The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan has finalised the groundwork for establishing a regional centre of the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) in Sindh. The centre will be set up in Karachi.

HEC, under its Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) project, aims to strengthen its NAHE, an academic wing of HEC launched in 2019 to improve the quality of teaching, research, and governance in higher education institutions (HEIs) across Pakistan.

The establishment of four NAHE regional centres was envisioned during the life of the HEDP project. Addressing the immediate need for a lack of quality training facilities for academia in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, two chapters were notified in these two provinces last year. Moving forward, two more are to be established in Punjab and Sindh.

In this regard, a two-day consultative workshop was held with the regional stakeholders of Sindh on the establishment of the NAHE regional centre in Karachi. The workshop was chaired by Programme Coordinator, HEDP, Dr Mahmood-ul-Hassan Butt, while more than 40 stakeholders, including Chairman Sindh HEC, Vice Chancellors, and Deans.

Some Vice Chancellors mentioned that their universities have already developed human resource development activities and expressed their desire to collaborate with other universities. The participants provided their valuable inputs on the envisioned role of the NAHE regional centre and how it would build the capacities of faculty and administration in performing their roles more efficiently. The universities in Sindh supported the establishment of the NAHE regional centre, recognising the importance of continuous learning and improvement in higher education.

The participants suggested that the centre should also be replicated in other regions of the province to meet their needs. The implementation of the revised Undergraduate Education Policy (UEP) was also discussed in length, and HEIs extended their support to HEC for its implementation. They were also briefed on the upcoming HEC initiatives to further improve the higher education system in the country. They suggested involving universities in designing capacity-building programmes for faculty and administration.

Dr Salvador Malo, a World Bank consultant, was also engaged during the session via video conference. He is assisting HEDP in the assessment of learning outcomes through the use of an international test at the national level in Pakistan. The international test has been contextualised for use in Pakistan with his help. Dr Malo is assisting HEDP to develop and embed flexible integral education and promote relevant competencies and critical learning skills via revised UEP implementation.

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