Islamabad-The Higher Education Commission (HEC) urged the higher education institutions to avail the opportunities offered by Erasmus+ Programme to promote academic culture between the European Countries and Partner Countries, Monday.

Chairman HEC Dr. Tariq Banur said this while addressing a workshop on Erasmus+ Programme and urged higher education institutions, faculty and students to avail the opportunities offered under the Programme.   

 The statement issued said that Erasmus+ is an education programme aimed at promoting academic and cultural understanding between the European Countries and Partner Countries. It contributes to the development of human resources, international cooperation, and capacity of higher education institutions across the world by increasing mobility between the EU and other countries. 

Under the programme, the EU extends opportunities to the students and teaching staff worldwide to go to European institutions to acquire higher education or teach under Erasmus+Programme.

It also provides funding opportunities for capacity building and cooperation in all the defined areas. The study scholarships cover an entire Masters Degree course, while grants can fund shorter study periods in Europe that can count towards a degree back home.

A higher education institution can send its students, doctoral candidates and staff to a partner higher education institution in a Programme Country. Similarly, individual students and doctoral candidates will also receive funds under set criteria.

Chairman HEC said that HEC has launched a series of workshops to create awareness about the opportunities offered under the European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme for higher education institutions, students and staff from the partner countries outside the European Union.  

 Dr. Tariq Banuri said the Erasmus+ Programme is a great opportunity that is under-utilised in Pakistan. “We need to realise the significance of this opportunity and avail ourselves of it in a real sense,” he emphasised. He stressed the need for submission of an increased number of research proposals to avail the opportunities under the programme.

He observed that the number of research proposals submitted under the programme has marked an increase in the last few years. He stated that HEC wants to have a boost in student and faculty exchange initiatives, as engagement with the world is very fruitful practice to have quality higher education and research. “The more people apply under the programme, the better it is for the country’s academic as well as socio-economic prosperity,” he underlined.

 In his remarks Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Muhammad Asghar, Executive Director, HEC said the Erasmus+ Programme offers tremendous opportunities to Pakistani students, researchers, and faculty members. He emphasised on creating awareness among the academic community and students about the opportunities offered under the programme.

 Earlier, Dr. Mehmood-ul-Hassan Butt, Consultant, HEC briefed the participants about the background and objectives of Erasmus+ Programme. He urged the universities and faculty members to promote the programme so that maximum people could benefit from it.

He said the programme was launched in Pakistan in 2016 and only 35 scholars received scholarships. He maintained that the number of scholarships awardees reached 60 in the following year, adding that 97 scholars have received the scholarships in the current year. He informed the participants that the target for 2019 is to avail 250 scholarships for Masters Degree and at least four capacity building institutional grants.