Press Releases



National Technology Council to hold Webinars on Latest Tech TrendsNational Technology Council to hold Webinars on Latest Tech Trends<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, May 6, 2021: The National Technology Council (NTC) will hold a series of webinars on various facets of technology and the latest technological trends amidst the hardships stirred by COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns. The first webinar of the series, entitled "Using Existing Technology to Develop COVID-19 Vaccine in Pakistan" will be held on May 19, 2021. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The webinars will cover topics such as COVID-19 vaccine development, improving solar panel technology to make it user-friendly and aesthetically appealing, automotive technology, and energy-efficient and green building technology, etc.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In a virtual meeting, presided over by NTC Chairman Mr. Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, the Council reiterated its resolve to pursue NTC's agenda of quality assurance in the technical education through programme accreditation and registration of technologists during the prevailing critical time. It was decided to continue the NTC quality assurance programmes, including accreditation and registration of graduates, while following the COVID-19 protocols.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The meeting participants underlined that the quality and standards of subject content need constant up-gradation with a special focus on curriculum. They prioritised 10 engineering technologies, in which the higher education institutions are running four-year degree programnes, for curriculum development. Prof. Dr. Inayat Ullah Babar, Vice Chancellor, University of Engineering Technology, Taxila, and a member of the NTC's governing body, shall be the focal person for this initiative.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">It was further decided that the NTC will strengthen its social media handles to provide real-time information for public, technologists, and stakeholders.    </p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============</p>06-05-2021 20:02:15<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
HEDP holds its Third Steering Committee MeetingHEDP holds its Third Steering Committee Meeting<p style="text-align:justify;"><img src="/english/news/news/PublishingImages/Press-Release-Pictures/Picture.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad- May 1, 2021: The Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) project held its third Steering Committee (SC) meeting at HEC office Islamabad. Presided by the Executive Director HEC, Dr. Shaista Sohail, the meeting was attended by key SC members from all provinces. The committee consists of senior officials from key federal ministries and provincial departments of higher education, Vice Chancellors of universities from across Pakistan, and industrial representative.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">HEDP is a five-year project (2019/20 – 2023/24) being implemented by HEC to expand upon its key higher education priorities. It aims to support research excellence in strategic sectors of the economy, improve teaching and learning, and strengthen governance in higher education. The project comprises of five key components which include improving and expanding research grants, roll out of the new undergraduate education policy, extending Pakistan Education & Research Network (PERN) to universities and affiliated colleges, Higher Education Management Information Systems and Data Repository, and establishment/strengthening of National Academy of Higher Education – NAHE.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Project Coordinator, Ms. Maryam Riaz gave an overview of the project, its restructuring and future plans. The restructuring focuses on the changes necessary due to the circumstances higher education faces due to COVID. Extensive use of latest technology in higher education is a key element of restructuring. The new technology initiatives include state of the art Learning Management System to help improve the quality of online learning and make it accessible even in the remote areas of Pakistan. Blockchain technology will be implemented to ease the process of degree verification and attention thus saving the students money and time it takes to get degrees attested. It will help address and eradicate the issue of fake degrees.  Latest Enterprise Resource Planning system including Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence will be deployed at HEC to improve the efficiencies of the organization. A central data warehouse linked to a powerful Business Intelligence platform will provide reports and insights to senior decision makers in higher education thus supporting evidence based policy and planning. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The research grants offered under the HEDP project during year 2020 covered sectors where there is a dire need of research to find practical solutions to issues Pakistan faces. For example, a grant award under Grand Challenge fund was awarded to a research proposal in Food Security sector, and will focus on making vaccines for animals to save their lives from ticks. Another grant focuses on finding solution to locust issue and to save crops from locust attack. Rapid Research Grants covered issues related to COVID. