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Speakers seek women’s role in CPEC projects

PESHAWAR: Stressing the need for giving role to women in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Deputy Speaker Dr Mehr Taj Roghani on Thursday said that despite 51 percent of the population, a role in the range of 15 to 20 percent would be considered a good representation.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the three-day conference on “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): Opportunities and Challenges” at the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU) Dr Mehr Taj Roghani said that women’s role should have been ensured right from the beginning.

She said it was important for the people in government to be aware of such issues and regretted that she missed the presentations.

The deputy speaker said that politicians were not aware of diverse fields. “I wish all the parliamentarians were here so that they could know about such diverse issues in the CPEC,” she said, adding that only a few, maybe four or five of them, have in depth knowledge of CPEC.

The deputy speaker said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had to fight for its share in the project. “We were ignored totally but it was the government and chief minister who fought till the end to take the province share,” she added.

She deplored some students’ decision of dropping out of the Chinese language programme and stressed the need of creating awareness about such opportunities.

The deputy speaker highlighted the importance of sustainability and improving the infrastructure for improving the education standards.

Dr Meher Taj claimed that education sector was in a shambles when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came to power. The government introduced merit in every department, including education.

During her speech, university’s Vice-Chancellor Dr Razia Sultana thanked Dr Mehr Taj Rohgani, guests and participants.

She said the project was operationalised in 2015, adding that the first phase of CPEC had been unfolded as various projects were underway in different parts of the country.

Dr Meher Taj said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is rapidly working on different aspects of CPEC and added that she was glad that there was a component in CPEC for women as well.

“Youth is primarily the main beneficiary of this project and I would like to emphasise that females would benefit much from this project, which is huge in terms of funding and the numbers of years it is stretched over,” she remarked.

The people-to-people contacts and entrepreneurial contacts and business collaboration would continue to grow even after the completion of the project.  

She stressed the need of expanding the exchange programmes between China and Pakistan, adding that Chinese experts emphasised the need of collaborative research projects.

Dr Meher Taj said that social media was playing an active role in discussing various aspects of CPEC. “During the three-day event, multiple aspects of CPEC have been explored and discussed, which would be documented and shared with respective sectors and partners,” she added.

The deputy speaker also discussed the language barrier for taking full advantage of the project. She said it was interesting times that the silk route is being revived in the digital age.

Dr Usman Ghani, joint director of the Institute of Management Science and deputy team leader of the Higher Education Department for collaboration with Chinese universities, also discussed educational aspects of CPEC.

He said 8 million students graduated from Chinese universities, which is double the number of students in US universities and 10 times more figure than 1997.

More than half of the universities in China are focusing on vocational trainings. It is estimated that more than 800,000 jobs would be created in the next 15 years due to the CPEC,” he added.

He stressed the need of equipping the graduates and workforce with skills to fulfil the responsibilities.

We need to collaborate with Chinese universities because Chinese companies in Pakistan would need trained workforce or they would bring Chinese workforce,” he maintained.

Six of the 2,500 universities in China are in world’s top 100 universities and 45 are in top 300 Asian universities, he said, adding that Pakistani students’ inclination was changing and they were moving towards Chinese universities.

He pointed out the potential for joint linkages with Chinese universities and incubation centres. However, he disclosed that Chinese universities’ officials complain that the Pakistani students were not up to their standards.

Vice-Chancellor, University of Peshawar, Dr Muhammad Asif Khan, also spoke on the occasion.

The speakers presented papers on issues including indigenization of solar photo voltaic technology transfer, use of marble as local endowment in Mohmand Marble City CPEC Special Economic Zone and its impact on the socio-economic development. Some speakers discussed the environmental challenges while others talked about governance and education


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