ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday granted status of university to the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT). Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the new campus of the now COMSATS University for Science and Technology, the Prime Minister also announced Rs. 10 million for upgrading of CIIT Library and assured provision of more funds, necessary for futuristic projects. He directed the Ministry of Science and Technology, Planning and Development Division and the Higher Education Commission to prepare a comprehensive proposal based on genuine requirements of the COMSATS University for consideration. I am confident that the university would put these funds to good use and it would soon emerge with a truly national character as a research-based university, Gilani said. The Prime Minister said the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment has made education a provincial subject. However, the federation has to take ownership of higher technical and scientific education as well. He said it was in this background that he asked the provinces to focus on capacity building of their respective educational departments and assured that the federal government was ready to support the provinces in this regard. He said in the context of higher education, the governments priorities were to promote basic research, with focus on capacity building and said government was striving to raise higher education enrolment, from existing 3.7% to 10% by 2015, and take it further to 15% by 2020. Gilani said efforts were afoot to enhance allocation of resources to education as it was an absolute necessity to develop human resources and produce knowledgeable workers. He said these steps would enable the government to bring world-class education at the doorsteps of Pakistani youth at affordable charges. The government views education as an instrument to combat extremist tendencies through enhancement of awareness, he added. Prime Minister Gilani said development and promotion of education was a key area of the present government. Reaching out to the student community is my passion as I believe that they are the future leaders on whose shoulders lies the responsibility of leading this great nation. He said the countrys youth and students have the dynamism and determination to bring about constructive change through knowledge and scientific research. The Prime Minister, who earlier inaugurated the beautiful campus at Park Road, said that while presiding over a meeting of Pakistan Software Export Board two weeks ago, he directed that the Information Technology Park Project in Islamabad be completed on fast-track basis. He complimented the Ministry of Information Technology for completing the project in the federal capital and said the project will be launched in the provinces at a later stage. Gilani termed 21st Century as the century of knowledge and innovation, requiring the application of creative approach to the solution of contemporary problems. He said unless the universities become a hub of generating new ideas and promoter of culture of empirical investigation, no progress and prosperity could be achieved. The Prime Minister stressed upon the need for focussing on science and technology and professional education and urged the universities to establish linkages between industry and academia through a well-formulated strategy of research and development. He appreciated the CIIT for offering quality education in the country and said it has helped produce an educated and enlightened class that was fully equipped to bring about a quantum change and steer the country in the direction of prosperity, progress, and peace. He said Pakistans current population stands at 170 million. A major chunk of this population is in the 17-25 years age group, which needs to be capitalized through investment in human resource development. Gilani said despite showing an increasing trend, the literacy rate in the country was still far from satisfactory, with wide gender disparities. Abdication of this responsibility can be fatal, Gilani warned sand said the government and its leadership fully understand this. We can only meet the Millennium Development Goals if we embark on the journey of enhancing literacy rates in the country with special focus on the literacy of women. The Prime Minister noted that within 11 years of its existence, CIIT has established seven campuses and more are in the pipeline, with plans to extend its presence in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. He also pointed out that around 16,000 students have graduated from CIIT so far, while around 20,000 were currently enrolled in different degree programmes. You have indeed done a marvellous job. I know that CIIT owes its success to individuals like its Rector Dr Junaid Zaidi, the management team and the faculty and staff who are totally committed to the cause of education. He however pointed that integrated progress accompanied by social justice cannot be achieved without the patronage of the government. He assured that the democratic government will continue to strengthen that linkage between the official patronage and the educational sector. The Prime Minister also read a quote of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who said: Development is being sought in every walk of life and you have to take on this process of development. Are you preparing to take on tomorrows responsibilities? Are you building your capacity? Are you trained enough? If no, then go and prepare yourself because this is the time to prepare yourself for future responsibilities. The Chancellor of the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Rector Dr Junaid Zaidi and members of the Board of Governors and Academic Council were also present on occasion.