The US and Pakistan have started a $19 million five-year programme to improve Pakistan’s higher education system and increase university graduates’ employability. The Higher Education Commission will implement the programme, which will be launched by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (HEC).
It will benefit 15 public Pakist ani universities across the country, including five women’s universities, by integrating best practices in teaching, research, governance, and sustainability. It will also enable universities to provide students with research opportunities, soft-skills training, and support services such as career counselling. The programme will also assist to match academic preparation with workforce needs through cooperation with industry.
“USAID is happy to cooperate with the Higher Education Commission on this programme,” said Julie A. Koenen, mission director for USAID.
“The Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) will strengthen Pakistani universities by providing students with the education and research experiences they require to be more employable in the local labour market. This will equip talented young people with the skills they need to find work and begin their careers. It will also assist industry’s demands, boost hiring and productivity, and spur more economic growth,” she added.
“[The] HESSA is an innovative programme expected to make substantial contributions towards increasing the institutional and technical capacities of its partner universities, which will impact the quality of our future scholars,” said HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri. I am convinced that the collaboration between US universities and HESSA-partner higher education institutions will result in policy reforms that would benefit all Pakistani universities.”
The programme, according to a statement released in this regard, is another illustration of the breadth of cooperation between the US and Pakistan as they commemorate 75 years of diplomatic relations.