H. E. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), addressed the Inaugural Session of the Twelfth Meeting of the Committee of Heads of University Grants Commissions or Equivalent Bodies, in Kathmandu, this morning.
In his statement at the Inaugural Session, the Secretary General said, “As you are aware, one of the objectives of SAARC, as enshrined in its Charter, is to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potentials. We can achieve this objective through the promotion of education.”
He stated that as early as in 1988, at the Fourth SAARC Summit, the leaders had decided to include education as one of the areas of regional cooperation. Since then, the priority attached to the promotion of education in the region is amply manifest in the Declarations of successive SAARC Summits.
“At the last SAARC Summit, our leaders expressed their resolve to eliminating illiteracy from the region in line with the global goal of education for all and ensuring quality education in all institutions by reforming curricula, teaching methods and evaluation systems, adequately supported by physical, technical and other facilities,” he said. “At the same Summit, our leaders also agreed to promote regional cooperation in the field of vocational education and training.”
The Secretary General said that the directives of the leaders are being pursued by several inter-governmental mechanisms under the auspices of SAARC, which include, among others, the meetings of SAARC Education Ministers and Heads of University Grants Commissions or Equivalent Bodies. “In this perspective, the convening of this Meeting bears enormous significance,” he stated.
“The SAARC Chairs, Fellowships and Scholarships Scheme is a commendable effort of our Member States to facilitate exchange of scholars and researchers across the region,” he said. “Moreover, the establishment of the South Asian University is considered as one of the most significant accomplishments of SAARC in imparting quality education.”
The Secretary General said that in the attainment of regional objectives in education, SAARC has developed the SAARC Framework for Action (SFFA) on Education 2030 and agreed on an “Action Plan on the Implementation of the New Delhi Declaration on Education”.
In his Address, the Secretary General encouraged the Member States to offer more and more scholarships under the SAARC Chairs, Fellowships and Scholarships Scheme. He also highlighted the emerging need to offer scholarships on need-based requirements of the Member States.
The Twelfth Meeting of the Committee of Heads of University Grants Commissions or Equivalent Bodies that opened today in Kathmandu is hosted by the University Grants Commission of Nepal and will conclude on 31 May 2019. The Eleventh Meeting was held in the Maldives in April 2017.
Kathmandu, 30 May 201