US and Pakistan Launch $19 Million Initiative to Strengthen Higher Education

The United States and Pakistan have launched a $19 million five-year program to improve Pakistan’s higher education system and increase the employability of university graduates. The program will be launched through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

It will integrate the best practices in teaching, research, governance, and sustainability to benefit 15 public Pakistani universities across the country, including five women’s universities, and will enable universities to provide students with research opportunities, soft-skills training, and support services such as career counseling. Through collaborations with the industry, the program will also help to align academic preparation with workforce needs.

Mission Director USAID, Julie A. Koenen, remarked, “USAID is proud to collaborate with the Higher Education Commission on this program”.

“The Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) will build stronger Pakistani universities that offer the education and research experiences students need to be more employable in the local market. This will prepare talented young people with the required skills to find jobs and launch their careers. It will also support the needs of industry, increase hiring and productivity, and stimulate further economic growth,” she added.

Chairman HEC, Dr. Tariq Banuri, commented that “[The] HESSA is an innovative initiative expected to make notable contributions towards improving the institutional and technical capacities of its partner universities which shall impact the quality of our future scholars. I am confident that the nexus of U.S. universities with HESSA-partner higher education institutions will result in policy reforms that will benefit all universities in Pakistan”.

A statement issued in this regard detailed that the program is another example of the breadth of the cooperation between the United States and Pakistan as they celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations.

Published by
Faiz Paracha