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Participants also discussed the new undergraduate education policy which has been rolled out nation-wide. Dr. Syed Zulfiqar Gilani informed the SC of the new distance and online learning policy and distance/online quality assurance framework. HEC has implemented its own MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) which will be soon opened to faculty members across Pakistan and they will be able to use it for developing their own courses. Rector NAHE, Dr. Shaheen Sardar briefed the members on the faculty and HEC employees' trainings conducted over last six months. NAHE also focused on training teachers on how to deliver courses online and use online learning management systems. NAHE is moving towards self-reliance and has generated significant funds through conducting some specialized trainings. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">HEC provides internet and WIFI services to faculty and staff. This network has further expanded to remote universities and affiliated colleges. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Committee members were informed that despite the hurdles faced due to COVID the project is still on track and a successful World Bank mission has recently concluded.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">SC appreciated the efforts of HEDP team and offered their support and cooperation to resolve any challenges faced by project team. The committee members expressed their interest to be more involved with the project and have frequent meetings. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks from the Executive Director (HEC).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============</p>01-05-2021 19:47:20<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
HEC, University Heads Agree on Providing Provisional Admission to A2 StudentsHEC, University Heads Agree on Providing Provisional Admission to A2 Students <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, April 30, 2021: The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan after consultations with the Covid-19 Oversight Committee representing Vice Chancellor from each province and region, and heads of a few private sector universities have agreed to provide provisional admission to A2 students, whose exams have been postponed to October 2021, in the Fall 2021 semester so that they would not waste a session.  </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">On the direction of the Federal Minister for Education Mr. Shafqat Mehmood to ensure that the students of A2, whose Cambridge exams were being postponed due to Covid do not lose a session, a virtual consultative meeting was held on Friday to address the reservations expressed by students and parents in wake of the Government’s decision to put off examinations till June 15 due to surge in the third wave of COVID-19 in the country. In this backdrop, HEC and universities have decided to provide provisional admissions to A2 students in the fall Semester 2021 as and when it begins in order to avoid wastage of their time. </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">Addressing the meeting, Executive Director HEC Dr. Shaista Sohail said, “we want to assure the parents and students that HEC, and the universities are committed to ensure student-centric approach without compromising the interest of universities and teaching and learning quality”. </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">It is worth mentioning here that the Government, after a special meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) over the prevailing COVID-19 situation, decided that no examination would take place in the country until June 15 amid a surge in coronavirus cases and casualties.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="color:#1f497d;">===============</span></p>30-04-2021 11:41:08<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Senior Women in Higher Education Come Together for a Virtual WorkshopSenior Women in Higher Education Come Together for a Virtual Workshop<div style="text-align:justify;"> </div><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">Islamabad, April 7, 2021: As many as 22 women Vice Chancellors, Provosts, Executive Directors and Deans from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Pakistan logged in to participate in a workshop entitled “Collaboration for Excellence – Women Leadership in the Higher Education Sector” organized by the National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE). </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">All participants had one goal in mind – to work together and find a way to enable women in leadership roles in universities as well as those on the cusp of leadership positions. Participants from all four provinces and Islamabad were part of this groundbreaking conversation chaired by Dr. Shaheen Sardar Ali, Rector NAHE. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">Reflecting on personal and professional experiences, women at the forefront of higher education in Pakistan talked through challenges confronted in their professional life, how they overcame them and opportunities that helped them. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">Dr. Rukhsana Kausar, Vice Chancellor, Government College Women University (GCWU) Sialkot touched upon the unique challenges of women working without support structures and financial cushions in place. Dr. Farhat Haq, Provost, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) spoke about the edge that Pakistani women hold in the shape of strength and resilience.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">Dr. Saima Hamid, Vice Chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) reiterated how women leaders in higher education have had to fight to be heard and to have their contributions seen. Dr. Parveen Munshi, Vice Chancellor, University of Sufism and Modern Sciences spoke of the administrative and financial competencies that need to be learned on the job, because most institutions lack preparatory capacity building opportunities. