PESHAWAR, Feb 10: It was responsibility of the federal government to provide adequate funds to the public sector universities till next National Finance Commission award, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti.

However, he said that provincial government would extend every possible financial support to the universities.

The chief minister was addressing a ceremony, held here on Sunday at the Convocation Hall of University of Peshawar (UoP) to launch free laptop distribution scheme.

He launched the Naway Sahar Scheme (New Dawn Scheme) by distributing 35 laptops among the position holder students of four-year bachelor programme. The position holders, who got the laptops, were students of 30 departments of UoP, its three constituent colleges and two affiliated degree colleges.

The chief minister said that provincial government established eight new universities as education was its top priority. He said that the laptop scheme was introduced to keep the educated youth of the society connected with the world. He said that an amount of Rs1 billion was allocated for purchase of laptops.

Mr Hoti claimed that utmost importance was given to ensure transparency in procurement and distribution of laptops among more than 23,000 students. He directed the vice-chancellors and head of the institutions to oversee transparency in the award of laptops to deserving students.

The biggest challenge confronting the country, especially Pakhtuns, was insurgency and terrorism, the chief minister said. “To overcome these threats, the only way is educating the youth and that too in accordance with requirement of the world,” he added.

Mr Hoti said that few miscreants had portrayed a dismal picture of Pakhtuns. “Let me tell the world that the educated youth sitting in front of me is the real images of our region,” he said. He urged the students to serve as ambassador of peace by getting quality education.

The chief minister announced a grant of Rs100 million for UoP to purchase buses and Rs10 million for golden jubilee celebrations of Peshawar University Teachers Association. He also directed the higher education secretary to move the summary for approval of the amount to his office by tomorrow.

The chief minister said that since independence till 2008 the number of colleges in the province was 137 including 91 for boys and 46 for girls. The present provincial government approved establishment of 72 colleges including 46 for girls, he added. He said that among those, 18 colleges were already functional.

Expressing concern over the status of female education in remote areas of the province, Mr Hoti said that not a single girl student appeared in the secondary school certificate examination in Torghar district last year and more or less the same situation persisted in Kohistan.

Earlier, Higher Education Secretary Farah Hamid said that 23,147 laptops would be distributed under the scheme. She said that the students, who secured 70 per cent or above marks in their last semester examinations, would be eligible to get the laptops.

She said that a criterion of minimum 60 per cent marks was set for the students studying under the annual system in various institutions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Updated Feb 11, 2013 03:36am

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