Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan in collaboration with the British Council organized a Programme Development Workshop for university staff to initiate Active Citizens Programme in Pakistani universities and degree awarding institutions.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Chairman HEC was chief guest in the opening ceremony.
The workshop was attended by 30 focal teams for the Active Citizens programme from 13 public universities of KPK, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan regions.
The workshop was facilitated by trainers from British Council and The Citizenship Foundation, UK.
Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman said that through this programme, the institutional support, linkages and the academic platform will facilitate community engagement based on robust theoretical knowledge, inter-cultural dialogue between participating students, engage local policy makers and influencers for a stronger understanding of local issues and encourage students to implement community based solutions. “Students will be mentored by local experts and influencers in order to not only respond to local challenges and generate social value through their contribution but also identify economic value for themselves by building entrepreneurial streak within these solutions.”
He said that HEC was established in 2002 as an independent government institution to oversee and regulate higher education efforts in Pakistan. HEC is striving hard for the excellence in higher education and research in the institution of high learning of Pakistan and has continued to focus on faculty and human resource development, quality education, technology readiness, research and innovation in order to promote the quality of tertiary education in the country.
Jim Booth, Director Programmes, British Council said in his opening speech, “Active Citizens is British Council’s programme to build the capacity of young people as leaders, influencers and active citizens within their communities developing their skills in leadership, communication, advocacy, citizenship, proposal writing, social action project delivery, fund-raising, entrepreneurship, partnership and network building. It gives us great pleasure to share that this programme has started in all institutions of higher learning for under-graduate students as a compulsory course where students will be attending a certain number of hours in classroom and in community to find solutions for local social issues.”
The collaboration aims to provide over 100,000 young students from 100 universities by 2018 the platform to engage in social action in their local communities to address social issues and highlight their role as community leaders at local, regional and national level as well as launch the national platform for advocacy for young people on crucial social issues.
Fida Hussain, Director General (Academics) HEC said, “This partnership is a natural fit with HEC’s long-term objectives to facilitate universities in developing strong relationships with their local community as well as with industry and organizations employing their graduates. We hope that this partnership plays a pivotal role in strengthening these relationships and producing long lasting social impact.”