World Bank Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, has appreciated steps taken by the government to strengthen higher learning institutions and said that it will play a key role for the socio-economic development of the country.
Speaking at a special session Indrawati thanked the HEC for providing her the opportunity to talk to educators, students and hear from them.
She said Pakistan has shown good economic progress during the last few years due to right steps taken by the government. However she emphasised that the country needs to do much more to compete at regional as well as global level.
The session was attended by vice chancellors, faculty members, research scholars and students. Over 60 universities of the country were connected through video-conferencing.
The WB Managing Director said that Pakistan has a huge potential of human as well as natural resources that need to be tapped properly. She said Pakistan’s growing middle class was representing a powerful engine for change. Terming macro-economic stability of the country as encouraging, she stressed that a lot needs to be done.
She said that Pakistan’s people have proved themselves resilient in the face of extremist attacks, natural disasters, frequent floods and extreme weather. “But I want to focus on what, in my view, are the two most important challenges, both obvious and urgent. To reach its full potential Pakistan needs to make better use of its people and its position in the neighbourhood and the world.”
She said Pakistan is the sixth most populous country of the world with half population less than 24 years and the country needs to effectively use its human resource and facilitate their participation through all means.
She particularly mentioned the drop-out rate of students at country’s primary and secondary levels as she also highlighted the importance of gender equality in the development process, terming it indispensable for enhancing productivity.
Indrawati underscored the importance of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for Pakistan’s economic growth and said Pakistan should effectively take benefit of its strategic location for achieving economic objectives.
She said attracting foreign and local investment was imperative for sustained economic growth, in addition to consensus on economic strategies across the political spectrum.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC thanked the Managing Director of World Bank for sparing time to address Pakistan’s academic and research community terming it a valuable opportunity for them to learn from her experience.
He said the role of higher education is critical for economic development of any country as he briefly stated the HEC initiatives for development of higher education and research in the country and how, since inception of HEC in 2002, has brought about a paradigm shift.
The chairman said that HEC was striving to further increase the access rate to higher learning with strict measures to ensure quality as well as promoting relevant research to impact society.