Prize distribution ceremony held at NUST

Prize distribution ceremony held at NUST

Islamabad: A prize distribution ceremony of the high achievers of NUST was held at the university auditorium on Tuesday, said a press release.NUST Rector Asghar was the chief guest on the occasion. He expressed pleasure and excitement for being among the youth. He said that the students are the real asset of the nation, therefore, they must utilise their maximum strength for the prosperity of the country. In his speech, the university rector praised the teachers for helping their students achieve success in extra-curricular activates.He further added that in order to achieve success, one has to be honest, and truthful besides being intellectual which are the main keys of success. While elaborating his point, Asghar stated that a balanced person is that who is intellectual, a goodhuman being and equally engaged in social activities through his good deeds for the welfare of the people.Stressing the need of following shariah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), he suggested adopting honesty and truthfulness. These are the real principles of true shariah of our Prophet (PBUH), the rector stated. Referring to activities of the NUST, the rector said that in five years, this institution has spent Rs 931 million for scholarships. He added that the faculty gives scholarships to the deserving students. The students of NUST are both intellectuals and physically competent, he added. In this connection, he cited the example of the PMA cadets who achieved laurels for the country and their institutions in Australia by winning the best student awards. Similarly, in non-curricular activities, he said that the NUST students have won big competitions in games of hockey and basketball.Earlier on, the rector distributed awards and certificates among the high achievers. The high achievers who were given prizes and certificates included Hira Nisar, Ali Tahir, Tooba Khan, Shifa Van Dokhvan, Nauraiz, Kharal, Naveen Tahir, Shahbaz Naqvi, Abdullah Khan, Tahira Khan, Faria Khan, Nidaul Fatima, Maria Majeed, Rabia Anwar, Ayesha Masrur, Ali Afzal, Majid Mushtaq.

Punjab University meeting reviews final arrangements for book fair

Punjab University  meeting reviews final arrangements for book fair

Punjab University  meeting reviews final arrangements for book fair

Punjab University meeting reviews final arrangements for book fair

LAHORE: Punjab University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran on Monday chaired meeting of Book Fair Co-ordination Committee to finalize arrangements for Pakistan’s largest annual book fair to be held from April 3 to 5 this week. Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan will inaugurate the book fair while Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Affairs Mr Irfan Siddiqui will be guest of honor.

PU Registrar Prof Dr Amin Ather, deans of various faculties, heads of various departments, chairmen and members of book fair committees participated in the meeting. The chairmen of various committees gave briefing to the participants regarding arrangements being made out to organize the book fair successfully. As many as 153 stalls will be set up at the fair. The book fair will be held at the main corridor of Institute of Education and Research from 9 am to 8pm during the three days.

Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) University of the Punjab Students Week and Sports Gala 2014

Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) University of the Punjab  Students Week and Sports Gala 2014

Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) University of the Punjab  Students Week and Sports Gala 2014

Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) University of the Punjab Students Week and Sports Gala 2014

LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Education and Sports Rana Mashood Ahmed inaugurated the “Students Week” at the Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) University of the Punjab on Monday. Principal Law College Dr Shazia Noreen Qureshi, Dean Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Dr Zakria Zakar, In-charge Director ICS Dr Nosheena Saleem, famous national cricketer Adnan Akmal, faculty members, staff and a large number of students attended the event. During his inauguration speech, the minister said Pakistan’s future depends upon education and the ability of students can be utilized through such activities for the benefit of the country. Rana Mashood said that if such activities were not organized then students would also not be able to perform in their studies. The government of Pakistan and the government of Punjab aimed to help organize as many extracurricular events for the youth to boost their skills as they were the real strength of Pakistan, he added. He said the current government had been providing better opportunities to the youth so that they could play their role in nation building.

Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) University of the Punjab  Students Week and Sports Gala 2014

Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) University of the Punjab Students Week and Sports Gala 2014

On the occasion, Adnan Akmal, who inaugurated Cricket matches earlier, said that such activities played an important role in physical and mental growth of students. He said such activities helped students focus on their studies and kept them away from harmful activities. Such activities are essential for building healthy and productive societies. He further said that the Punjab University is a prestigious organization and the Institute of Communication Studies has done a fine in providing its students with a healthy activity by organizing the “Students Week”. On the occasion, Principal Law College Dr Shazia Noreen Qureshi said that a healthy body keeps a healthy mind. She encouraged the participation of the female students of the ICS and said the partaking of both the female and male students is sign of a healthy society. The “Students Week” aims to highlight the abilities of students. The event included different sporting events, Qirat and Naat competition, English, Urdu and Punjabi debates and speeches and painting competition. “Culture Day” will also be organized on Friday (April 4) which will showcase the culture of all the provinces of Pakistan.
On the day the students will wear traditional clothes and different food stalls will be made. Earlier, Director ICS Dr Nosheena Saleem delivered the welcome address and said that such extracurricular activities were essential for the personality development of students. She directed the staff of the institute to help students organize such healthy activities in the future.

Punjab University awards 5 PhD degrees

Punjab University awards 5 PhD degrees

LAHORE: Punjab University has awarded 05 PhD degrees to the scholars in which Rana Khurshid Ahmad khan S/o Rana Rashid Ahmad in the subject of History after approval of his thesis entitled “Communal Competition, Cooperation and Sharing of Power in the Punjab: Role of the Provincial Legislature (1919-1947) ”, Muniza Qayyum D/o Abdul Qayyum Malik in the subject of Pharmacology after approval of her thesis entitled “Study of Fluorosis and Development of its Rational Treatment”, Ghulam Mustafa S/o Muhammad Umar in the subject of High Energy Physics after approval of his thesis entitled “Neutrino Oscillation Parameters and Optimization Techniques”, Abrar Hussain S/o Samand Ali in the subject of Molecular Biology after approval of his thesis entitled “Studies of Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 1a Pakistani Isolates Complimentary DNA Analysis and Quasispecies Dynamics” and Muhammad Azam S/o Muhammad Hassan in the subject of Mathematics after approval of his thesis entitled “Stability Analysis: A Crucial Study in General Relativity”.

Country needs nutrition and dietetic council

Country needs nutrition and dietetic council

LAHORE: Several institutions are offering degree programmes in the field of human nutrition in the country, but there is no body or council in the country, which can regulate the important subject at the national level.
This was stated by University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Vice Chancellor Prof Talat Naseer Pasha in an interview with APP here on Sunday. He said there was a need to establish a nutrition and dietetic council in the country, which could regulate and monitor degree programmes and play its role in human resource development.
He said, “The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore has taken initiatives to assist the production of quality food of high biological value to the nation.
We have established the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, offering of B.S. Nutrition and Dietetics with the collaboration of King Edward Medical University. We have also initiated MPhil Food Safety and Control with the support of UNIDO and accredited the degree programme from Royal Environmental Health Institute, Scotland, UK,” Prof Pasha said. He added, “We also offer a PhD in the department”.
“The UVAS has ISO certified labs for checking of drug residues and toxins in foods and a reference lab of government of Punjab for halal testing offering free services to consumers to check quality of milk and developed commercial kits to check adulteration in milk,” he said.
I believe together we can assist production of safe and healthy food and reduce healthcare spending,” he added.
“It is now recognized that malnutrition is not only an issue affecting the health but also the human development index and the economy of the country.
The National Nutrition Survey 2011 revealed an alarming situation of malnutrition and food security in the country,” he added.
“An over-nourished segment of society is also a problem and it is the main cause for increasing the burden of chronic diseases like obesity, heart diseases and diabetes. This segment of the population also needs to balance their diet,” he suggested.
“Another very important issue in the food sector is food safety. Some resent reports show that as a whole, healthy and clean food is available only to around the fifty percent population of the country. Adulteration in milk and artificial colours used in sweets and candies are injurious to health, particularly to children. Punjab Food Authority is playing its role but its scope is limited to some districts only,” he observed.
“Therefore, there is a need to take steps to ensure food safety in the country,” the VC concluded.

