Islamabad-The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan is committed to sustain 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, Wednesday.   Dr Tariq Banuri, Chairman, HEC said this in a meeting with a group of 29 US universities on its visit to the Commission Secretariat. The group visited the HEC to learn about the HEC programs of faculty development and strengthening of the research culture in Pakistani universities through the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor. They discussed modalities of collaboration for PhD Scholarship Program (Phase I) under the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor. 

Dr Banuri welcomed the delegation and said Pakistan has come across a major cultural change wherein the tendency towards acquiring higher education has gradually increased since the inception of HEC in 2002. He said the enrolment has reached nine per cent as compared to merely .26 per cent, adding that the number of universities has grown to 192 in the last one-and-a-half decade. He maintained that the number of research journals published in the country have reached 15000 per annum. He said that research has 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 will welcome the US universities to become a part of the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor. He stressed the need for deliberations to explore ways for collaborative endeavours. Earlier, Dr Mahmood-ul-Hassan Butt, Consultant, HEC 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.

He said 200 Pakistani scholars were sent to the US universities in 2017, while HEC aims to send over 300 scholars in 2018 to the US universities. He underscored that as many as 10,000 scholars will be sent to pursue PhD in various subjects by 2025 in the 10-year program. The US universities’ delegation members expressed their views with regard to the program and shared their willingness to participate in the ambitious program of outstanding mutually beneficial research and faculty development.