Lahore : Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that imparting of quality education and modern knowledge to young generation is essential for achieving the goal of self-reliance and a dignified status in the comity of nations.
He expressed these views while addressing prize distribution ceremony for position-holder students in matric and intermediate examination at Aiwan-e-Iqbal here today. The Chief Minister gave away cash prizes and commendatory certificates to position-holder boy and girl students.
Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab government has taken revolutionary measures for equipping the youth with education and spread knowledge to every nook and corner of the country. He said that scholarships worth more than Rs. 11 billion have been given to students of resourceless families from the educational fund while cash prizes of one billion 25 crore rupees have also been awarded for encouragement of position-holder students.
He said that Punjab Educational Endowment Fund was set up by Pakistan Muslim League-N government with a sum of Rs. 2 billion and the volume of this fund has now increased to Rs 17.5 billion. He said that it is not only the biggest educational fund of Pakistan but also of South Asia and more than 1.5 lakh talented boy and girl students of poor families are studying at prestigious educational institutions with the income of this fund.
He said that number of these students will increase to two lakh by the end of December this year. He said that had such an educational fund been established 70 years ago a number of children who have remained deprived of education would have become engineers, scientists, doctors, bankers and professors and been serving the country.
ShahbazSharif said that functions are held every year to honour position-holder students in different examinations in which brilliant boy and girl students, their parents and teachers participate from not only Punjab but Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and other parts of the country.
The Chief Minister felicitated boy and girl students as well as their parents and teachers who had won prominent positions in examinations especially position-holders students and parents who despite financial problems provided funds for education and training of their children. He said that elite can afford to pay educational expenses of their children at any educational institution but the doors of quality education have remained closed to resourceless families. He said that was Pakistan achieved under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam so that the country of the rich should be separate from that of the poor.
ShahbazSharif said that by starting educational programmes on merit basis Punjab government has eliminated the disparity between the rich and the poor. He said that had Quaid-e-Azam lived for a few more years Pakistan would have been ahead of India. He said that it is useless to cry over the mistakes of the past but move ahead with commitment and hard work.
Shahbaz Sharif said that example of Japan and Germany is before everyone who despite defeat in World War-II achieved progress and prosperity through continuous hard work. He said that it is time to work with passion to join the ranks of developed countries. He said that Punjab government has taken initiative in this direction and laid foundation of a revolution in education sector by setting up educational fund.
He said that ten thousand boys and girls after getting education with the help of educational fund are serving the country as doctors and engineers. He said that there is a need to work hard to transform Pakistan in accordance with the vision of Quaid and Iqbal.
Shahbaz Sharif said that youth are a guarantee to a bright and prosperous future of the country. He said that government has promoted merit at every level and merit policy has been adopted for admission in private medical colleges as well.
He said that private medical colleges can earn profit but they will not be allowed to violate merit. He said that strict implementation of merit policy will be ensured in admission to private medical colleges. He said that fee of private medical colleges is being rationalized and merit will be upheld at every level. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the journey of progress and prosperity will continue.
Provincial Minister Begum Zakia Shahnawaz while addressing the function said that under the leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, education is the top priority of the Punjab government. She said that all problems can be overcome by promoting education.
Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood said that Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif eliminated Booti Mafia from examination system in 1997. He said that merit policy will help bring a revolution in education sector. He said that educational budget has reached a sum of 375 billion.
He said that people of Punjab are lucky as they have an education- friendly chief minister like Shehbaz Sharif. Position-holder boy and girl students also addressed the ceremony and paid tributes to Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif for taking measures for promotion of education.
Provincial Ministers including Rana Mashhood and Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Members National and Provincial Assembly, Chief Secretary, Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr. Amjad Saqib, educationists, vice chancellors, professors, teachers, parents, intellectuals and a large number of boy and girl students attended the function.