The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan has offered 20 training programmes for faculty of Gambian universities to be organized during the next couple of years.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan made this offer in a meeting with a delegation from Gambia at the Commission Secretariat.
The delegation comprised of Mr. Yaya Sireh Jallow, Vice-Minister/ Permanent Secretary; Mr. Samba Sowe, Senior Science, Technology and Innovation Officer; Mr. Ousman Nyang, Deputy Vice Chancellor; and Prof. Faqir Muhammad Anjum, Vice Chancellor, University of Gambia.
Welcoming the delegation, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed shared the initiatives and achievements of HEC for promotion of higher education in Pakistan. He said HEC was established in 2002 when the country had only 59 universities, adding that the number of universities has now reached 188 along with 4000 affiliated colleges.
The Chairman said,
Three million student population is studying in Pakistani higher education institutions, and the ratio of enrolment in higher education institutions has now reached nine per cent as compared to 2.6 per cent in 2002. We have 25 per cent PhD faculty in our higher education system, while we aim at taking it to 40 per cent by 2025 in order to cope with the shortfall being faced by the country.
He said HEC is responsible for setting direction of research activities in higher education institutions in order to harmonise research with social needs.
The Chairman informed the dignitaries that HEC has set up three centres of excellence on water, energy and food security in Pakistani universities, while it plans to establish centres of excellence on climate change and artificial intelligence too.
HEC has established digital library, gives students and researchers online access to over 200,000 books, adding that HEC has also set up Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation as well as Business Incubation Centres in a number of universities.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said,
We have the best ICT set up of the region and we have connected our universities through Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN) and video conference facility.
He also informed the delegation about the Technology Development Fund, Cloud Data Centre, Smart and Safe University Programme, Smart Classroom concept, and Tenure Track System. He said Pakistan now has five skill universities in addition two other institutions in the pipeline.
“We are linking all these initiatives with their impact on society. HEC started with focus on quantity, followed by quality. And, now it has concentrated on social impact of academic milestones,” he emphasised.
The Chairman rued the wastage of money worldwide on destructive science. “If even half of this money was spent on Africa, the region would have turned into Europe,” he said and stressed the need for investment on constructive science for well-being of humanity. He assured the delegation of all possible assistance to Gambian universities.
Talking to the Chairman, Mr. Yaya Sireh Jallow appreciated the steps of HEC for promotion of higher education in Pakistan. He said Pakistan and Gambia enjoy cordial relations which need to be further strengthened by academic collaboration. He wished to have collaborative endeavours between HEC and Gambian higher education institutions, seeking scholarships and training opportunities for Gambian faculty.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said HEC is willing to offer 20 trainings in a period of two years to Gambian faculty. He said HEC will conduct trainings in specific areas identified by Gambia including quality assurance, governance, science, technology, and engineering. “We need to work together for humanity,” he said.