Youth skill development imperative for national growth: Tarar

Jamila Achakzai
Friday, Jun 14, 2024

Islamabad:The Jang Media Group hosted 'The News Education Expo 2024' here on Thursday, offering students a one-stop platform for academic and professional development, including expert guidance, educational opportunities, connections with industry professionals, and pathways to career growth.

The one-day event brought together students, parents, teachers, representatives of over 50 higher education institutions, and educational consultants. “This expo is meant to help students, especially FSc and A-Level ones, make informed decisions about their academic future, with the help of specialised guidance and career counselling without the hassle of scheduling appointments with experts, to chart a successful academic journey,” said Syed Amjad Ali, director (marketing) at Jang Media Group.

He said the exchange of ideas and insights would enable visitors to gain a deeper understanding of their educational options and choose the colleges and universities that were best aligned with their goals and aspirations.

Mr Ali said the Jang Media Group initiated the education expo in 2008 and had so far successfully organised its 14 editions. Federal education minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui was conspicuously absent from the event, contrary to his earlier commitment and multiple invitations extended by the Jang Media Group.

However, his colleague from the cabinet, information minister Attaullah Tarar, graced the occasion with his presence, formally inaugurating the event. He appreciated the Jang Media Group's longstanding efforts in guiding students towards the right career paths, which, he said, also enabled educational institutions to identify talents.

Mr Tarar said 68 percent of the country's population comprised youth, so investing in their education was a vital social service. “The Jang Media Group’s initiatives for the cause of education are appreciable. They also encourage other organisations to follow suit,” he said, expressing optimism about the country's future growth and development. The minister declared education a top priority for the government and said he was confident that the national economy would flourish with the help of the youth.

He said the world had made tremendous strides in technological advancement, so it was crucial to arm Pakistani youth with cutting-edge skills, essential for driving the national growth and development.

Mr Tarar said the government was working to support the youth, including initiatives like laptop distribution and a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese firm to train 200,000 Pakistani youth in IT skills every year.

He said since taking office, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's government had made significant strides, resulting in a strengthened economy, as evident from the improved exchange rate and currency value.

"International rating agencies, such as Bloomberg, confirm that our economy is on a path of recovery and growth," he said, adding that the country's rise to becoming one of the world's top economies is not far off.

The students appreciated how the event offered comprehensive guidance, all under one roof, ranging from understanding the ideal educational trajectory to choosing the suitable subject and institution for their higher education pursuits to learning about the careers of the future.

Hanna Khan, an A-Level student seeking scholarships to study abroad, appreciated the expo saying it provided her with valuable insights into financial aid opportunities offered by various countries, organisations, and educational institutions. "This event is an excellent platform for gaining clarity and understanding of university admissions, scholarships, facilities, and future prospects," she said.

Muhammad Jamaluddin, a BSc student aiming to pursue a master's degree in information technology abroad, appreciated the convenience of having numerous foreign university stalls under one roof, with some even offering on-the-spot registration, saving time and money.

He commended the Jang Media Group for organising the expo at an accessible location and during summer break, allowing a large number of students to attend. The expo featured a significant announcement by Abdullah of the KIPS Education System about his organisation's collaboration with state universities in Kazakhstan. He said the partnership aimed to address the shortage in Pakistan's medical education sector.

"Despite medical education being a major profession, Pakistan faces a substantial gap between demand and supply, which we [KIPS] hope to bridge with the support of Kazakhstan universities. We plan to expand our services by initiating projects in Lahore and Faisalabad," he said urging the government to assist with degree attestation and passport documentation for students pursuing education overseas.

Wajid Ali of the Net Global consultancy showcased France and Spain as affordable options for higher education, emphasising shorter degree programmes in France and available scholarships. "This is our first time at The News Education Expo, and the response has been very positive," he said, noting the strong interest from parents in exploring educational opportunities for their children.

Ibrar Ahmad of Quaid-i-Azam University presented new programmes and highlighted the importance of direct engagement with students and parents at the expo. Asad Shakil of the Roots Millennium University highlighted his educational institution's goal of “providing international qualifications through partnerships with top global universities” and emphasised the value of such expos in offering diverse educational options to students.

The organisers said the expo was successfully held in Karachi last week and was scheduled to take place in various cities across Pakistan in the coming weeks, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, and Peshawar, this month and next.