Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) Rana Tanveer Hussain has offered 80 fully funded scholarships (Undergraduate & Graduate) to Syrian students under various programs and mainly in the fields of medicine, dentistry, engineering, physical, natural & applied sciences, agriculture, education, etc.

He offered these scholarships during his productive bilateral visit to the Arab Republic of Syria on invitation of Dr Darem Tabba, Minister of Education Syria, a press release on Sunday said. Rana Tanveer Hussain’s visit was a follow up visit of Syrian Education Minister to Pakistan last year.

During his visit, Rana Tanveer Hussain held meetings with Hussein Arnous, Prime Minister of Arab Republic of Syria, Mr Bassam Bashir Ibrahim, Minister of Higher Education, Mr Namir Habib Makhlouf, Governor Homs and Mr Mahmoud Zanubua, Governor Hama, Syria.

The Syrian prime minister while conveying his felicitations and best wishes for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif mentioned that Pakistan is a brotherly country which stood by Syria in its hard times. Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain also conveyed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s best wishes to the Syrian premier and People of Syria.

During the meeting, which was also attended by the Syrian Education Minister and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Syria, both sides agreed to further strengthen collaborations in the field of Education, Skills and Scientific research. Besides his visit to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education, Federal Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain also visited the Pakistan International School Damascus, which is considered as one of the top ranked educational institutes in Syria.

He, accompanied by the Syrian Education Minister and Governor Homs, also visited the National Center for Distinguished (NCD) Homs, where he was received and briefed by Dr Hala Al Dakkak, President of the Distinction & Creative Agency, Syria.

The Federal Minister, while appreciating the NCD residential model aimed at selecting & nurturing the best talent, assured that Pakistan will provide teachers in basic sciences to serve in NCD for one year in response to the request made by Dr. Hala.

Federal Minister Rana Tanveer, accompanied by Syrian Education Minister and Governor Hama, also visited the Hama Education Platform (HEP) meant to deal with distance educational learning operations, where he witnessed live lectures being broadcasted on Syrian Education channel.

Following HEP, the delegation also visited Industrial High School of Hama, which is a TVET sector training institute.

Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain accompanied by his counterpart Syrian Education Minister also attended the launching ceremony of educational initiative “Iqra (read)” at the Basic Education School in Qatana City, Damascus.

During the delegation level talks at the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education, Federal Minister, Rana Tanveer Hussain offered 80 fully funded scholarships (Undergraduate & Graduate) to Syrian side under various programs and mainly in the fields including medicine, dentistry, engineering, physical, natural & applied sciences, agriculture, education and etc.

He also mentioned that 20 slots out of 80 shall be offered at Pakistan’s top ranked Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) with preference to students from NCD, Homs. He also mentioned that six months fully funded (local hospitality) research fellowships at QAU were on offer for Syrian students and faculty members.

While understanding the importance of the agriculture sector in both countries, Federal Minister proposed for consortium of agriculture and livestock universities between Pakistani and Syrian universities which will encourage MSc & PhD students/scholars to carry out joint research relevant to common agriculture & livestock issues of both sides.

The consortium will nominate faculty for exchanger visits between Pakistan & Syria as well as to provide research facilities for joint research endeavors.

Federal Minister informed that Pakistan will be represented by Agriculture Universities in Faisalabad, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Tandojam and Multan as well as by the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore.

The Pakistani side also offered a capacity development program for Syrian school and university teachers at the National Academy of Higher Education at HEC in various modules focusing on teachers’ development and leadership qualities for which the duration and need assessment will be agreed by both sides.

Allama Iqbal Open University and National Curriculum Council Pakistan will collaborate with Syrian Directorate of distance learning for knowledge exchange and proposal for establishment of AIOU campus in Syria.

The Federal Minister also informed that HEC will establish Pakistani cultural corners in Syrian universities mainly located in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Homs and Hama.

The Syrian side also welcomed the Pakistan Education Minister’s proposal for establishment of the Visual Arts Center by the National College of Arts in Syria. Both sides also agreed to send a group of 10-15 school level students to Islamabad and Damascus for 10 days to get familiarity with the education and culture of both countries.

Federal Minister Rana Tanveer assured the Syrian side of sending teachers in basic sciences to teach at NCD Hama for one year. It was also agreed to sign a separate MoU in the field of TVET sector between NAVTTC Pakistan and the Syrian side.

The Syrian side while thanking Pakistan’s Education Minister also conveyed that the President of Arab Republic of Syria has approved a special program for Pakistani students and faculty to avail scholarships in various Syrian universities. Syria will also work to establish a cultural center in Islamabad.

In order to materialize and monitor the overall engagements agreed between Pakistan and Syria, both sides agreed to form a Joint Working Group (JWG) consisting of senior officials from both sides in areas of School education, Higher education and TVET sector together with ambassador(s) of the two countries.

The group will meet biannually and submit its report to both sides. Both sides acknowledged the efforts of Air Marshal (R) Saeed Muhammad Khan, ex Ambassador of Pakistan to Syria for his active role in fostering the bilateral ties between both Countries.

Related: PM launched MS & PhD scholarships for 25 top-ranked Int’l universities

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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