Higher education is crucial for the socio-economic development of the country. International cooperation has been greatly helpful in human resource and faculty development in the higher education sector in Pakistan.
It was stated during the seminar at National Library Islamabad on the topic of “Development of Country to Country Relationships in Higher Education Sector of Pakistan”.
The seminar was jointly organized by The Diplomatic Insight Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan and the American Institute of Pakistan Studies and presided over by Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nizamuddin, Chairperson of National Committee on Development of Social Sciences/Vice Chancellor University of Gujrat, Gujrat.
The seminar was attended by vice-chancellors, diplomats, academicians, civil society, and scholars.
Delivering a keynote address, Prof. Dr. Sohail H. Naqvi, former executive director of the Higher Education Commission HEC, described the bright young minds are the greatest asset of Pakistan.
He said that realizing this fact, more attention was paid to this important segment of society in the higher education sector of Pakistan during the last ten years. He informed that young Pakistanis were provided opportunities to equip themselves with modern knowledge and technology in the leading universities of academically advanced countries.
The pool of these trained and educated young people has been greatly helpful in overcoming the shortage of skilled human resources and qualified faculty in Pakistan.
These Pakistani scholars performed exceptionally well, and the success rate of attaining Ph.D. degrees has been more than 95%.
Pakistani scholars’ hard work and intelligence level have been acknowledged by the officials and academicians of partner countries.
These young people, as ambassadors of Pakistan, strengthen not only bilateral relations with more than fifteen countries but also create a good image of their country around the globe.
While elaborating on the selection process for the award of scholarships, he informed that each Pakistani scholar was selected through a well-defined and transparent mechanism.
So far, over ten thousand scholarships in more than 20 different programs have been awarded, and no complaint about lack of transparency has been received or proved. Transparency was ensured through an open advertisement in national newspapers and on the HEC website.
The merit at each level for shortlisting was determined by test scores/ scores in previous exams.
In addition, the final selection of candidates for foreign scholarships was undertaken by panels of professors/ experts of foreign countries without the involvement of HEC.
All the scholarships were finally awarded through the National Scholarship Management Committee NSMC, constituted by the Honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan. His important national committee comprises representatives of provincial governments and federal departments.
Dr. Anita Weiss, Professor/ Head of the International Studies University of Oregon US and Vice President of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, remarked that during the last few years, the senior faculty belonging to leading American universities have successfully conducted dissertation writing workshops for the young Pakistani scholars for enhancing their capacities, especially in the disciplines of social sciences.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin said that international collaborations, especially in social sciences, arts, and humanities, would be greatly helpful in undertaking research and solving socio-economic problems confronted by Pakistani society.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar, Chairperson IUCPSS/ Vice Chancellor, the Islamia University Bahawalpur, acknowledged the support and role of HEC in strengthening the relationship of Pakistani universities with leading foreign higher education institutes.
Dr. Masoom Yasinzai Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Dr. Rasool Bakhsh Raisani Vice Chancellor University of Balochistan Quetta, Dr. Zakir Hussain Vice Chancellor Govt. College University Faisalabad and diplomats also spoke on occasion.