Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif officially inaugurated the Pakistan Endowment Fund for Education and announced the incorporation of computer coding and constitutional studies into the National Curriculum.
The launching ceremony was held on Wednesday, where the Prime Minister revealed that PKR 14 billion ($82 million) has been allocated for the program over the next four years, with PKR 3 billion ($17.5 million) to be spent during the current fiscal year.
During his address, Prime Minister Sharif expressed his desire to sustain the project indefinitely, with increased funding to ensure maximum deserving students have access to higher education.
He urged the next elected government to prioritize the education sector, proposing enhanced funding of up to PKR 140 billion ($823 million) over the next 10 years for this program.
The Prime Minister recalled his previous role as Chief Minister of Punjab, where he launched the Punjab Education Endowment Fund (PEEF) in 2008, with an annual allocation of PKR 2 billion ($11.7 million).
He noted that more than 400,000 students have benefitted from the PEEF and are now serving the country in various professions.
Prime Minister Sharif emphasized that the promotion of education is not a political endeavor, but rather a form of worship.
He pledged to pay special attention to the underdeveloped areas of the country, where many young individuals are unable to complete their studies due to limited resources.
Referring to the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) board meeting, the Prime Minister expressed hope for the approval of a $3 billion stand-by agreement with Pakistan.
He acknowledged that relying on foreign assistance to avoid default is not a matter of pride, but instead called for determination and concerted efforts to ensure the development and prosperity of the country.
Drawing inspiration from China’s success story, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of prioritizing various sectors, particularly education, to help Pakistan regain its lost glory.
He mentioned the significant financial support received from China, including $5 billion disbursed in the last three months, along with substantial assistance from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
As part of the launching ceremony, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif distributed scholarship cheques to talented and deserving students who will benefit from the newly established project.
Minister for Education and Professional Training, Rana Tanvir Hussain, explained that the program was modelled after the Punjab Education Endowment Fund and aims to provide merit-based scholarships to students pursuing engineering, nursing, agriculture, social sciences, and allied health sciences.
He further announced that in response to the current situation, the government has decided to introduce computer coding and constitutional studies in the national curriculum. This decision has received unanimous support from all provinces under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Waseem Ajmal, Federal Secretary of Education, provided additional details about the Pakistan Endowment Fund for Education.
He stated that scholarships would be awarded to students through the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and National Endowment Scholarships for Talent (NEST), ensuring a transparent and efficient process.
The introduction of the Pakistan Endowment Fund for Education, along with the inclusion of coding and constitutional studies in the curriculum, reflects the government’s commitment to providing quality education and enabling students to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.