President ECOSF met with delegates of Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities of U.S.A under the Patronage of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan on 11th August, 2017

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Higher Education Commission of Pakistan is developing a scholarship program under the project entitled “US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor” which plans to award approximately 10,000 scholarships over the next ten years. In this respect, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) has been contracted by USAID to assist the Government of Pakistan to assess the feasibility of this program. APLU is a research policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of over 236 public universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The feasibility study team from APLU U.S.A visited Pakistan to hold consultative meetings with various stakeholder of higher education and S&T organizations to develop the feasibility and provide recommendations to the HEC. In this connection, President ECOSF Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro was especially invited to participate, engage in the consultative process and meet with APLU study team on August 11, 2017 at HEC.

The feasibility study team comprised of four experts on higher education and exchange programs led by Ms. Anne-Claire Hervy, the Associate Vice President for International Development and Program. While the meeting was chaired by Prof. Dr. Mahmood-ul-Hassan - Consultant HEC. Ms. Hervy briefly elaborated the mission and goals of the U.S. Pakistan Knowledge Corridor and highlighted the role of APLU in developing the feasibility study for the HEC. Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro appreciated the HEC for their efforts to consult with key stakeholders of Pakistan, including ECOSF on this important program. Dr. Soomro also appreciated the APLU team for their engagement and conducting the consultative process in Pakistan to develop tangible recommendations to HEC for effective implementation of this program.

Prof. Soomro enlightened the delegates about the crucial role of ECOSF and its contributions towards strengthening the education sector across all levels not only in Pakistan but the other ECO member states. Prof. Soomro stressed that the primary education is the foundation and building block that needs to be given high priority in order to achieve the goals of quality higher education with induction of more qualified students into the tertiary education system. Dr. Soomro underscored that Inquiry Based Science Education is an effective pedagogical approach, which is key to improve the quality standards at primary education.

During the meeting, a range of issues were discussed regarding the prevailing education policies, regulations and governance in the country. The process and induction of unqualified teachers also came under discussion, which until now there was no mechanism in place to recruit qualified and certified teachers at primary level that being a major flaw in the school education. However, it was informed that a new entrance system has been developed that will be adopted in 2018, which would require a certain standards of pedagogical background for the applicants to be eligible for recruitment as teachers. Prof. Soomro also underlined the gender issues in the education sector with focus on inadequate level of participation of women in Pakistan across all the sectors, especially in the education sector and particularly in the remote and rural areas of Pakistan. The meeting ended with vote of thanks from all participating stakeholders.

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