ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said that the PPP government accorded top most priority to education and health and was placing maximum resources for these sectors. Addressing an International Conference on Medical Education here at the Convention Centre on Monday, he said the Planning Commission was ordered to bring allocations in the education sector up to the level of 4 per cent of the GNP within the next three years. He said, "Professional as well as technical education is needed to be emphasised upon and this is the dream of my government and my leaders, including Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as well as Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed." He said continuity of education was directly linked with enhancement of quality of education and research and quality assurance of the end products. "It is only through an ongoing quality assurance system that we can safeguard public interests and standards of higher education," he said, adding such institutions ultimately achieve public credibility and recognition as knowledge producing institutions. Gilani said academic standards require an ongoing interaction between different stakeholders including universities, faculty members, Higher Education Commission and students. He said he firmly believed that the public and private sector academic institutions should have total independence. Gilani said qualitative targets of higher education should also incorporate universal Islamic, ethical and moral values. "Conferences like this one helps us in development of a research culture in our institutions of higher learning," he added. He expressed the hope that Higher Education Commission and other such bodies would play a proactive role in this direction. "We are a young nation. Majority of our population consists of youth. This is a God given opportunity. This human resource with proper academic training can bring a scientific revolution in the country." He emphasised that the role of private universities was as important as that of public universities and said these centres of learning should get full support from HEC and other such regulatory bodies. He said, "Let us learn not only from the west but also from the east in order to make our progress more comprehensive and target oriented. We should learn from the experience of our friendly countries like Malaysia." He expressed pleasure that Riphah International University professed a holistic approach and a number of academic programs such as medical and health sciences, engineering, computing, pharmacy, dentistry, management sciences and media sciences were taught here under one umbrella. This made it a unique university capable of offering inter-disciplinary academic programmes and the international linkages between the Riphah and reputed universities in the US and the UK were praiseworthy, he added. Federal Minister for Health Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, Incharge Higher Education Commission Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Pro-Chancellor Riphah International University Hassan Khan also addressed the conference. Earlier, the Prime Minister gave away awards to participants of the International Conference on Medical Education organised by Riphah International University in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission and Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.