The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan is committed to sustaining the pace of progress made in the higher education sector by enhancing quality, increasing access and promoting relevance of research through international linkages with eminent higher education institutions. This was stated by HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri in a meeting with a group of representatives from 29 US universities on Wednesday.

The group visited the HEC to learn about the commission’s programmes of faculty development and strengthening of the research culture in Pakistani universities through the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor. The two sides discussed modalities of collaboration for PhD Scholarship Programme (Phase I) under the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor.

Dr Banuri welcomed the delegation and said Pakistan had come across a major cultural change wherein the tendency towards acquiring higher education had gradually increased since the inception of HEC in 2002. He said the enrolment had reached nine percent as compared to merely 0.26 percent, adding that the number of universities had grown to 192 in the last one-and-a-half decade. Dr Banuri said the HEC would maintain the pace of Pakistan’s higher education progress in the years ahead.

The HEC chairman said the number of research journals published in the country had reached 15,000 per annum and research had become an essential part of academic professionals. “This is the change that used to be unheard of in the past,” he observed.

Dr Banuri said HEC would welcome US universities to become a part of the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor and  stressed the need for deliberations to explore ways for collaborative endeavours.

Earlier, HEC Consultant Dr Mahmoodul Hassan Butt briefed the delegation about the background and objective of US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor. He said the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor was established in June 2015 as a result of the US-Pakistan Education, Science and Technology Working Group (ESTWG) under the bilateral strategic dialogue. Butt said 200 Pakistani scholars were sent to the US universities in 2017, while HEC aimed at sending over 300 scholars to US universities in 2018. He underscored that as many as 10,000 scholars will be sent to pursue PhD in various subjects by 2025 during the 10-year programme.

The delegates expressed willingness to participate in the ambitious programme of mutually beneficial research and faculty development.

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