ISLAMABAD: Federal Education and Professional Training Minister, Engineer Balighur Rehman on Wednesday said that human development was the key to the overall progress of a country and the teachers play the most pivotal role in ensuring it.
He said this while addressing a ceremony where as many as 64 university teachers were awarded the ‘Best University Teacher Award 2016’ by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in recognition of their outstanding performance.
Each winner was awarded a certificate and a cash prize worth Rs100,000.
Engr Balighur Rehman graced the occasion as the chief guest, while HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, HEC Executive Director Dr Arshad Ali, HEC Operation & Planning Member Dr Ghulam Raza Bhatti, HEC General Academics Director Raza Chohan and a large number of faculty members were also present.
Felicitating the teachers on their exceptional performance, the minister said the government in the ongoing fiscal year took the higher education funding to Rs107 billion. He appreciated the HEC for the promotion of higher education and research culture in the country and said, “HEC has lived up to the government’s expectations.”
The minister also urged the teachers to adopt new technologies and promote teamwork. “Teach your students how to collaborate and work as a team,” he stressed.
He also informed the audience that the government had prepared a curriculum for students of grades 1-5 in a bid to focus on their character building. He added that teaching of the Holy Quran’s translation had also been made mandatory for class 6-12 in the federal capital.
“The practice will be extended to other provinces too,” he added.
Dr Mukhtar Ahmed underlined that teachers and Imams played a key role in the social development. He urged the teachers to train the country’s youth in line with its social norms and values. “We have to invest for the bright future of our youth and future generations,” he emphasised. The HEC chief also highlighted the need to promote nationalism.
Shedding light on the achievements of the HEC, he said Pakistan had only 59 universities before the inception of the commission, adding that the number had now reached 188. He also said that the HEC encouraged the research based on solutions to the prevailing problems of the society.
The chairman revealed that the HEC was taking tangible steps to ensure equitable access to higher education in the country, and maintained that the commission had set up sub-campuses of major universities in the far-flung and less-developed areas to impart education on the students’ doorsteps.
He also said that the HEC established a university campus near the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Kashmir, where 84 students were acquiring education, and added that a sub-campus of the Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University was established in Noshki near the Pak-Iran border where over 300 students were studying.
“The FATA University has also been established and more campuses will be established in Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, interior Sindh, and the FATA agencies,” he informed. He also congratulated the award winners and encouraged the universities’ faculty to excel in their respective programmes.
The Best University Teacher Award Scheme was launched in 2003 with an aim to recognise the relentless efforts of the faculty members of universities. The concept of the awards was instituted for the promotion of education and research by the universities’ faculty and to acknowledge their scholarly endeavours aimed at bringing socio-economic impacts in the society at large.
Universities and degree awarding institutions are asked to nominate teachers eligible for the award every year. All the nominations are scrutinised and evaluated on the basis of the HEC approved criteria by an expert committee. Realising the importance and benefits of the project, the Best University Teacher Awards have been made a part of the HEC’s recurring programmes. Moreover, selected private universities have also been included in the programme since after 2011.
As a whole, 564 awards have been conferred under the programme during the last 13 years.