BAHAWALPUR - Twelve vice chancellors from different public sector universities of Pakistan have returned home after completing a week-long training imparted by the Leadership Foundation on Higher Education, the United Kingdom.

The vice chancellors visited two Scottish Universities, the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. This training is sixth in series jointly organized by the British Council of Pakistan and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. This particular programme devised in consultation with all the partners delved around training of Pakistani academic leaders in four major themes.

The themes includes: 1 Strategic and business planning including financial and resource planning and the relationship with academic policy; 2 Commercialization of the university including diversified income sources; Research & Development, intellectual property; technology transfer; knowledge transfer; lifelong learning; facilities exploitation; 3 Institutional leadership including the effectiveness of the VC and senior management teams; structures of leadership; leadership styles; policy formation; challenges for the newly appointed Vice Chancellors; and 4 Communication, networking and decision making, including internal communication strategies; stakeholder relationships, institutional partnership.

During the final session, they discussed the importance of communication in all the four identified strategic areas of training. All the vice chancellors had an opportunity to meet with different Scottish academic leaders who shared their success stories in transforming Scottish higher education set up in the last few years.

The Pakistani vice chancellors highly commended public and local philanthropists' involvement in Scottish universities and this experience could be brought to Pakistan. They were also accompanied by Dr. Mazhar and Rabia Firdous from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Ms Nishat Riaz from the British Council office in Pakistan.

Commenting on the programme, Islamia University of Bahawalpur Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Mukhtar described Leadership Foundation for Higher Education Programme as highly focused and tailored for needs of Pakistani universities.

He said that education systems were getting globalized and Scottish system is not an exception. Progress made by Scottish universities and overall British system was highly commendable and breathtaking. Pakistani universities have to struggle extensively for catching up with the global system of education like UK universities, he added.

 Such trainings will pave the way for initiatives that could lead Pakistani universities to fastest globalization track. Commenting on the role of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, he felt high level of satisfaction over the HEC contribution towards such efforts.

Sharing his visit experience, he mentioned that Scottish education system values both high quality research bringing huge returns on investments and also do not spare smaller research projects. Quoting the globalization efforts of University of Strathclyde, he mentioned that several universities in Pakistan can benefit from this university experience.

Dr Mukhtar gave an example of Advanced Forming Research Center (AFRC) of the University of Strathclyde closely working with Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government and leading multinational engineering firms. There is urgent need to establish programs like AFRC to bring academia, business and government together for joint national benefits.