UK universities occupy four of the top 10, nine of the top 50 and eighteen of the top 100 spots on the QS World University Rankings® 2016 / 2017. UK higher education institutions are connected to industry and business, and play a critical role in transferring knowledge. We make sure that this knowledge sharing is channelled to Pakistan as well.

So far, around 65 UK universities have formal partnerships or long-term agreements with 160 Pakistani higher education institutions. Over 500 of all Pakistani vice-chancellors, rectors and senior management staff from the educational sector have received leadership training in the UK since 2010, which has allowed them to form relationships with the UK.

New partnerships and collaborative programmes between universities in the UK and Pakistan are also a direct outcome of the training programmes every year that we facilitate.

Our programmes in higher education include:

PAK-UK Education Gateway

The Pak-UK Education Gateway is a joint programme with the HEC. Launched in 2018, it will allow the British Council to improve higher education links between Pakistan and the UK in specific areas like; innovative and collaborative research, higher education leadership, quality assurance and standard setting, distance learning, international mobility and transnational education.

A number of round table discussions across regions in the UK and in Pakistan are being held in order to evaluate and consider prospects of collaborating with the UK HE sector. Please click here for updates on the project.

Policy Dialogues

Through Global Policy Dialogues, the British Council connects people together to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing international higher education. The aim is to explore the shifting expectations, responsibilities and contributions from our network of leading thinkers by encouraging dialogue between governments, businesses and higher education institutions.  As an outcome of a policy dialogue held in 2010, a massive Knowledge Exchange Programme was developed and is currently a regular feature of British Council and HEC collaborative programmes. 

Going Global 

Going Global is an annual conference hosted by the British Council, offering an open forum for global academic leaders to discuss issues facing the international education community. Since its inception in 2004, Going Global has grown from a bi-annual event in the UK to an annual event travelling the globe. Each year, it attracts over 1,000 registered delegates from across the tertiary education sectors and a variety of other industries with perspectives on international education.

The conference consists of a series of sessions based around the year's chosen themes. Sessions take the form of panel debates, multi-presentation sessions and poster presentations. The event also provides an invaluable platform for networking. Several sponsored or private events take place around the conference, which has become a fixture of the global education calendar. Please visit the website for further information regarding Going Global 2017.

Please visit the website for further information. 

Education World Forum

The Education World Forum (EWF) is a ministerial education seminar held annually in London, United Kingdom. Ministers from around the world gather to debate future practice in education focused around themes. The event is attended by ministers and delegate from over 70 countries and attracts more than 300 participants. A total of six ministers from the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan attended the EWF last year. Please visit the website for further information.

Knowledge Exchange Partnerships

The British Council and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan have a joint aim to promote the role of universities as not just generators of theoretical research, but as important members of the community that can contribute to development. Knowledge Exchange acts as an essential third mission for universities apart from teaching and research.

The partnership between the British Council and HEC focuses on four areas of activities: 

Knowledge Exchange National Strategy Development Support 

As a result of the collaboration between the two institutions, the first ever Knowledge Exchange strategy has been developed for the Higher Education sector of Pakistan.  

Developing strategic partnerships for knowledge exchange 

The programme offers mobility grants to senior leaders in universities to work closely with UK partners and develop their strategies for knowledge. To date, 16 grants have been given to universities in Pakistan who worked with their counterparts in the UK. 

ORIC staff training 

Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) are being set up in universities to facilitate research and transform knowledge into products and services. The British Council and HEC are working together to develop the facility for ORIC staff that supports individual higher education institutions to create their own organisational Knowledge Exchange strategic plans. 

HEC Research Links 

A network of UK and Pakistani partner institutions is created to generate successful and credible case studies of knowledge exchange. A total of 16 Exploratory Grants were given to universities in Pakistan to identify university and non-university partners in the UK in 2013/2014. A fresh call for Knowledge Economy Partnerships was launched in collaboration with HEC in UK and Pakistan this year. 

Connect - Interact, Inspire, Innovate 

The British council, in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan organised a three-day UK-Pakistan Partners’ Event: Achieving Impact and Investment in Collaborative Research 2017. The event saw an attendance of over 200 participants from the education sector including a number of Vice Chancellors from across Pakistan, key policy-makers, researchers and academics from the UK partner universities.

A Letter of Intent was signed between the Higher Education Commission and the British Council to launch Phase 2 of Knowledge Exchange Partnerships, which would result in a network of higher education institutions between UK and Pakistan for future projects around gender, split side PhD, STEM, education for emergencies and disability; promote international strategic transnational education partnerships between both countries; and help in the development of a workable framework for international collaborations between the UK and Pakistan.

View pictures on our Facebook page. 

Leadership Programme

Launched in 2008, the leadership programme is an educational capacity building programme organised for Vice-Chancellors, Deans and Rectors of universities and senior officials of the Higher Education Commission. These trainings are designed to improve the participants’ strategic planning and leadership skills, and enhance their capacities by introducing management tools and providing an orientation to working in the universities of the UK.

Over 500 people from the senior management including Pro-Vice Chancellors, Pro-Rectors, Registrars, Deans, and Chairpersons of Departments of higher education institutions of Pakistan have been trained so far under the HEC and British Council’s leadership programmes in the UK. These trainings/courses are designed to improve the participants’ strategic planning and leadership skills, and enhance their capacities by introducing management tools and providing an orientation to working in the universities of the UK. So far the trainings have taken place at Cambridge University, Nottingham University of Reading, University of Glasgow, and University of Edinburgh etc. in the UK.

As agreed under the MoU signed between Government of the Punjab and the British Council, we plan on extending this programme to college principals.

Punjab Higher Education Roadmap

Two UK consultants were identified by the British Council and brought to Pakistan to work on the Roadmap. The researchers met with a number of key stakeholders such as universities, colleges, employers, etc. and produced a final report on the issues in Pakistan’s higher education system that need to be addressed.

Moreover, the road map identifies the need for the formation of an International Task Force to work on reviewing the issues and working on identifying the next steps. Recommendations have also been made on the issues.

Lahore Knowledge Park

The British Council in Pakistan is the strategic partner for the establishment of the Lahore Knowledge Park. We are working with Government of the Punjab to promote the Lahore Knowledge Park to UK universities in order to bring in UK based expertise in academics and research. Lahore Knowledge Park is an initiative of the Punjab Government aimed at promoting exceptional higher education and learning opportunities for students in the country. It was also invited to international events both in the UK and Pakistan for networking by the British Council.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)

Globally, STEM is high on the political and economic agenda with employers wanting to recruit people with high level skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Tertiary STEM teacher trainers are a key element of the STEM pipeline, particularly in terms of the development and retention of a science and engineering workforce.

Those responsible for developing STEM teachers should have a sound understanding of current theories and practice of teaching and learning in higher education, in both face-to-face and online learning.

The overall aim is to develop and pilot a programme to build the capacity of tertiary teachers to use innovative teaching methods and deliver education programmes for Science, Technology and Maths. This pilot will then be used to inform a ‘needs analysis’ to develop a deeper understanding of the sector requirements, and the optimum strategy for developing and embedding best practice for STEM teaching across the Pakistani Higher Education sector.

Through this ongoing programme, participants will be able to:

  • Engage in critical reflection of their own practice in the context of contemporary pedagogic theory and current practice in teaching and learning STEM within Pakistan;
  • Identify a range of innovative pedagogies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment in STEM discipline;
  • Use digital technology in their professional practice to:
  1. deliver teaching and assessment,
  2. develop students digital capabilities,
  3. develop their own professional networks;
  • Develop novel approaches to integrating research into their teaching practice (including access to open data and research-based pedagogic tools);
  • Evaluate the impact of changes to practice and adopt strategies for developing professional networks and sharing best practice. 

Quality Assurance for Transnational Education (TNE) in Pakistan

The HEC wants to play a pivotal role in setting up collaborations and providing information for foreign institutions interested in investment, including an overview of the university landscape and possible partners. Most existing partnerships stem from faculty-level connections or high-profile donors and the HEC is looking to enable partnerships with institutions that lack these networks. Additionally, the HEC is trying to raise the domestic higher education provision in Pakistan to international standards; the organisation has refused approval for institutions that do not meet certain standards in the past.

Keeping in view the importance of quality assurance of Transnational Education provision in Pakistan, a range of meetings were arranged for Chairman HEC to meet with UK apex bodies and various universities in January 2016. A roundtable discussion was held in Manchester in October which was attended by a number of UK universities who have existing collaborations or are interested in developing collaboration with Pakistani universities on a TNE model.

The British Council in Pakistan and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan are aiming to improve the existing situation in terms of quality and quantity and devise a legal framework for TNE Education between UK and Pakistan by inviting QAA UK to help HEC in reviewing TNE provision in Pakistan. Thereafter, the British Council Pakistan, Higher Education Commission and Quality Assurance Agency UK have worked together to develop the capacity of Quality Enhancement cells in Pakistani Universities. UK quality codes were adapted and used to ensure quality in the Pakistani Universities. 

Previous Projects

International Strategic Partnerships in Research and Education (INSPIRE)

INSPIRE was introduced in 2008 and concluded in 2013. It aimed to significantly strengthen the academic and research partnerships between UK and a selection of countries in South Asia - including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan. It now operates in regional flagship partnerships. 

Programmes under INSPIRE:

  • Institution-to-Institution Strategic Partnerships
  • Transnational Education Programmes (TNE)
  • Leadership Programme
  • Talented Researchers Exchange Programme

Click here to read more 

Transforming English Language Skills (TELS)

A joint project between the British Council and Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan was inaugurated in 2012 to improve the English language skills of students and teachers across Pakistan under the Transforming English Language Skills (TELS) programme. 

In partnership with HEC and the Open University (UK), the British Council developed modules for teaching and improving English language skills. The primary one is the Master Trainer Module (MT) – 20 hour module for Master Trainers, which enables them to teach the following three courses:   

  • English for Academic Purposes (EAP) - 40 hour module for first year undergraduate students, to improve Basic English skills.
  • English for Employability (EfE) – 20 hour module for final year undergraduate students to improve their English language skills for employability.
  • Professional Development for Teachers teaching through the Medium of English (PD) – 40 hour module for the professional development of lecturers who use English as the medium of instruction. 

The programme has been implemented in 11 universities in Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan administered Kashmir.

To date, more than 500 teachers have completed the Professional Development training course and over 10,000 students have participated in the English for Academic Purposes and English for Employment Modules projects carried out under the TELS programme.

The British Council in Pakistan is now formalising the widespread distribution of TELS nationwide in collaboration with the Oxford University Press.

Researchers Links Programme

The British Council Researcher Links initiative utilises shared research interests to provide a forum for early career researchers from the UK and other countries to interact and explore opportunities for building long-lasting research collaborations. This is done under the guidance of established researchers in the UK and partner countries, with the activity selected on the basis of mutual benefit, research quality and potential for sustained interaction. The initiative comprises thematic workshops and travel grants, and will be co-funded by the British Council and HEC. It aims to engage other key UK stakeholders to ensure maximum potential for Pakistan-UK benefit and longer term sustainability.