The federal Higher Education Commission (HEC) has notified the establishment of six China Study Centers in the country and three-year funding titled “Academic Collaboration under CPEC Consortium of Universities.” In Punjab, the only such center will be established at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore.
“It is an honor for our university to be selected for the project from among over 30 public sector universities in the province and we are grateful to the HEC for providing us this opportunity,” said Prof Dr Syed Mansoor Sarwar, Vice Chancellor, UET, Lahore. “Our faculty has several on-going research collaborations with Chinese universities, several of our faculty members have earned their PhDs from top Chinese universities, we are already running Confucius Set at the university for offering Chinese language courses, and the university has been selected as Rotating Chair of China-based UNESCO’s International Institute of Online Education (IIOE)for 2021,” Sarwar added.
The university will receive Rs 22.815 Million for hiring human resource (teachers and administrative staff) for three years to run the center. In addition, it will receive a one-time grant of Rs 6.0 million to purchase study material (books, magazines, etc), audio visual material including software, and requisite hardware, and office requisites. The university will get approval of the academic, administrative, and financial mechanism of the center from its statutory bodies and provide suitable furnished Internet-enabled accommodation for the center.
Applications from universities across the country were evaluated through a competitive process against certain benchmarks. These yardsticks were related to their involvement in CPEC-related projects, research collaborations with Chinese universities, joint publications, linkages through university’s teachers who have earned their PhDs from Chinese universities. The China Study Centers are being established as mini think tanks to promote academic and research linkages among the Chinese and Pakistani universities. The primary function of these Centers will be to drive collaborative activities to enhance understanding of Chinese system, culture, and economic miracle.
Universities will be eligible for funding through other initiatives under the PC-1, such as joint research projects, training and talent cultivation, and joint conferences, seminars, and workshops through a competitive selection process. The selected universities are expected to achieve the following target on the completion of the project to promote better understanding of the Chinese history, culture, and economic development. Each Center will be expected to publish minimum three books on China/CPEC, undertake at least three impact studies related to CPEC in collaboration with Chinese universities, train at least 100 staff/students in Chinese language, and translate minimum 100 pages of Chinese literary pieces in addition to organizing exhibitions of Chinese advancements in science and arts as well as organize cultural activities to showcase Chinese culture.