Chairman Higher Education Commission Pakistan (HEC) Dr Mukhtar Ahmed has stressed the need for higher education institutions in the country to focus on research and quality education and lauded the various initiatives of research and entrepreneurship taken up by the University of Gujrat (UoG).
Dr Mukhtar also opened the Business Incubation Center (BIC) at the UoG and felicitated the winners of BIC’s Business Plan Competition winners.
The launch of the BIC is in consonance with both the HEC and UoG Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr Zia Ul-Qayyum’s objective of promoting entrepreneurial culture in the universities.
“We do need to have more institutions in Pakistan and private sector’s involvement is a must to address the needs of education, but those making investment in this sector should not take it just as a money-making business,” Dr Mukhtar said as he spoke to deans and heads of departments and directors here at the Hafiz Hayat Campus of UoG.
Earlier, Dr Mukhtar was welcomed by Dr Zia and UoG Registrar Dr Tahir Aqil, Director Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) Dr Mudasser Iqbal, Consultant BIC-UoG Haider Mairaj, Director Students Services Centre Muhammad Yaqoob, and others at the university.
In a separate ceremony held at the UoG’s Library Auditorium Hall, a panel of judges selected top 15 teams after the students presented their business plan and presentations with business pitch in the final selection round for incubation at the BIC. The first three winners received Rs.100000, Rs.60000 and Rs.40,000 respectively. Dr Mukhtar announced the same amount for the three winners as well as Rs.50,000 each for the top 15 teams for their projects. He also announced Rs.50,000 each for BIC Consultant Haider Mairaj and Dr Mudasser Iqbal.
Addressing the BIC ceremony, Dr Mukhtar said that even though there are 178 universities, including both the public and the private sector, the percentage of tertiary education in Pakistan was just over 8.3 which was very low as compared to Korea which boasts of more than 93.
Dr Mukhtar said that the government was seriously focusing on the education sector and had increased its spending in this sector.
He added that the government last year spent more than Rs1.5 billion on students from less developed areas to go for programmes like MS, Masters and PhDs.
Dr Zia in his address on the occasion said that he believed that the primary responsibility of the universities was to create knowledge, but the benefits of this knowledge and research must trickle down to the community to strengthen the economy.
At the end of the ceremony Dr Mukhtar and Dr Zia exchanged mementos. Dr Mukhtar and Dr Zia also gave away UoG shields to BIC jury members which consisted of Vice President Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry Syed Ihtesham and Gujrat Chamber of Commerce President Ijaz Ahmad and eminent entrepreneurs including Awais Naseer, Sajjad Ali, Tahir Chaudhry, Nazeer Ahmad Waid, Toshiba Sarwar, Babar Zahoor and Dr Mudasser Iqbal.