Islamabad - Irfan Siddiqui, special assistant to the prime minister on national affairs, has advised the youth to become a productive member of the society and contribute for the development of their homeland.

He stressed on the significance of education for eradicating extremist and negative attitudes prevalent in the society. He was speaking as chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony for the National Essay Competition held in connection with the Independence Day Celebrations. Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, chairman HEC, and Dr Mansoor Akbar Kundi, acting executive director HEC, were also present at the ceremony held here at HEC Secretariat. On the directive of the prime minister, while celebrating the 67th Independence Day, HEC organised the National Essay Competition in five regions i.e. Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Federal Area. The programme was advertised with the theme “Celebrate the Freedom with Words.”

As many as 458 essays were received from all over the country. The essays received from the students were evaluated by the experts/judges and 60 position holders in the category of Urdu and English were given certificates and cash prizes in the five regions at college and university levels.

After evaluation by the judges, 6 students were selected from all over the country for 1st, 2nd and 3rd position in the Category of Urdu and English. Their essays were evaluated keeping in view the creativity, structure, adherence, grammar, length and wow factor. For recognition, appreciation and encouragement of the student they were given cash prizes of Rs 100,000, 75,000, and 50,000 at national level in both the categories.

Siddiqui underlined the need to root out the menace of extremism from the society, adding that education is the only tool that can eradicate extremist attitudes. Congratulating the winners and participants of the nationwide competition, he urged them to continue writing and use their pen to bring the much desired change in the Pakistani society. He appreciated the role of Higher Education Commission for undertaking wonderful initiatives and providing excellent platform to youth for enhancing their skills and developing a strong human resource in the country. He reiterated the Government’s resolve to develop the education sector and make quality education available across the country.

Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that such competitions were helpful not only for enhancing the writing skills, language proficiency and analytical ability of the students but it also inculcated deeper knowledge of the socio-economic and political issues of the country.

“You also need to show to the world that our nation, especially youth, is full of potential and is united to face challenges faced by this country.”

He elaborated different initiatives of HEC for human resource development as well as strengthening physical and technological infrastructure of the higher learning institutions. He shared with the audience how successfully HEC, with the support of the government, had been executing two important components of the prime minister youth scheme including laptop scheme and the fee reimbursement scheme.