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">Dr Tashmin Khamis, Vice Provost, Aga Khan University (AKU) touched a chord with all participants when she spoke of the further justifications women have to give when making changes or suggestions and the constant ‘guilt’ trip women employees find themselves taking. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">Themes that became clear through the course of the discussion and which will form part of the ‘Women leadership Program’, included women’s perception of self, social structures that may work for or against women, the need for networking and reiterating ideas, and the crucial role of good mentorship. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">Becoming part of the ‘power circle’ or ‘decision-makers circle’ within universities can be challenging for women; information sharing, and decision making can happen in social settings which may not be accessible to women. In the time ahead, participants hoped to collaborate and work together to address these challenges, create opportunities, and provide women at the cusp of leadership with the resources they need. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">Going forward, NAHE intends to draw upon the ideas generated by this incredible group of women leaders to design and implement excellence and leadership courses across Pakistan, both centrally and through regional hubs of learning. This virtual engagement is one of several and on-going workshops NAHE intends to hold with women working in HEIs to support and widen the pool of women in leadership positions. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="font-size:12pt;">NAHE is established as a stand-alone, autonomous institution operating under the auspices of HEC to improve the quality of teaching, research, and governance in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Pakistan. It is envisioned as the premier institution for quality research and teaching related to all aspects of higher education in Pakistan. This series of trainings is one of multiple ongoing NAHE endeavors at HEC. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span style="color:#1f497d;">===============</span></p>08-04-2021 07:05:30<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
HEC clarifies misconceptions circulating in social media around HEDPHEC clarifies misconceptions circulating in social media around HEDP <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span>March 31, 2021-Islamabad – “<em>The audit reports are part of regular oversight and tend to improve processes. All the concerns of audit about the Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) Project have been replied to. HEDP/HEC is well equipped to take up project challenges and the team is committed to make this project a success, despite all odds</em>,” said HEC spokesperson, in a statement issued here on Tuesday. <span> </span>HEDP is assisting HEC in its various key higher education initiatives. It is a<em> five-year</em> project (2019/20 – 2023/24) being implemented by HEC with support from the World Bank. It aims to support research excellence in strategic sectors of the economy, improve teaching and learning, and strengthen governance in higher education. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span>During the last FY 19-20 audit, a few observations were raised. HEC has successfully replied to all observations. In foreign funded projects, donor rules apply and HEDP project is running successfully complying with the World Bank procedures. All consultants of HEDP were hired in compliance with the applicable regulations. <span style="background:yellow none repeat scroll 0% 0%;"></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span>HEDP comprises of some key initiatives to uplift the higher education in Pakistan. The research component includes variety of research grants to promote high quality research in public/private sector universities and affiliated colleges across the country. So far, three major grants have been launched with 10 Rapid Research Grants related to COVID-19 already awarded. Evaluation of proposals for three more grants – Grand Challenge Fund (GCF), Technology Transfer Support Fund (TTSF) and Local Challenge Fund (LCF) is already under way. The project also aims to uplift the Offices of Research, Innovation & Commercialization (ORIC) and Business Incubation Centers (BIC) to bridge gap between academia and industry and generate/encourage significant economic activity. These grants will help contribute towards knowledge economy of the nation and uplift the research eco-system. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span>In addition, the project has contributed significantly towards building excellence in teaching and learning through enhancement of quality assurance cells and revamping of undergraduate curriculum. <span> </span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span>To ensure the efficiency and transparency in the public sector universities and affiliated colleges, a major component of project focuses on the use of Information Technology (IT governance) in higher education sector. HEDP will implement new QA policy to monitor online education and provide latest Learning Management solution to all participating institutions to facilitate distance learning. Verification of degrees and other credentials is a worldwide issue. HEDP is deploying latest Blockchain technology to address the challenges of fake degrees and to smoothen the process of degree attestation /verification. HEDP is deploying scalable world-class ERP, Student Lifecycle Solutions and expanding the online research network. Interestingly, most of these initiatives have already been kicked off and in the process of roll out. