ISLAMABAD: Education & Professional Training Minister Shafqat Mahmood on Thursday said that the government is committed to supporting the higher education sector so that the Pakistani youth can succeed in the job market and play their role in the country’s socio-economic uplift, and become valued members of the society. He said this in his address to a send-off ceremony organised by Higher Education Commission (HEC). According to the official handouts provided by the commission, 24 students are set to leave for China to complete their two years Master’s programme studies in various areas of civil engineering on scholarship programme China Road & Bridge Corporation funded by China.The minister reiterated that among the various other challenges in education sector, out of school children is the biggest one for the newly elected government. While highlighting others issues in the sector, he said to streamline the education system at par with international system is the much focused agenda of incumbent government, adding that currently there are different education systems in the country including private schools, government schools and then religious seminaries while each of them was imparting the education on their own.“We are working on making a comprehensive education policy that will address these challenges, will ensure quality education and will provide level playing field and equal opportunities to everyone,” minister Shafqat Mahmood claimed. The education minister further said that “we may also replicate some of the reforms that were introduced in the education sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and had positive results”.Mahmood maintained that our main focus will also be on skill and human development. “Vocational and technical training is must and we are in the process of setting up Skill Universities and we are in close liaisons with all the chambers of commerce and other stakeholders in this regard,” the minister explained. On the occasion, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing congratulated the students for winning the scholarship honours. He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor investment in Pakistan is proof of the friendship between the two countries.Earlier, in his welcome remarks, HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri appreciating the deep bonds of friendship between the two countries said, “We are all ambassadors of Pak-China friendship.” He urged students to work hard but also learn the work habits of the Chinese to bring back home.Dr Tariq Banuri said that the programme will provide an important opportunity to Pakistani students to study in South East University, China and also learn about the manifestations that led to the economic growth of China.“Work hard and learn about the habits of work and discipline that has caused the success of Chinese economy,” he emphasised.The chairman advised students to become ambassadors of Pakistan in China and portray a good image of the country.He mentioned a number of projects completed by China for the uplift of Pakistan including the Karakoram Highway.Published in Daily Times, September 7th 2018.