Achieving academic excellence our priority: Sardar Masood Khan

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Islamabad: (Parliament Times) President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan has said that we need to build stronger collaborations and enduring partnerships with international educational institutes for better employability and enhancing entrepreneurship.

President AJK made these remarks at a symposium titled “Transnational Partnership for Entrepreneurship and Employability” organized by The Millennium University College (TMUC) here in Islamabad.

Guest speakers for the panel included Chairman Nayatel Rashid Ali Khan, Chairman Board of Investment Naeem Zamindar, CEO General Electric (Pakistan) Sarim Sheikh, Director Strategy, University of Hertfordshire Steward Smith and Head of ACCA Pakistan, Sajeed Aslam. The panel discussion was moderated by anchorperson Moeed Pirzada.

In his keynote address, President AJK said that Pakistan is on a cusp of an economic revolution and to fully exploit this we need to invest in building a knowledge-based economy in the country. Current global advancements, he said, has made it more competitive for the younger generation in appropriate job placements. “This revolution is driven by education, innovation, and research”, he said.

President Masood Khan said that there is a need for greater symbiosis between academia and industry. He said that our academic disciplines have to evolve with the changing job market in order to ensure our graduates are able to compete with their peers not only nationally but globally.

Highlighting the importance of the Transnational Education (TNE), the President said that by providing educational programs from reputed international institutions we will be able to develop local skills, reduce capital outflow, brain drain, and pressure on the local education system. This, he said, would offer an opportunity for developing competition and hence improving the quality of education and strengthening core capacity and capability of educational institutions. As a whole. he said international exposure at the doorstep of the students will help provide them opportunities of self-development leading to excellence and commitment in their academic pursuits.

The President commended the initiatives of the University of Hertfordshire in collaborating with TMUC. He hoped this would also be an encouragement for the University and other international institutions for investing in offshore campuses and shared degree programs in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.

The President said that with the formal inclusion of Azad Kashmir in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor; four major products have been designated for Azad Kashmir including two hydropower projects, a state of the art industrial zone in Mirpur and an expressway passing through Azad Kashmir connecting it to the main CPEC route. He said with an educational score of 85%, AJK has surpassed all of Pakistan in retention, learning, enrollment and gender parity.

President AJK said that Azad Kashmir has been investing in research-based educational programs at its universities. He said that in the recent months Mirpur University of Science and Technology has teamed up with DICE International Foundation to foster innovation and entrepreneurship through higher education and industrial growth.

President Masood Khan also said that similar TNE collaborations will also be explored with the public sector universities of AJK. “International collaborations will open up avenues for our students and faculty members helping provide global exposure”, he said

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