USAID concludes summit on future of higher education

ISLAMABAD  -   The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) yesterday concluded the threeday “International Summit on the Future of Higher Education in Pakistan,” organized under USAID’s Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan. The summit, which took place from June 10 to June 12, was a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to enhance the higher education landscape in Pakistan. The summit brought together 180 leaders and faculty members from Pakistani and American universities to collaborate, exchange knowledge, and generate policy recommendations to improve the quality and market-relevance of higher education and forge partnerships aimed at improving the quality of higher education and the employability of graduates. Key topics addressed at the summit included fostering entrepreneurship in higher education, integrating climate change, managing financial challenges, and conducting market-relevant research and innovation. Speakers highlighted the potential for cross-country collaboration to spur interdisciplinary research and knowledge.

In her remarks, USAID’s Acting Mission Director, Maura O’Brien, highlighted the importance of the partnership between USAID and Pakistani institutions: “As we look toward the future of higher education, I want to highlight two universities’ innovative strategic plans that represent new approaches for higher education to foster a more prosperous and inclusive Pakistan.” She continued, “By making higher education inclusive and market relevant, universities can unlock the potential of all their students.”The Federal Education Minister, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui praised the summit, stating, “This initiative is a testament to the enduring partnership between Pakistan and the United States, focused on empowering our educational institutions to produce graduates who are ready to meet the challenges of the future.” As the summit concluded, participants expressed optimism about the future of higher education in Pakistan, with renewed commitments to continue working together towards shared goals of educational excellence and innovation. HESSA, implemented by the University of Utah, supports 16 partner universities across Pakistan in improving their institutional capacity to deliver marketdriven education and research.

Meanwhile, The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training has eliminated the requirement of Form B for getting admission in federal government schools. “It has come to our attention that the previous requirement of producing Form B as a condition for admission in federal government schools has inadvertently restricted access to education for underprivileged children,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.