President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday urged the universities to focus on Research and Development (R&D) activities to produce quality and skilled manpower which was needed for expeditious socio-economic development of the country. The president, chairing a follow-up meeting on the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad, said that hiring qualified, committed and professional faculty was of paramount importance for imparting the latest knowledge and for the intellectual development of the graduates. He emphasized that universities should adopt innovative and creative techniques to increase the number of students and graduates by adopting hybrid and online teaching methodologies. He also emphasized that all stakeholders in the education sector should further improve their intellectual and psychological skill set, and embrace policies, rules and regulations compatible with the market-driven needs of educational institutions and the students to meet the exponentially increasing market demand for skilled human resources, especially in the IT sector. President Alvi said that education was the biggest source of socio-economic development, therefore, it was inevitable to train and educate youth to empower them financially and economically. He expressed his concern over the brain drain witnessed by the country in the previous years. The president underscored that we should also make all possible efforts to keep the educated youth within the country by providing equitable opportunities so that they could serve as the engine of growth for the economy and socio-economic development of the country. He emphasized that as per the requirement of the market, the universities should offer two years Associate Degree Courses or appropriate diploma courses for those sectors where the market needed an immediate inflow of trained and educated human resources, like the IT sector. The president highlighted the importance of learning international languages which, he said, provided means for enriching insight and wisdom through literature, science and other knowledge produced in these languages. He also appreciated the role of NUML in the promotion of education in the country, especially the learning of international languages. Major General (Retd) Muhammad Jaffer, Rector NUML, briefed the president on various initiatives and educational programs introduced by the University. He said that currently, NUML was teaching more than 21 national and international languages.