Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) project was successfully negotiated between the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the World Bank in May 2019, for a $400 Million IDA credit support. Subsequently, the project was approved by the World Bank Board in May. The formal signing ceremony of the Agreement took place on Tuesday at the Finance Division, Pakistan Secretariat Islamabad. The financial agreement was signed by EAD Secretary Noor Ahmed, on behalf of the Government of Pakistan (GoP) and the World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Patchamuthu Illangovan. HEC Executive Director Lt. Gen. (R) Muhammad Asghar singed the project agreement of HEDP project.
The ceremony was presided over by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh. Senior officers from HEC and EAD were also present during the occasion, including Dr Fateh Marri (HEC Member O&P), Awais Ahmad (Director General HEC), Adil Akbar Khan (Joint Secretary EAD) and Azam Khan (Deputy Secretary EAD). Dr Shaikh in his closing statement, emphasized the resolve of the government to support higher education sector development; particularly in instituting research excellence, improving teaching and learning at affiliated colleges and universities and strengthening governance in the higher education sector of Pakistan.
The project has five components. The Component-1, Nurturing academic excellence in strategic sectors, will help promote relevant and cutting-edge research in universities in Pakistan, through competitive research, innovation, and commercialization grants to researchers and potential entrepreneurs from among faculty members, and current students.
Component-2, Supporting decentralized HEIs for improved teaching and learning, aims to improve the quality of education delivered by Tier 2 universities and affiliated colleges through strengthening affiliation systems and technological interventions.
The objective of the Component-3 is to leverage technology to improve the teaching, learning and research environment in Pakistan and strengthen the existing IT resources available to institutions for research and higher education in Pakistan.
Component-4, Higher education management information system and data-driven services, aims to improve the collection and use of data for national level policy-decisions while automating business processes in higher education institutions.
The fifth component will support HEC in strengthening its core functions of regulation, capacity building, and funding of Pakistan’s higher education sector through strategic and targeted technical assistance, including the establishment of National Higher Education Academy.