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span>********************************</span></p>31-03-2021 08:21:31<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Universities in Cities with High Positivity Rate of Covid-19 Shall Remain Online until April 11, 2021Universities in Cities with High Positivity Rate of Covid-19 Shall Remain Online until April 11, 2021<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, March 24, 2021: Following announcement by the Government for extension in closure of academic institutions in the selected cities due to recent upsurge in Covid-19 cases, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has clarified that all universities shall continue to operate as per guidelines issued earlier except for the educational institutions, which were earlier closed due to the high positivity rate. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">All such universities and higher education institutions shall remain closed for physical attendance until April 11, 2021. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, academic activities will continue online during this period. Moreover, on-going and pre-scheduled exams can be conducted as planned with complete observance of Covid-19 health and safety protocols. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Universities are advised to ensure strict observance of the Covid-19 minimum health and safety protocols i.e., thermal scanning, wearing facemasks, social distancing, availability and regular use of sanitizers and disinfection of buildings. In addition, Universities are advised to seek further guidance, if required from the Chair or the provincial/regional members of the Covid-19 Oversight Committee or email at <a href=""></a>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p>24-03-2021 20:19:14<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Education Key to Promote Inclusivity in Multi-faith Societies: Executive Director HECEducation Key to Promote Inclusivity in Multi-faith Societies: Executive Director HEC<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, March 20, 2021: Education is the key to ensure inclusivity, social cohesion, and peaceful coexistence in a multicultural society. This was stated by Executive Director Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan, Dr. Shaista Sohail while addressing the closing ceremony of a three-day series of webinars entitled, "Nurturing Peaceful, Respectful and Inclusive Societies in Pakistan: Seerat counters hate speech through decisive action," jointly organised by HEC and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Twenty four speakers from three continents, i.e., Asia, America, and Europe, including representatives of minorities and youth, expressed their views in six different sessions on Seerat and Global Peace; Perspectives of Diverse Religious Communities of Pakistan; Global and Local Perspectives; Youth, and Concluding Recommendations for Manual. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The webinars aimed at encouraging peaceful, inclusive, and empathetic communities in Pakistan through tools like active and continuous intersectional participations, dialogue, and collaboration. These events also aimed to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG16 on building peaceful, inclusive and just societies.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Shaista Sohail underlined that the Seerat of the last Prophet, peace be upon him (PBUH), provides a clear precedent of peaceful coexistence among people from different religions, and cultures, ethnicities. She stressed that Islam encouraged the believers to be kind, considerate and empathetic across the board and regardless of people's creeds, beliefs, colour and identity. She said that Pakistan was continuously moving towards the goal of attaining a society based on the pattern set by the last Prophet (PBUH). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She hoped that the webinars would prove to be a stepping stone towards achieving the goal of giving an end to hate speech, violence, persecution, marginalizedation, and stigmatisation of specific groups. The manual of the webinars, being prepared on the basis of the thoughts shared by speakers, will be a rich contribution to inspiring the youth to move towards a more tolerant society. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She expressed a confidence that the future would witness the gaps and deficiencies in the way of mutual cohesion shrinking. "We have to ensure our children are encouraged to mix up with minorities, empathize with them like the last Prophet (PBUH) did, and be honest and truthful in their affairs."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">She assured the UN officials of HEC's full support in carrying out webinars and workshops on efforts to combat hate speech in the future. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">In her closing remarks, United Nations Special Adviser Dr. Alice Wairimu Nderitu emphasised building resilience against hate, online and offline, while upholding the role of youth in this regard. There is a need for promoting, among people, the skills of mediation and negotiation in case of differences and conflicts, she underlined. She hoped that the webinar discussions would contribute to achieving the SDGs. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She said that the message of President Arif Alvi, who addressed the webinars opening ceremony on March 17, to opt for forgiveness in case of any confrontation was universally applicable and beneficial.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Secretary General of Religions for Peace Prof. Azza Karam acknowledged the role of religious institutions, including non-government organisations, and religious leaders in serving communities around the world. She informed the audience that Al-Azhar University and various other universities of the Islamic world were also collaborating with the Religions for Peace in promoting religious harmony. