We are in the midst of educational reforms striving hard to create a healthy agenda for every child who is part of the system. Indeed, it is the fundamental right of all children - whether rich or poor - to have access to good education. If we overlook this right we, to a large extent, stifle creation and innovation. It is only through refining the minds of youngsters that we can progress, resolve world conflict and address the pressing problems facing our society. All the students must equally be given a chance to shine, and once they deliver it is important to not only give them deserved appreciation, but also provide them with greater opportunities. Previous regimes have just focused on the former aspect, without giving due importance to the latter. However, the current government in Punjab believes not only in rewarding bright students, but also grooming and polishing their abilities. In keeping with this policy, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, sponsored a study tour of Europe for 46 position holders in the previous board examinations which is certainly remarkable. These students not only got a chance to go around some of the best universities of the world, but also visit famous historical landmarks and recreational sites. What a learning experience indeed It is pertinent to mention that many of the students came from unprivileged backgrounds and it was their first visit to Europe. Therefore, the exercise not only demonstrated the Punjab government's appreciation for the high achievers, but also aimed to enhance their capabilities and knowledge. The tour proved to be a great learning experience, as the students were able to witness at firsthand the education system of the developed countries. The students visited Sweden, Germany, Holland and France, and major landmarks, including permanent institutions of the United Nations such as the International Court of Justice. The study tour provided the position holders with an opportunity to observe the latest research facilities in several educational institutions, and interact with foreign students. In addition to enriching their knowledge, it also helped to improve the image of Pakistan. Their tour of the John Copping International Business School allowed the students to examine advanced microbiology and nano-technology labs. At the Dortmund University, the students were given a presentation on the International Student Exchange Programme and other educational affairs. They were shown around the mechanics labs and the engineering students took keen interest in the complex machinery that was present. Next the 46-member delegation visited the University Clinic Gottingen where they were given presentations on various diseases and illnesses. The students also visited Goethe University, one of the top research institutes in the world. Other notable institutions they visited included the Palmer University in Sweden, PHYWE and the Berlin Technical University. Several Ambassadors from different countries, as well as foreign universities, appreciated the initiative of the Chief Minister of Punjab, whilst the students also expressed their gratitude. The tour fulfilled its purpose and helped the students gain a comprehensive insight into the top European universities. The trip also allowed them to enjoy the rich culture and traditions of Europe and provided a truly unique and an invaluable learning experience. Despite the country facing multiple crises including energy, price hike of commodities, water and so on, it is imperative that we maintain an optimistic outlook. The tour is indicative of the progress the education sector is making in Punjab by taking small steps in the right direction. Needless to say, such efforts will help Pakistan rise as a nation, armed with the tools of knowledge, expertise and a competent human resource. We need to strengthen this positive development and consolidate it. The Government of Punjab will continue to invest in the future leaders of Pakistan, who will hopefully develop the ability to transform stones into crystals and help the nation progress in line with the wishes of the Founding Fathers - Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. The writer is a freelance columnist.