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Higher education will be given top priority: Ahsan

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said that education sector, especially higher education, will be given special attention by the present government. He was speaking as the chief guest at opening ceremony of the career orientation workshop for graduating scholars, organised under the auspices of HEC-USAID Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Programme here on Thursday.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Executive Director HEC, Thomas LeBlanc, Director Education, USAID, and Ahmed Bakhsh Lehri, Secretary, Education and Training were also present on the occasion. The workshop on career orientation was attended by scholarship beneficiaries and alumni from 11 partnered universities/ institutions of the HEC-USAID programme, with the aim to improving communication and interview skills of the graduating scholars and provides them guidance to groom their personal and professional skills and better job searching.

The Minister appreciated the initiative of HEC and USAID for launching merit and needs based scholarship, which he said, has enabled thousands of students to pursue higher education. Congratulating the graduates, he said, "You are venturing into a new phase of life where you will face a number of challenges, but conviction hard work are the keys to a successful life".

Ahsan Iqbal said that 21st century marks an era of paradigm shift. "Only those nations will develop who have superior knowledge and brain power. We must know that this is the age of knowledge economy. I believe Pakistan is full of potential human resource and if managed properly we can compete any developing nation in the world." Dr Mukhtar Ahmed informed the audience that thousands of students have been selected on merit and sent to top higher education institutions of the world, emphasising that government's commitment was necessary for development of higher education.

Thomas LeBlanc said that the US has a long-standing commitment for Pakistan's education sector, adding that the USAID has running successful scholarship programme since 2004. He informed the audience that USAID is establishing three centres of excellences in Pakistan in the priority areas of agriculture, energy and water.-PR

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