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Dr AttaurRehman stresses need for improving education level

RAWALPINDI: Renowned scientist and former federal minister Dr Attaur Rehman has said that today’s world is the world of knowledge and national progress and development was impossible until we put the nation on the track of education.

The former HEC chairman was talking in the Geo News programme, “Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Sath”.Dr Atta said that during the premiership of Zafarullah Jamali, they spent two years on education research and a 12-member team of PhD in Economics after a thorough discussions prepared a 270-page detailed report in this connection, which should be taken up now for action. He said that manpower has the main influence in any country and 55 percent manpower of Pakistan consists of youth.

Atta is in favour in the democratic system but with some conditions. He said that parliament of the country was today making laws in the best interest of the West and a cabinet comprising competent and honest people was needed to change this trend. “We will have to put on a new democratic system,” he added.

Dr Attaur Rehman said that our foreign policy also should be made on the principle of cooperation with science and technology. Because of the rampant corruption by the rulers, the people have lost their confidence in them. He said that from 1.4 million teachers, only 3,500 were PhDs. He hoped that Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh would be successful in putting the country on the path of science and technology. He said that it was not a secret which departments developed and flourished during the democratic as well as dictatorial rules. He was of the view that we should introduce the system where educated, expert and honest people should come in the federal cabinet.

The renowned scientist said that half of the population of the country is uneducated while the capitalistic and feudal system is so strong that only few families with changing faces govern the country. It is the era of education, so only those nations were progressing who understood the importance of education and spent a lot on literacy of its youth as this results in the social economic development. He said that we couldn’t achieve progress until we put our nation on the way of education and literacy. Political will is necessary to adopt and follow right direction, he said.

He cited the example of Korea where a minister of science and technology was promoted as deputy prime minister.He said that we would have to modify ourselves on the new democratic way and, for the purpose, strong conditions of capability should be imposed and fake degree holders strictly checked. Today, simple education has no value, so all party members and candidates in elections should be expert in their fields and in this way if literate and professional people reach the assemblies it would naturally promote education and put the country on the path of progress, he said.

To a question, Dr Atta said that Mahathir Muhammad of Malaysia had told him that his country some 30 years ago decided to allocate their all sources for the promotion of education, adding that Malaysia fixed 30 percent of its annual budget for education. He said that population of Finland is one fourth of Karachi but its industrial sector has record income, and exports of only Nokia company were double of the total exports of Pakistan.

To another question, Dr Atta said that 55 percent manpower of Pakistan consisted of less that 25-year-old youth and it is our biggest strength that 90 million manpower of the country was comprised young. He said that for progress and development four pillars are vital i.e. education, science and technology, innovations and discovery and fourth one the very important is competency and foresightedness.

He asked the government that like Malaysia it should also allocate a big chunk of the budget for education. He said that the present government has fixed only Rs 1 billion for science and technology while during his ministership the amount of Rs 6 billion was set for the promotion of science and technology. Likewise, the HEC budget has also been reduced by 50 percent from Rs 22 billion to Rs 11 billion, Dr Atta said. He said this shows that the government has changed its priorities.

To another question, Dr Atta said that our leadership in their foreign tours only talked about aid, loans and some trade; whereas the Indian prime minister in his foreign tours talks about science and technology. India signed an agreement with the US for development of its nuclear assets, while our leaders talked about financial support, loans and limited trade.

Talking about disparity between income and expenditures of the country, Dr Atta said that first we should decide about the department and fields to impose taxes and for this purpose we should expand our tax net and agriculture should also be brought into the tax net. Besides misuse of billions of rupees in the name of Afghan Transit Trade and rampant corruption should also be checked while education, health, agriculture and technology sectors should be exempted from the Value Added Tax.

On the question about the privatisation, Dr Attaur Rehman said that the state should not run corporations and it should encourage the private sector in this connection and after privatising all public departments, the government should cooperate with them for running and progress of these departments. He also proposed the judiciary to supervise the privatisation process to prevent corruption in this process. He praised Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh and termed him a competent and responsible person and hoped that he would bring the country towards technology. He said that Pakistan has no lack of competent persons; however, we should encourage them and provide them chances to change the destiny of the country.

The former federal minister, while talking about the lack of confidence and harmony between the people and the government, said that common man was worried about attaining his basic necessities, including electricity, gas and water, etc.

He said 5,000 more competent young persons were sent abroad for PhD and they were about to complete their study, however, the government withheld their grants. “I asked the government to restore their grants or discharge me and resultantly the government asked me to resign”.

He said Pakistan established its educational satellite three years before India. The technology through which you are airing this programme was purchased during my ministership for US$4 million and now the government was purchasing a new satellite system at the cost of US$350 million.

He expressed concern over the high price and scarcity of electricity in the country and said that in 2000-2002 he worked on this project and proposed to produce 10 to 50 thousand MW hydroelectricity between the areas of Kaiti Bandar, Gharo and Hyderabad. He ruled out the concept that hydroelectricity was costly.

The former federal minister said that the third big and important source of producing electricity was Methane. The third source is solar thermal power project, as, through this, a person by installing blacking surfaces can produce electricity at his rooftop. This unit is easily available in the market at the price of Rs70 to 80 thousand only. This system is also running in Germany and Japan where these units are exempted from tax, he said.

Courtesy: The News

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