Students’ Week kicks off at Institute of Communication Studies (ICS), University of the Punjab

Students’ Week kicks off at Institute of Communication Studies (ICS), University of the Punjab

LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Education and Sports Rana Mashood Ahmed inaugurated the Students’ Week at the Institute of Communication Studies (ICS), University of the Punjab, on Monday. During his inauguration speech, the minister said that Pakistan’s future depends on education and the abilities of students could be utilised through such activities for the benefit of the country. Rana Mashood said that if such activities were not organised, students would also not be able to perform in their studies. The government of Pakistan and the government of Punjab aimed to help organise as many extracurricular events for the youth as possible to boost their skills, as they were the real strength of Pakistan, he added. He said the current government had been providing better opportunities to the youth so that they could play their role in nation building. On the occasion, Adnan Akmal, who inaugurated the cricket matches earlier, said that such activities played an important role in physical and mental growth of students. He said that such activities helped students focus on their studies and kept them away from harmful activities. “Such activities are essential for building healthy and productive societies.” He further said that the Punjab University was a prestigious organisation and the Institute of Communication Studies had done a fine job in providing its students with a healthy activity by organising the students’ week. On the occasion, Law College Principal Dr Shazia Noreen Qureshi said that a healthy body keeps a healthy mind. She encouraged participation of female students of the ICS and said the participation of both the female and male students was a sign of a healthy society. The students’ week aims to highlight the abilities of students. The event included different sporting events, qirat and naat competition, English, Urdu and Punjabi debates and a painting competition.

Diabetic patients need to get regular eye checkup: experts

Diabetic patients need to get regular eye checkup: experts

ISLAMABAD: Well-known ophthalmologists have said that the diseases of eye retina can result in complete blindness. They said that the diabetic patients are more prone to developing retinal diseases and need to have regular eye checkups even if their eyesight is not weak.They were addressing the second Professor Ali Haider memorial retina symposium organised by the Shifa International Hospital on Monday. Professor Ali Haider was the head of the Ophthalmology Department at Lahore General Hospital and professor of Ophthalmology of postgraduate Medical Institute, Lahore. He and his young son, Murtaza, were shot dead in an attack in Lahore last year. The experts at the seminar termed his death as a huge national loss, as he was one of the country’s finest eye surgeons.The first Professor Ali Haider memorial symposium was held last year in May at the Armed Forces Institute of Ophthalmology. With the untiring efforts of Shifa’s consultant Ophthalmologist Amer Awan, this was the second symposium. Medical students, ophthalmology trainees and the leading ophthalmologists from different parts of the country attended the symposium. Awan performed a live ‘macular hole surgery’ of the retina, which was shown through video link during the symposium. The objective of the live surgery was to educate and enlighten young doctors and ophthalmology trainees about the new trends and techniques in retinal surgeries.Awan, in his address after the live surgery, discussed causes and management of the various retinal diseases including retinal detachment and vitreous hemorrhage. He advised the masses, particularly diabetic people, to consult their eye surgeon at least twice a year to prevent retinal diseases. He said that eye floaters, flashes, eye pain and weakness were some of the symptoms of retina diseases. People with diabetes are at high risk of vitreous haemorrhage. “Diabetic patients, however, must consult with their ophthalmologists regularly even if their eyes are working well,” he said.Pakistan’s known ophthalmologists Professor Jaleelud Daula from Karachi and Professor Mukhtar Ahmad from Lahore co-chaired the conference. SIH Ophthalmologist Consultant Farooq Afzal introduced keynote speakers to the audience. Consultant Ophthalmologist Zeba Mateen in her welcome address greeted the audience and highlighted the objectives of the symposium while paying tribute to late Professor Ali Haider.

Rootsians celebrate Spring Carnival

Rootsians celebrate Spring Carnival

ISLAMABAD: Spring is a joyous season that brings smiles with exotic blossoms along with the green and fresh look of nature thus reviving the human spirit. Roots has organised a Spring Carnival and also welcomed spring with different festivities at all campuses of the RSS. The branches were themed ‘Spring’ with florals and decorative swings and kites in hues of yellow, red and orange to depict the true essence of the season. The students displayed their talents by setting up stalls of all kinds and varieties. Food streets were set up in different branches with food items such as chaana chaat, dahi bhalas and gol gappas. There were toys and face painting stalls for the younger Rootsians, with exciting games of ‘Ring the Item’, ‘Hit and Win’ and many more. Traditions were also kept in mind and there were mehndi stalls as well as the ‘dhol walas’ to have the jubilant atmosphere. There were exhilarating performances by the students. There was a tremendous display of creativity and innovative as children came up with innovative games and tricks.

