Islamabad, October 22, 2014 (PPI-OT): “If we fail to invest in our youth, the democratic dividend of Pakistan might turn into demographic disaster, therefore government assigns highest priority to education and skill development programs”, said the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Prof. Ahsan Iqbal while chairing a national launch of “Active Citizens Program in institutions of Higher Education Learning” in Higher Education Commission on Wednesday.
He said, “The future of youth depends on revival of economy, which will create jobs and resource for investment in education and health programs. This situation has led to serious social problems including drug abuse, mental disorder and religious fanatism. The government of Pakistan is committed to address this issue through major investment in human resource initiatives.
Under the Prime Minister’s youth program the government is providing young people training and access to finance so that they can start business. Establishment of youth hostels across the country will promote national integration. A network of sports grounds for extracurricular activities will be built to give youth constructive outlet for their energies”. Active Citizens is British Council’s program to build the capacity of young people as leaders and influencers within their respective communities.
This program has been launched in selected institutions for under graduate students and now both Higher Education Commission and British Council are collaborating to expand the program across all universities and degree awarding institutions in Pakistan. This collaboration is aimed at providing young students the platform to engage in social action in their local communities to address social issues and highlight their role as community leaders.
The Federal Minister said, “Political stability is the pre-requisite for economic development because it ensures continuity of policies and their timely implementation. Unfortunately, Pakistan has lost opportunities to sustain economic growth rate at several occasions due to political instability.
In the early decades of 60s and 90s, Pakistan witnessed tremendous growth and development in socio-economic sector, but these transitions to prosperity could not be sustained due to political turmoil in the country. Now, the government is again at the same crossroads and committed to lift the country from an abyss of economic backwardness, energy crisis and widespread poverty and unemployment”.
While appreciating services of the British Council and Higher Education Commission put together for the purpose of creating young leaders and influencers at local and regional level to address community based problems, the federal Minister said, “The vision 2025 is also working on similar lines wherein youth has been given prime importance to change the destiny of this nation.
HEC had been denied sufficient budgets for many years, but this fiscal year it has been given record budget. Investment in higher education will improve not only economic productivity but it will also have deep impact on creation of job opportunities for the youth”.
He said, “The rationale behind laptop distribution scheme, which was criticized, was to produce young information technology entrepreneurs who could develop their skills commensurate with increasing globalization of the world. Laptop is now considered as essential tool of higher education learning and enables the youth to get connectivity with the changing scenario of the world. Now the results of Laptop scheme are becoming evident as thousands of recipients have become IT entrepreneurs”
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