Chairman HEC, VCs of various universities represent Pakistan in “Going Global” conference
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan and VCs of various universities represented Pakistan in the British Council’s conference entitled “Going Global” for leaders of international education.
The theme of the global conference this year was ‘Global Cities: Connecting Talent, Driving Change. The conference drew a record number of 900 delegates from 77 countries. This is the 11th annual conference of its series.
In the course of session on Pakistan, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed shared in detail the steps taken to improve the quality of higher education in the country in addition to the achievements of the HEC in the form of increased number of universities, promotion of research culture, and improved access rate. He informed the conference participants that in 2002 there were only 50 universities in the country, 2.1 per cent gross enrolment rate, and 0.26 million enrolment. Dr Ahmed added that the number of higher education institutions has now reached 188, while the access rate has increased remarkably.
It was shared with the delegates of the conference that before the inception of HEC, Pakistan had only 800 research papers published in impact factor journals, however now the number has reached 12,000. The core strategic aims and objectives of HEC also include creating critical mass of qualified human resources, technology readiness with nationwide availability and use of ICT, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The participants discussed developing an action plan for the next five years highlighting priority thematic areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), quality assurance, government, management and higher education. The aim of the session was to enhance and share the collaborative work being done between the UK and Pakistan. Areas of discussion also included internationalization of higher education in Pakistan.
Later, H.E. Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK hosted a dinner at the High Commission for the HEC delegation, as well as the British academics and leaders of higher education many of whom have worked in partnership on projects and leadership programmes.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner expressed condolences on the Manchester terrorist attack and sympathy with the bereaved families. One minute silence was also observed on this occasion. He expressed satisfaction at the progress Pakistan is making in the field of higher education and appreciated the efforts of HEC for improvement of quality of higher education as well as its flagship scholarship programmes which have produced over 9000 PhDs. However, the High Commissioner emphasized the need for producing more PhD teachers to meet the current need of the Pakistani universities.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed recounted the comprehensive programme of higher education reforms and institutional building that has transformed the higher education sector.
Ms. Nishat Riaz, Director Programmes, British Council dwelt on 70 years of partnership between the British Council and Pakistan and looked forward to fruitful future collaborations.
Other members of Pakistan delegation included Dr. Fateh Muhammad Burfat, Vice Chancellor University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Lt. Gen. S. M. Imran Majeed, Vice Chancellor National University of Medical Science, Rawalpindi, Dr. Habib Ahmad, Vice Chancellor Islamia College Peshawar, Vice Admiral (Retired) Tanveer Faiz, Rector Bahria University, Dr. Zia-ul-Qayum, Vice Chancellor University of Gujrat, and Dr. Muhammad Ali, Vice Chancellor Government College University, Faisalabad.