Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said real socio-economic development could only be achieved through linking research agenda to the economic agenda and needs of the society.
Speaking at the 16th All Pakistan Inter-University Debate Contest, the minister emphasised on empowering science and technology professionals.
He said, “We are making efforts to bring academia, industry and the government on one platform to link our research and development activities with the socio-economic requirements.”
The minister said the youth is Pakistan’s real asset which performs excellently whenever provided an opportunity. He asserted that it was need of the hour to spread optimism in the society as some forces are deliberately spreading negativity especially among the youth.
“No doubt, our country is facing a number of challenges but we have the potential and resources to overcome all the problems and to achieve that goal, our biggest asset are the youth of Pakistan,” the minister said.
Iqbal said the government was committed to promotion of education, particularly higher education in the country and in four-year time the percentage for education budget will be increased from two percent to four percent.
Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that HEC has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote extra-curricular activities at university campuses. He said the basic objective of this contest is to promote communication skills and critical thinking of students, enhance their understanding of socio-economic and political issues as well as divert their energies towards healthy activities and creative thinking.
The chairman thanked the government for increasing the education budget and for its further commitment for the upcoming year.
“HEC stands committed to achieving its targets and further strengthening the universities of Pakistan so that these institutions play an effective role in country’s development,” he said.
As many as 30 contestants belonging to public and private higher education institutions from all over the country participated in the contest.
The Institute of Management Sciences (IMS), Peshawar and the FederalUrduUniversity won the All Pakistan Inter-University Debate Contest, in English and Urdu categories, respectively.
The final round of the contest was held at HEC on Tuesday.
Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi and the University of Balochistan, Quetta stood second and third in the English category while University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar and GovernmentCollegeUniversity, Lahore secured second and third position in Urdu category, respectively.
The winners of first, second and third positions were given cash prizes of Rs 60,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 40,000, respectively.
All Pakistan Inter-University Debate Contest was first organised at the university level wherein students from all departments and constituent colleges took part.
Second round was organised at regional level in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad (for Federal, AJK, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan universities).
The top scorer teams participated in the final round, both in English and Urdu categories.