ISLAMABAD-Admission directors of nine US universities visited the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to discuss possibilities of institutional agreements for admission and placement of Pakistani scholars in the US universities under the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor.

Talking to the delegates, Dr. Fateh Marri, Executive Director, HEC appreciated the cooperation of US universities in promoting higher education and research culture in Pakistan.

He introduced the admission directors of visiting US universities to the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor, urging them to explore the possibilities of institutional arrangements to facilitate the potential researchers in securing admissions and get placed in the US universities.

He revealed that the initiative aims to increase the number of faculty in tertiary education institutions with highest academic qualifications to improve the quality of teaching and research to prepare self-reliant, problem solving scholars.

He said HEC has been negotiating agreements with top US universities to achieve the targets of placement of 1,500 Pakistani students in PhD programmes at US universities under the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor (Phase I). He said these efforts have resulted in partnerships and formal Documents of Understanding (DoUs) between HEC and the US universities to support this initiative.

In her remarks, Ms. Noor Amna Malik, Adviser Human Resource Development, HEC hoped that the meeting would help the two sides understand each other and decide the working modalities.

She added that it would further help exercise ‘match-making’ to harmonize the possible agreements between the HEC and the visiting US universities with their respective requirements. She informed the delegation that HEC has signed Documents of Understanding with a number of US universities, while DoUs with several other universities are under-discussion.

She said the main objectives of the initiative is to enable the academically qualified 10,000 Pakistani students or faculty to pursue PhD studies in US universities in selected fields. She mentioned that the initiative also aims at training 1,000-2,000 potential candidates annually for admission in US universities through preparatory classes for English language and GRE under “Talent Farming Process” as per admission requirements of US universities.

The US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor was conceptualised in June 2015, as a result of the US-Pak Education, Science & Technology working group (ESTWG) under the bilateral strategic dialogue, as the Government of Pakistan envisions enhancing enrolment in tertiary education up to 7.1 million by 2025 and outreach of higher education institutions at district level. For this purpose, US-Pak Knowledge Corridor aims to provide opportunities for 10,000 Pakistani scholars for doctoral studies enabling HEIs to have highly qualified PhD faculty. In the initial phase, HEC is focusing on sending 1,500 PhD scholars to the leading US universities from Fall-2017.

A total of 99 scholars, including 70 male and 29 female scholars, have so far been awarded scholarships under the initiative, while 87 students are on board with 12 others in the pipeline.