ISLAMABAD (Online) – The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will send 10,000 scholars to the United States for PhD Studies from next year in critical areas of Agriculture and Food Security, Medical and Allied Health Sciences, Energy, Water, Climate Change, Advanced Digital Technology among others.
Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms made this announcement while explaining the Pakistan-US Knowledge Corridor during a video conference session with vice chancellors of universities from across the country. Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC and Dr Arshad Ali, Executive Director HEC were also present on the occasion.
The Pakistan-US Corridor was conceptualised in June 2015 as a result of US-Pakistan Education, Science and Technology working for a group under the bilateral strategic dialogue. The Government of Pakistan envisions enhancing enrolment in tertiary education up to 5 million by 2025 and outreach of HEIs at the district level. At this stage, the universities are facing the shortage of 30,000 PhD-qualified faculty members.
The Minister said that 10,000 PhDs educated in the best US would give spectacular results. “The Government is committed to increasing access to higher education and for that purpose sub-campuses and virtual campuses are being established at the district level so as to enable aspiring students to gain the higher education at their doorstep.”
He said that the horizontal expansion would not be achieved at the cost of quality. He said that advisory service in universities would be established to hunt for talent, prospective students and be coached how to gain admission abroad, prepare research profile and counselled for admission.
Mr. Ahsan Iqbal identified the main responsibilities of a university including instruction, quality research, creating knowledge, encouraging innovation and industry linkage for contribution to the economy and university community relationship. He also shared the recently setup Technology Innovation Fund which will enable new PhDs to carry out research and win a competitive grant to bring about economic impact.
Dr Mukhtar Ahmed gave an overview of HEC’s efforts for developing human resource and providing state-of-the-art facilities to the higher education institutions. He appreciated the Government for increase in higher education funding during the last three years. He hoped that US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor will greatly help in building the knowledge economy.