ISLAMABAD – Ms. Jo Beall, Director, British Council, UK along with senior members of the Council visited Higher Education Commission Islamabad and met Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Executive Director HEC and senior staff members of the Commission.
The meeting focused on formulation of a strategy document for strengthening Pakistan and UK links in the higher education sector. It was agreed that this partnership should significantly contribute to the internationalization of institutions, and also contribute to capacity building in the higher education institutions.
Other members of the delegation were Peter Upton, Director Pakistan, Rachel Ireland, Director Programmes and Partnerships, South Asia, Nishat Riaz, Director Education, Sarah Parvez, Manager, Higher education and Skills, and Mairi Mitchell, Executive Assistant to Director Education.
Talking to the delegation, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said that during the last decade HEC has been continuously striving to build a knowledge-based economy in Pakistan. “We are encouraging our researchers to focus on research relevant to country’s social and economic needs. We want our institutions of higher learning to develop indigenous solutions for indigenous problems,” he added.
The Executive Director said that Pakistani youth has a lot of potential and they want to contribute to the country’s progress. “Despite a number of problems this country is facing, we have a big hope in the form of our youth who always give remarkable performance whenever they get an opportunity. And HEC’s vision has always been to invest as much as it can for development of our human resource.”
He mentioned the raise in government funding for higher education in the last budget, stressing that education was the only way out for Pakistan. “Though HEC’s effort has paid dividends in the last decade and our institutions have performed excellently, still a big effort is needed for streamlining of the system. And for that purpose, collaboration with organizations like British Council will play a significant role.”
Jo Beall appreciated achievements of Pakistan in the higher education sector. She said that history of British Council’s collaboration with HEC was impressive, and hoped that the proposed strategy document would not only identify matching needs of both the sides but also categorize priority areas of Pakistan’s higher education sector.