islamabad - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal has said that the old paradigm of education has lost the relevance and now the education system based on critical thinking, creativity, innovation and problem-solving approach is need of the hour.

He said that present government has laid strong foundation of knowledge economy by focusing greatly on education sector in its Vision-2025. The minister expressed these views while speaking to members of teaching staff from different universities of Balochistan who visited Planning Commission yesterday.

Ahsan Iqbal said that any country that has strong knowledge base and innovation will progress and those with weak base are bound to perish. Inclusive growth policy of government lays special emphasis on development of backward areas like Balochistan, he added.

The minister said that knowledge is important in human civilisation right from the beginning and world entered into knowledge era in the 21st century after passing through agriculture era and industrial age.

He said that present knowledge era warrants new thinking and tools to match with the pace of fast developing world and said that Pakistan needs to follow the footsteps of developed nation by promoting culture of critical thinking and innovation. Teacher holds the key for a knowledge based society and it is only possible if teacher is also trained and groomed on the lines of critical thinking and innovation.

He called upon the teachers to adopt the new techniques of teaching which help in developing the questioning minds of the students and make the classrooms interactive places rather than a lecture room.

Ahsan iqbal said that present government attaches great importance to education sector, which is reflected from the increase in budget from Rs 43 billion to Rs 78 billion for higher education in the last two years.

Speaking about the various initiatives for education sector, the minister stated that Higher Education Commission has been directed to establish campus and sub-campus of universities in all districts of Pakistan to give access of higher education to the youth of the country in next three to four years. He said that to cater the teaching needs of these campuses, ten thousands PhDs will be needed in the next ten years.

He said that educational projects throughout the country, especially in Balochistan , are on the top priority of the government. 

He pointed out that teacher has a transformational role and for this purpose, transformational teachers training initiative has also been launched, which helped the teachers adopt the techniques that would make classrooms a pleasant place rather than laborious one for the students.

Speaking about the fast improving situation in Balochistan, Ahsan Iqbal said that the province is fast moving towards normalcy in the last two years and said that present government believed in the participatory model of governance so it scarified its majority by allowing a coalition government headed by a nationalist party of Balochistan.

He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor offers immense dividends to people of Balochistan and project will trigger of socio-economic development in the province. “It will bring a revolution in the lives of people of province when it will be implemented fully,” he said.

He said that Gwadar is gateway of CPEC and though this project the city will be brought at par with the developed port cities like Dubai and Singapore. Ahsan Iqbal said that CPEC is aimed making the country manufacturing hub rather converting it into a container economy and believed Balochistan would be the bigger beneficiary of this industrialisation through CPEC.

He said that for economic development and political stability, the continuation in policies is of paramount importance. “Now we have a stable political system in the country following a smooth transfer of power and bad events of last year also reflected the fact that democracy is firmly rooted having ability to absorbs shocks and upheavals.”

The minister also responded to queries of teaching staff of Balochisan universities and told that seven projects for universities in the province have been launched. He also assured to address reservations viz-a-viz scholarship of HEC for Balochistan.