The Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP), a pivotal initiative led by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), recently hosted its 9th World Bank (WB) Mission at the HEC Secretariat. During the week-long event, comprehensive discussions were held on all six project components, meticulously assessing progress while considering safeguards and fiduciary aspects.

Chaired by Executive Director Dr. Zia Ul-Qayyum and Project Coordinator Dr. Mahmood Butt, the kick-off meeting welcomed the Mission team members and applauded the dedicated efforts of the HEDP team.

Dr. Zia Ul-Qayyum emphasized the importance of project missions, highlighting their role in tracking progress, documenting lessons learned, and serving as vital checkpoints. He also expressed HEC’s commitment to thorough evaluations of project progress and solicited continued support for faculty training.

Ms. Inga Afanasieva, the Task Team Leader and Senior Economist at the World Bank, reiterated WB’s commitment to strengthening Pakistan’s Higher Education Sector. She emphasized the crucial role of supporting areas such as the National Academy for Higher Education (NAHE), Affiliated Colleges (ACs), Financial Autonomy of universities, and faculty training.

A joint review between HEC and WB allowed for a comprehensive assessment of each component’s progress, leading to mutually agreed-upon next steps aimed at maximizing support for the higher education sector.

The HEDP team presented numerous achievements, including the award of 132 research grants, establishment of quality enhancement cells in 29 affiliated colleges (ACs), capacity-building of 3900 faculty members on the revised Undergraduate Education Policy (UEP), and advancements in enhancing access to the Pakistan Education Research Network (PERN).

The mission also involved engaging project beneficiaries and academicians in constructive dialogue at HEC Islamabad, providing insights into the project’s contributions towards bolstering research endeavors and improving teaching and learning in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Visits to prominent institutions like the University of Education (UoE), Government College University (GCU) Lahore, and associated ACs, along with a tour of the Data Center at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore, were also conducted.

In a wrap-up meeting with Chairman HEC Dr. Mukthar Ahmed, the WB team expressed appreciation for the hospitality extended by the HEDP and HEC teams throughout the mission. They commended the significant progress achieved since the last mission in July 2023, highlighting the collaborative efforts driving positive transformation within Pakistan’s Higher Education Sector.

HEDP stands as the flagship project of HEC aimed at supporting research excellence, improving teaching and learning, and strengthening governance in higher education. More information about the project can be found on the HEC website.

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