Australia, Pakistan to boost collaboration in higher education


Islamabad: Ms. Margaret Adamson, the new Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan called on Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Chairman, Higher Education Commission at HEC Secretariat here on Thursday.

Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed briefed the High Commissioner about HEC initiatives for development of higher education and research in the country and how evolution of HEC from erstwhile University Grants Commission has brought about a paradigm shift.

The Chairman said that HEC was striving to further increase the access rate to higher learning with strict measures to ensure quality as well as promoting relevant research to impact society. He said that HEC was facilitating thousands of PhD scholars to in other countries as well as in Pakistan, adding that Pakistan’s population comprises 65 per cent youth which was a great blessing for the country.

He also shared Pakistan Education Research Network (PERN) which was instrumental in pushing forward and facilitating research and video conference system. He gave an overview of HEC’s effort to establish Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) and Business incubation Centre (BIC) in every university so as to promote research on socio-economic challenges as well as encourage graduates to become entrepreneurs.

Both sides agreed to start a joint scholarship programme for 175 Pakistani scholars to pursue PhD studies in Australian universities. The formal agreement is likely to be signed in the second week of August. Further, it was also proposed that the two countries will deliberate on launching a programme on the pattern of Pakistan-US Joint Research Programme providing faculty members and researchers from both countries to work jointly in areas of mutual interest.

The High Commissioner said that Pakistan is a marvellous country with plenty of resources and nice people. She said that Australia has a strong background in Agriculture, Water Resources, Livestock and Food Security and that the country will like to facilitate Pakistan for research and development in these fields. The Chairman HEC also appreciated the services of previous Australian High Commissioner Mr. Peter Heyward.