplines.

Addressing the convocation, President Mamnoon congratulated all the graduating students, their parents and the faculty for their continued efforts, devotion and dedication. He wished all passing out students success and luck in their future life and career. He said that education was one of the main contributing factors to address the challenges. The government was giving priority to promote research culture, with focus on capacity building to produce community of individuals who could effectively contribute to Pakistan's economic, political and social development.

"The government is fully committed to the cause of education in the country and is undertaking all possible measures to make education affordable and accessible to all the people of the country," he said, adding that RIU within a decade of its existence has established its campuses in applied sciences within and outside Pakistan. He said being Patron of the university he appreciated the visionary leadership of the university. The President also presented honorary PhD degree of RIU to the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius Dr Ahmed Rashid Beebeejaun.

The deputy prime minister of Mauritius, in his speech, said that he was pleased to be in Pakistan among people with very strong cultural linkages with people of Mauritius. He said he was thankful to RIU for providing him this opportunity.

He said that Mauritius is a comparatively small country but it is striving hard to compete with developed nations. "Our primary targets are improving education, health and quality of life. Through the judicious use of its resources we have attained the Millennium Development Goal 2 (Education) two years ahead of time," he said.

He said Mauritius need cooperation from friendly countries in these areas. RIU has shown interest to establish state-of-the-art educational and health institutions in Mauritius and "we were looking forward to work very closely with the varsity."