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She urged the religious institutions and leaders, from across the world, to join hands for the cause of global religious harmony. She observed that the impact of work done by religious institutions and leaders was limited, yet the significance of role needed by multicultural religious entities could not be underestimated.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She noted that Pakistan was a home to different major religions of the world, including Sikhism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Pakistan has a very important and strategic role, given the value and role of religious identities, in promoting interfaith harmony not only for the Muslims but also for the non-Muslims. She stated that instability in Pakistan meant instability across the region. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Prof. Karam highlighted the role of Pakistani youth in the Arms Down! Campaign for Shared Security, the drive to engage religious leaders and believers around the world to unleash the power of multi-religious cooperation through shared action. She stressed the need for continuity in the efforts for the common purpose of disarmament, especially mobilisation for nuclear disarmament. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief Dr. Shaheed said that Islam protected and preached respect for human rights. He emphasised engagement of people with multicultural identities to dispel wrong impressions about Islam in terms of human rights. He also underlined the initiatives happening globally for prevention of incitement and violence, including the Rabat Plan of Action. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">He also appreciated the role of Pakistan in addressing hate speech and contributing to the development of the UN human rights framework. He added that Pakistan made people free about their religions and promoted respect for diversity and pluralism. He said the Prophet of Islam provided a formula of mutual understanding and respect by involving non-Muslims in placement of the Blackstone in Kaaba. He also expressed concerns over the growing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Edward Kessler, founder of Woolf Institute, Cambridge, UK, presented recommendations and successful examples of peace building tools. He shared with the audience how the Woolf Institute taught the Pedagogy of Dialogue. He said that the institute advised the students to begin with common ground, explore perception, engage in dialogue, and respect differences. "Living with diversity requires tolerance," he emphasised. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">He underlined that education was very important tool to live peacefully in diversity, as education transmitted and received values. He observed that arguments and conflicts were the result of distance, while education dealt with issues of belief, identity, values and practices. "We can converse and dialogue to bridge differences between two perspectives." He believed that armies defended a country and education defended civilizations. He said that the question was not to accommodate different beliefs, but it was to accommodate the potentially conflicting beliefs. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Political Affairs Officer at Office on Genocide Prevention Dr. Simona Cruciani said that embracing differences was much better than embracing violence and conflicts. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Former Project Director Seerat Chairs HEC Dr. Amineh Hoti said that Islam was a strong advocate of education for all, men and women. She emphasised the role of youth, education, and media in line with the philosophy of the last Prophet (PBUH) in promoting a peaceful multi-faith society. She said that the nations were judged by the way they treated their minorities, women, and youth.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">A session of the webinar assembled Pakistani youth from various backgrounds, including Rohananiyyih Nabilzadeh, Nadine Murtaza, Anjum Malik and Maliha Javed Khan. The young speakers shed light on different aspects of life amidst multiculturalism. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Nabilzadeh said that youth had a great potential and talent that needed to be channelised. She said that the youth must aspire for spiritual and intellectual growth. "Service to humanity is the service to God." She emphasised practical measures for attaining peace. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Nadine Murtaza dilated on her initiative of 'Schooling Pakistan' that was aimed at educating people by inculcating the importance of extensive study instead of sticking to textbooks. She said that children must be equipped with the right tools to address the challenges they might face.     </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ms. Anjum Malik underscored the significance of countering hate speech through digital means. She said that hate speech affected every member of society at different levels and ways. She stressed formulation of an intersectional strategy to involve in interfaith dialogue for harmony. Youth must be made stakeholders for peace, she concluded.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Maliha Khan highlighted the role of technology in reaching out to wide audience to educate them. She appreciated the HEC's efforts, and the initiatives of various other entities to keep the continuity of learning intact in the COVID pandemic. She thought that the content taught at schools, colleges and universities played as a key message to advocate inclusivity.     </p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============</p>24-03-2021 20:11:00<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />





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