ISLAMABAD-Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the Huawei ICT Academy on Wednesday inked an agreement to increase the number of training slots for Pakistani students four fold, from 800 per year to over 3,000 per year.

A statement released by HEC said that under the MoU, Huawei ICT Academies will be established in eight new universities, which will join existing 15 academies by the end of 2020, bringing the total number of universities to 23. In addition, the training academies in five of the existing universities will be upgraded. The programme will provide important support for the government’s Digital Pakistan initiative. Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri graced the virtual signing ceremony as chief guest. The event was also attended by Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Professional Training Ms. Wajiha Akram, Executive Director HEC Dr. Fateh Marri, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, Huawei Middle East Li Xiangyu (Spacelee), and a large number of vice chancellors.

Addressing the ceremony, Chairman HEC said that the government is keen to bring about the technological transformation of the country, especially through the Digital Pakistan initiative, and the Hauwei ICT Academy Programme will provide a great contribution to this objective.

He said that the programme also supports HEC’s commitment to investing in the practical skills of Pakistani youth. He mentioned that HEC has launched the new undergraduate education policy, which includes a major focus on enhancing practical learning. The Chairman advised the vice chancellors to leverage the opportunities provided by the Huawei ICT Academy Programme, not only to enhance students’ skills, but also to harness technologies in the universities operations, developing collaboration with other universities, and mobilising revenues. Twenty six universities submitted their proposals to the HEC for joining the programme. Following an open and competitive selection process, eight universities were chosen to host the next set of ICT Academies. 

These are Mirpur University of Science and Technology, University of Central Punjab, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Agricultural University, Khawaja Fareed UET, Usman Institute of Technology, Sindh Madressatul Islam University, UET Peshawar and the University of Peshawar. The five existing academies which will be upgraded, based on their past performance, are COMSATS University Islamabad, NUST, UET, NED University of Engineering and Technology, and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI).