The British Council in Pakistan and Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan has recently launched a joint programme Pak-UK Education Gateway, which aims to enhance partnership between the higher education sectors of Pakistan and the UK. Key areas of collaboration under this umbrella framework are: innovative and collaborative research, higher education leadership, quality assurance and standard setting, distance learning, international mobility and transnational education.
Pak-UK Education Gateway builds on existing collaborations between the UK and Pakistan that the British Council and Higher Education Commission has facilitated over last fifteen years: from knowledge exchange and leadership development programmes, to student and teacher training, scholarships and research collaborations.
This programme will support the ambitions set by the HEC in Vision 2025, the document charting out targets for the upcoming years: increase gross HE enrolment by 15 per cent, PhD faculty by 40 per cent, the number of universities to 300 and a total enrolment to 7.1 million.
The British Council in collaboration with the HEC has so far facilitated partnerships between 160 Pakistani universities and 65 UK institutions, including 160 research links involving over 1000 researchers from both countries contributing to sustainable development goals and institutional capacity building.
In 2018, British Council and HEC organised six roundtables in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bath, Belfast and Cardiff from January to August, which were very well attended by the UK higher education sector. The delegation from Pakistan interacted with more than 100 UK Higher Education representatives from 40 institutions and UK bodies. The positive response from both sectors demonstrates willingness to develop long term strategic relationships between these two countries.
Please write to us if you require further information for the project: PAK-UKGateway@britishcouncil.org.pk
Find out more about the Advance HE and NAHE Associate Fellowship for IPFP Fellows.
Pak-UK Education Gateway has six main thematic areas:
UK Education Gateway Virtual Conference - Rethinking and reshaping a resilient HE System
A three-day virtual conference on Rethinking and reshaping a resilient higher education system was held from 15 – 17 December 2020 in partnership with the British Council and the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Under the joint programme Pak-UK Education Gateway which was launched in 2018 aiming to enhance partnership between the higher education sectors of Pakistan and the UK. The Pak-UK Education Gateway builds on existing collaborations between the UK and Pakistan that the British Council and Higher Education Commission have facilitated over last fifteen years: from knowledge exchange and leadership development programmes, to student and teacher training, scholarships and research collaborations.
This was the first ever virtual conference that brought together President of Pakistan, Ministers, Senior leaders and academics from both UK and Pakistan to discuss the challenges and opportunities they are facing, the role of leadership in building resilient HE systems, and lessons learnt from the pandemic. With COVID outbreak, the education sector in both countries stopped all F2F activities. Considering these challenges there was an urgent need to have an agreed response to COVID. The British Council Pakistan and HEC teams agreed a response to COVID and the joint flagship programme Pak UK education Gateway discussed the challenges and adjusted it to meet the urgent need and demands posed by the lock down. This includes support to the HE sectors in developing the first open and distance learning (ODL) policy and enabling over 200 HEIs in Pakistan to enhance access to higher education to around 2 million students.
The conference was also an opportunity to announce several new projects and scholarships including eight UK-Pakistan university partnerships that will undertake joint research projects (jointly funded by the British Council and HEC) on a range of areas from climate change to medicine to cultural heritage, 50+ new scholarship opportunities for Pakistanis – especially women – to do postgraduate study in the UK, and a further 200 scholarships for underprivileged girls to study within Pakistan.
Across the three days, a range of senior figures from Pakistan and the UK attended and spoke, including Dr. Arif Alvi - President of Pakistan, Dr. Christian Turner CMG - British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Hon. Mr Shafqat Mahmood - Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Pakistan, Hon. Asad Qaiser, - Speaker National Assembly Pakistan, Dr Tariq Banuri,- Chairperson of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Dr. Shaista Sohail - HEC Executive Director, Dr Fateh Marri - Member Higher Education Commission Pakistan, Ms. Vivien Stern - Director Universities UK International, Ms. Alison Johns – Chief Executive Advance HE UK, Kate Joyce - Global Director for Higher Education and Science British Council, Dr Joanna Newman MBE - Secretary General Associations of Commonwealth Universities UK, Mr. Douglas Blackstock – Chief Executive QAA UK, Mr Amir Ramzan – Country Director British Council Pakistan. The conference was also attended by VCs, university administrative staff, academics, students, and colleagues from education sector bodies from both countries.
The PAK UK Education Gateway programme is beneficial to UK and also led to the development of Pakistan’s first policy on open and distance learning, development of the recently established National Academy of Higher Education with the collaboration of Advance HE UK and the HEC, the development of quality assurance mechanisms for HE in Pakistan with the support of QAA UK and the development of a handbook on TNE that will support UK and Pakistani universities set up TNE partnerships.
Through MS Teams and the HEC’s livestreaming services, the conference was attended by over 7700 people each day. The hashtag PakUKEducationGateway was trending number 2 in Pakistan with a reach of 2.5 million, 6.6 million impressions, 16 print and digital media mentions. The closing session was aired live on PTV and seen by an estimated 10 Million viewers.