‘Echoes of Silence’ at Nomad

‘Echoes of Silence’ at Nomad

ISLAMABAD: A solo exhibition of exclusive paintings by Samina Ali will be open tomorrow at the Nomad Art Gallery (NAG).The collection in the exhibition titled ‘Echoes of Silence’ acquires an abstract juxtaposition of patterns and story telling which is symbolic and eye-catching.Samina is trained in fine arts with a major in painting and minors in printmaking and the miniature tradition, her practice evolved to incorporate traditional techniques from the Islamic arts, fusing Vaddri (marbling) and washes along with contemporary collage to create multi-layered works.These medium to large scale collages are characterised by assemblages of paper, gold and silver leaf, tea and paint washes, and script. Fascinated by texture, an avid collector of fragments of paper, old photographs, clippings, metal leaf, and even foil wrappings, many of the papers she uses in the elaborate backgrounds are imbued with personal memory.Cuttings taken from old miniatures are reworked so that they are not just illustrations, but symbolise the elements of love, peace, turmoil, superimposed or inset into the complex surface. In this way, the present series paintings of birds by Miskeen, a well-known miniature painter during the reign of Jahangir are used as symbols of peace and love, as well as evoking a sense of nostalgia.Several of the works in this series are a departure from the way the artist has hitherto, handled the surface. While she continues to use similar elements and techniques, the space is treated differently.The curator of the gallery, Nageen Hayat said, “In this exhibition, Samina’s paintings affirm her contribution to the legacy of the Muslim art while, in its essence, being a symbol of modernity and rich aesthetics. The narratives are familiar while she plays with the compositions and imagery to give visual strength and highlight links with the local heritage and culture.”“I have always been interested in the harmony between space and form with collages and calligraphy woven together. Being closely associated with the Islamic history, it’s hard to imagine myself not using the long lost stories which are enclosed in books or museums. To remain in touch with the past is to keep history alive, lost images in time resonating through a flow of vibrant colors and textures,” Samina said.She added, “the hardest task is in inventing a pictorial language that would convey a personal way of seeing things, while at the same time discovering what the personal vision is.”

Earth Hour celebrated in Lahore

Earth Hour celebrated in Lahore

LAHORE: World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) celebrated WWF’s largest symbolic environmental event Earth Hour across the country in partnership with government offices, educational institutions, hospitals, the Civil Aviation Authority and civil society here on Saturday. The main event in Lahore was held at Qarshi University, with hundreds in attendance.
Pakistan joined more than 7,000 cities and 156 countries around the world in celebrating Earth Hour. Several simultaneous events to mark the largest environmental movement happened in Karachi, Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Multan, Sheikhupura, Sukkur, Kahuta, Murree, Rahim Yar Khan and other cities to pledge to conserve Pakistan’s environment and natural treasures.
Significant events in the spirit of Earth Hour were celebrated at Punjab Assembly, National assembly and Sindh Assembly to create awareness of environmental issues that our country faces today, such as energy shortfall and food and water security, which are creating economic and health disasters for us.
Celebrity Earth Hour ambassadors including Feryal Ali Gauhar, Zoe Viccaji, Mehreen Raheel, Ali Tahir pledged to be more environmentally conscious and lead by example.
The event at Qarshi University also included talent show by university and school students, pledge signing and candle lighting activities. Hundreds of students and educationists from across the country also pledged to save the planet by saving natural resources, aiming to help the country in overcoming the energy crisis.
Director General and CEO of WWF – Pakistan, Ali Hassan Habib, said that environmental issues are everyone’s concern now because of their grave economic, healthcare, developmental and human rights implications.
He stated, “Earth Hour is a rallying call for all to consider the environment as something we all need to preserve. It is not just about turning extra lights off. It’s about changing lifestyles and consumption patterns, to be more aware about how we use our planet’s finite resources.”

