President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday stressed the need for universities in the country to emerge as ‘centres of excellence’ to side by side hone talent of their students in academic and co-curricular domains. Addressing at the launch of ‘Sports and Co-curricular Activities Division’ under the Kamyab Jawan programme at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in connection with International Youth Day, the president said promoting healthy activities through sports was fundamental to the physical and social development of youth. With a cost of Rs 3,969 million, the HEC will execute five projects of Kamyab Jawan, namely PM’s Markaz Youth programme, establishment of Sports academics (high-performance and resource centres) and Youth Olympics, Talent Hunt Youth Sports League, Green Youth Movement and Innovative League. President Alvi said Pakistan’s talented youth could excel in all fields of life if provided with the right platform to showcase their skills. He regretted that the commercialization of educational institutions in the country had marred the environment that once used to be their hallmark, where the focus was laid on both academic and co-curricular activities along with character-building of students. In the past, he said, the schools, colleges and universities with their rich traditions produced several national heroes in sports, who brought laurels to the country. He lauded the performance of the two Pakistani athletes, who had a near-miss at the recent Tokyo Olympics, and said a proper infrastructure was key to prepare best stuff for the future sporting events. The president urged the HEC to remain cognizant of the scope of jobs as per the market requirements and formulate the course outline accordingly. Without planning, he said, the graduates and Ph.Ds could face severe crisis of unemployment. The president mentioned that China’s emphasis on education and health sectors helped it overcoming the big challenge of poverty and rising as a strong nation. He said the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan was also focusing on the uplift of all segments of society through projects such as Kamyab Jawan and Ehsass, to mainstream them in national development. The president lauded Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, who despite the limitations of the Constitution’s 18th amendment, was successfully pursuing the government’s agenda of uniform syllabus. He said PM’s Special Usman Dar had effectively expanded the reach of Kamyab Jawan programme to benefit youth from all provinces, may it in areas of skill development or easy loans for business start-ups.