London, November 23, 2016 (PPI-OT): Mr Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform delivered talks at Cambridge and Oxford Universities of the UK on 21 and 22 November 2016. The talks were attended by students, scholars and academia media representatives.
At Cambridge University, the Minister lectured on “Education in the Development Agenda of Pakistan. He stated that education is one of the key priority areas of the government as students are one of the most important segments of our society and our future. The Minister said the government is fully cognizant of the fact that this is an age of knowledge economy and knowledge is the key driver of progress, development and innovation. He informed that the government increased the budget of the Higher Education Commission from Rs. 100 billion in 2013 to Rs. 215 billion in 2016.
The Minister said: “Despite the fact that after the 18th Amendment, education is now a provincial subject, yet the federal government has taken it upon itself to assist provinces in modernizing the education system. In this regard, a National Curriculum Council has been set up to update the curriculum. Similarly, examination boards are being reformed and Teachers Training Programme is being initiated. During the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States, Pakistan-US Knowledge Corridor was agreed under which 10,000 PhDs would be produced at the leading US universities to meet research and faculty needs of the Pakistani universities. Similarly, to support the deserving students, an Education Endowment Fund has been set up.”
The Minister called upon the Pakistani students to make the best of educational opportunities in the UK. He also invited them to come to Pakistan after completion of their education to take advantage of the opportunities especially when the economy is showing steady growth and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) awaits their knowledge and expertise.
At the Oxford University, Minister Ahsan Iqbal delivered talk at Blavatnik School of Government on “China Pakistan Economic Corridor–A Game Changer for the Region”. His second talk was at China Study Centre on the topic of “China Pakistan Relations–Looking to the Future”. The Minister explained in detail the concept and salient features of the CPEC project. He said that CPEC has four components which include : a) Development and Up-gradation of Gwadar Port; b) Energy; c) Transport infrastructure including road and rail network; and d) Setting up of industrial zones along the corridor.
The Minister informed that out of US$46 billions CPEC portfolio, US$35 billions would be spent on power generation which would meet domestic and industrial needs of the country and boost economic growth. He said 11000 MW electricity would be added to the National Grid by 2018.
Dwelling upon the concept of CPEC, the Minister said that it is the fusion of Chinese One Belt One Road and Pakistan’s Vision 2025. He stated that CPEC is not a bilateral project but it is a regional project. The Minister informed the audience that CPEC would turn Pakistan geo-strategic location to its geo-economic advantage. He also responded to the searching questions of the students and academia.
Besides, on 22 November, the Minister gave a talk at Chatham House, a leading think tank of the UK. He talked about China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Representatives of various think tanks, policy influentials, financial experts, research scholars and media representatives were in attendance.
Earlier, in the day, the Minister met Dr. Richard Jarvis, Head of National School of Government International (NSGI) at the Cabinet Office in London. The Minister discussed with Dr. Jarvis the civil service reforms in Pakistan and how Pakistan could benefit from UK experience.
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