Unblocking YouTube : LHC orders steps to block controversial material

Unblocking YouTube : LHC orders steps to block controversial material

LAHORE: A division bench of the Lahore High Court has directed the minister of information and technology to hold a meeting of technical experts to evolve a joint strategy for blocking controversial material from YouTube. The bench nominated technical experts of the private sector and the technical team of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the ministry to evolve a joint strategy for blocking controversial material from YouTube. The experts are Salman Akhtar, chief executive officer, Techlogix Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, Zartash Afzal Uzmi, associate professor, electrical engineering and computer science, Syed Babar Ali School of science and engineering, Lahore, Lahore University of Management Sciences, (LUMS), Lahore, Khurram Zafar, executive director, centre for entrepreneurship, LUMS and Wajajus Siraj, chief executive officer, Naytel Private Limited. The bench directed that the meeting should also include an officer of the attorney general’s office, besides a representative of the petitioner NGO, Bytes for All, who had moved the court to lift the ban on YouTube. The bench directed the minister to hold this meeting in Islamabad or Lahore. It directed to hold this meeting without fail before the next date of the hearing (May 13) and place her report regarding the outcome of the said meeting on the record. The bench directed the LHC office to dispatch a copy of this order to the minister of state, Ministry of Information Technology, through regular mode. The order shall also be dispatched to the other members of the proposed meeting.

Nawaz announces countrywide movement to enrol every child in school : World pledges $1bn for education in Pakistan

Nawaz announces countrywide movement to enrol every child in school : World pledges $1bn for education in Pakistan

Brown says Pakistan needs to stop child marriages, child labour and gender discrimination * Prime minister says education top priority in Vision 2025

Nawaz announces countrywide movement to enrol every child in school : World pledges $1bn for education in Pakistan

Nawaz announces countrywide movement to enrol every child in school : World pledges $1bn for education in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: UN Secretary general’s Special Envoy on Education Gordon Brown on Saturday announced the international community would offer about $ 1 billion for education in Pakistan over the next three to four years.
“The money has been pledged by a number of international organisations and friendly countries,” he told a press conference after addressing the Youth Forum here at the Convention Centre.
Brown said the international community wanted to make ensure there were no instances of child marriages, child labour and gender discrimination. He said Pakistan’s government and political parties wanted to double expenditure on education to achieve goal of universal education. “I am here to promote and implement plan for universal education in Pakistan. There are seven million children who are out of schools in Pakistan. The world cannot achieve its goal unless Pakistan makes progress in delivering education and sends every child to school,” he said.
Brown said the international community was ready to provide finance to Pakistan as assistance to build schools, purchase equipments and conduct training of school teachers over the next few years. “We must develop concerted measurers to send girls and boys to schools. We hope to develop new proposals to speed up efforts to offer education to every child,” he added. He said that a great change has come in last two years and now people do recognise that future of Pakistan’s economy depends on education. There is great determination on the part of girls themselves that their right of education should be upheld, he said. “This is movement of change. This is civil rights struggle for change and liberation. And girls particularly are demanding their right for education”.
Brown said Global Partnership for Education had committed $100 million, the USAID $140 million and the European community $100 million, besides support from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Nations and other countries. The announcements by Gordon Brown coincided with prime Minister Nawaz Sharif revealing his government’s plan to launch a countrywide literacy movement to ensure enrolment of every child in the school through a package of incentives. “Our effort is to achieve the targets, set by Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within the coming three years,” the prime minister told an international conference titled ‘Unfinished Agenda in Education: the Way Forward’.
The prime minister stressed to focus on science and technology and modern skills in education system, besides calling for prioritisation of female education in education policy, effective participation of women in the decision-making process and to protect their respect and dignity. “It has, in fact, become a national emergency. More than half of the country’s population is below 25 years of age. With proper education and training, this huge reservoir of human capital can offer us an edge in the race for growth and prosperity in the age of globalisation. Without education, this resource can turn into a burden,” Nawaz said. The prime minister said he had directed the Planning Commission to give education top priority in the prospective plan known as Vision 2025.
He said the private sector too was playing an increasingly important role in the field of education. “Out of the 14.4 million primary stage enrolments, 4.8 million ie 34% are enrolled in private sector schools. Private sector’s share is much higher at the lower middle and secondary levels,” he added.
Later, the prime minister told Brown at a meeting that his government was working for quality of education, gender equality and improvement in literacy and learning opportunities for both the young and adults in the society.

Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari for coordinated efforts to eradicate polio

Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari for coordinated efforts to eradicate polio

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari on Saturday stressed the need for coordinated efforts to eradicate the crippling disease of polio from the country.Addressing at the annual convention of Rotary International (RI), he appreciated the remarkable work done by the RI in eradicating the menace of polio. Nayyar said that the annual convention would provide yet another opportunity to reaffirm pledges and commitment to serving communities, society and country more vigorously.He added that coming from diverse backgrounds, professions and walks of life, the Rotarians have contributed immensely towards building healthier communities worldwide, including Pakistan. “Rotary’s core values of tolerance, pluralism, equality, service, fellowship, integrity, leadership, and diversity reflect some of the key elements required for building a stronger nation,” the Senate chairman said.Nayyar said that the inspiring annual themes such as ‘building communities, bridging continents’; ‘peace through service’; ‘engage Rotary, change lives’, Rotary stands as a unique forum dedicated to enrich human life and promote public service. He expressed that Rotary was close to eliminate the second biggest human disease in the history after smallpox, with a 99 percent reduction in polio cases worldwide since 1985, when Rotary launched its Polio Plus Programme.Nayyar said that the local bodies system at the district level was direly needed to provide basic amenities to the masses. He was of the view that the local bodies system was a core institution, which could help the masses at their doorsteps. He said that the federal capital also lacked the LB system.Earlier, Rotary International District Governor Iftikhar Ahmad apprised the participants of the social service initiatives of the RI. He said that $1.2 billion had been spent on polio eradication whereas the forum was also working on the provision of assistance in the fields of education and clean drinking water. Later, the chairman awarded appreciation certificates amongst the best Rotarians in recognition of their services.

Education and Training Minister Balighur Rehman for strengthening Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) exam system, regional network

Education and Training Minister Balighur Rehman for strengthening Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) exam system, regional network

ISLAMABAD: Education and Training Minister Balighur Rehman has directed the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) to further strengthen the examination system and its regional network and improve the standards of education. A five-member delegation of the AIOU, headed by the Vice Chancellor Ali Asghar Chishti, called on the minister on Saturday. Congratulating Chishti on his appointment as the acting vice chancellor, the minister said that the new AIOU administration would also have his (minister’s) support in further development of the university. The delegation included Registrar Nowshad Khan, Prof Abdul Hafeez, Shahid Iqbal Kamran and Abdul Basit Mujahid.

Higher Education Commission (HEC) emphasises on Minimum Quality Standards (MQS) for improving education

Higher Education Commission (HEC) emphasises on Minimum Quality Standards (MQS) for improving education

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Monday emphasised on the Minimum Quality Standards (MQS) for improving education across the country.In a meeting with the directors of the colleges, HEC Executive Director Mukhtar Ahmed stated that the HEC was committed to improving the quality of education.The meeting aimed at achieving an effective coordination among the provinces for the process. He said that the role of the colleges was extremely important; therefore, the HEC was working with the provincial governments to improve the quality of education.Ahmad reiterated that the HEC’s already devised MQS were in dire need to be met by the colleges for improving college education under its Tertiary Education Support Programme (TESP). He said that the Gap Analysis for 102 colleges had taken place, while another 300 would be included in the much-required evaluation.In the last phase, 400 colleges would be included to improve the quality of the affiliated colleges and align their undergraduate programmes with those of affiliating universities, he added. Mukhtar said that the HEC’s policy to increase the access rate to universities had improved, as it was 2.6 percent in 2002 and is 8 percent at present.The 2009 National Education Policy (NEP) had given a target of 10 percent by 2015, however, the ongoing funding constraints are proving to be a hurdle in achieving this target, he shared. He elaborated that despite the meagre spending of two percent on the entire education, the higher education sector had still responded well in quality standardisation, research and development, digital library for students and faculty, scholarships for MS/PhD etc. Mukhtar informed that the capacity building programmes are also part of the initiative to provide baseline knowledge and skills for the principals/administrators of the affiliated colleges.