Press Releases



HEC to Fund Research to Address Covid-19 Crisis: Chairman HECHEC to Fund Research to Address Covid-19 Crisis: Chairman HEC<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, March 25, 2020: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has sought proposals from universities, institutes, and individual researchers on ideas to address the Novel Coronavirus crisis. This was decided on Tuesday in a special video meeting of HEC's senior management. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The bulk of HEC staff has been directed to work from home, following the directives of the Health Ministry, so all the work of the Commission is conducted electronically. Applications are received online or through courier, meetings are conducted by video link, and all papers and files are handles electronically. These arrangements have been out in place in order to ensure that all major services of the Commission continue to be provided without interruption during the current emergency. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The research initiative launched today, with the support of the World Bank, is entitled the RAPID Research and Innovation Fund (RRIF) program. It aims to mobilize the research capacities of universities in support of national efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Under the initiative, a rapid assessment and review mechanism has been established to analyze research and innovation proposals urgently. Each applicant seeking funding through the RAPID Research and Innovation Fund can propose an idea based on one of the priority themes. The proposals are due by April 3, and funding decisions will be made within the month of April. Funding will be provided to selected research-intensive institutions for analysis of data, testing of specimens, access to facilities or equipment, or development of essential products or services. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Besides the research initiative, HEC has also been working with universities to minimize the impact of the lockdown of universities on academic activities. To this end, three specialized committees have been established to help arrange IT facilities, software, tech support, and curate substantive online content. The objective is to enable faculty members to (virtually) continue teaching their courses from where they left off at the time of closure of universities. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Individual faculty members will share their course outline/s and required reading materials with their students through online learning management systems. Universities will develop repositories of online courses. HEC will facilitate access to an extensive digital library of lectures and courses. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">HEC's COVID-19 Technology Support Committee has prepared a working paper to assist the senior leadership of Universities in easing the transition to virtual instruction. The paper provides the minimum technology requirements and recommendations on the choice of digital platforms for the University. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">For collaboration and video conferencing, all public sector Universities have been provided free access to Microsoft Teams software. HEC and Microsoft have been working together to ensure smooth introduction of this platform.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Chairman HEC, Tariq Banuri reiterated that all stakeholders should be sensitized to keep abreast of the latest information about the coronavirus and share it with other people in their communities. Necessary guidelines and safety instructions have already been circulated among universities and are available at the HEC website. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">HEC management is continuously monitoring the developing situation arising out of Covid-19 and is in contact with the university leadership for further planning so that all possible support is extended to minimize academic disruption and safeguard faculty and students' academic and research interests to maximum possible extent in the prevailing situation.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>25-03-2020 15:16:34<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Steps Afoot to Avoid Educational Loss of Students amidst Corona CrisisSteps Afoot to Avoid Educational Loss of Students amidst Corona Crisis<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, March 18, 2020: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has developed a databank of the online courses available at the national and international level and shared it with universities, while the university faculty has also been asked to prepare virtual courses for dissemination to students.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This was stated by Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Tariq Banuri in a message on the prevailing situation created by coronavirus.      <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Chairman said that coronavirus pandemic has endangered the entire world. As a precautionary measure, students of all the public sector universities have been given a three-week break under instructions by the Government. The ongoing vacations may be adjusted in the summer holidays, however if the prevailing situation persists, the online lectures activity will help avoid educational loss of students. In the meantime, faculty members will take advantage of the break to prepare online lectures for the students to mitigate the disruption in provision of education.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He urged the Vice Chancellors to follow the guidelines about precautions to protect essential staff and faculty from the virus. HEC has issued comprehensive guidelines in this regard, and has also taken precautionary measures at the HEC offices.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He requested all experts and highly educated persons, including faculty members, students, and staff of universities to use their advanced knowledge to keep abreast of the latest information about the coronavirus and share it with other people in their communities. Some information in this regard has been circulated among universities and is available at the HEC website. "People should be advised to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against the virus." This is a social responsibility of all educated persons with access to global media and expert knowledge. He said the people feeling ill should self-isolate themselves and limit their contact with people.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>19-03-2020 07:31:52<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Chairman HEC, Vice Chancellors, Finance Minister KP Meet in PeshawarChairman HEC, Vice Chancellors, Finance Minister KP Meet in Peshawar<p style="text-align:justify;"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>Chairman HEC, Vice Chancellors, Finance Minister KP Meet in Peshawar</em></span></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Financial Issues of KP Public Sector Universities to be addressed</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad/Peshawar, March 12, 2020: The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan have agreed to develop and implement a plan, before June 2020, to help older universities overcome their pension crisis. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The agreement was reached in a meeting on university finances held between Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri and Vice Chancellors of public sector universities in KP, and the Finance Minister KP Taimoor Saleem Jhagra, and Adviser to Chief Minister KP on Higher Education, Khaleeq-ur-Rehman.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Vice Chancellors presented a proposal for consideration of HEC and the KP Government. Following the deliberations, the KP Government agreed on working together with HEC and the KP public sector universities to take concrete steps to improve the quality of education and research in the province. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The participants also agreed to develop a framework that ensures that the cost of university education does not exceed the paying ability of different groups of students. To this end, the participants agreed to take measures to reduce costs, to broaden scholarship systems, and to link tuition and other costs to the family incomes of students.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The envisaged cost reduction measures include targets and milestones that will ensure transparency, efficiency, and high quality, the introduction of double entry bookkeeping, collection of data, and establishment of automation systems through HEC's HEMIS programme. The universities will also develop plans for enhancing resource mobilisation from multiple sources. The provincial government will assist universities in filling the vacant positions of Treasurers as soon as possible.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>13-03-2020 07:03:00<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
UPSIGN, UKRI Hold Global Development Workshops in IslamabadUPSIGN, UKRI Hold Global Development Workshops in Islamabad<p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>HEC Committed to Developing Solution-Oriented International Partnerships: Chairman HEC    </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, March 11, 2020: Education is the vanguard of international collaboration and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is fully committed to solution-oriented academic and research partnerships with foreign entities.     </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This was stated by Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri while addressing a networking get-together with a delegation of the charity-based UK-Pakistan Science Innovation Global Network (UPSIGN) and United Kingdom Research & Innovation (UKRI) held at the Commission Secretariat. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The UPSGISN and UKRI are jointly holding three global development workshops in Islamabad. The third of this series of workshops is being held tomorrow, March 12, 2020. Over 150 academics from the UK, Pakistan and across the region have travelled to Islamabad to take part in the workshops, addressing sustainable development challenges linked to Food Security, Agriculture & Nutrition; Affordable Healthcare; and, Clean and Affordable Energy/Water in Pakistan and the Region. The workshops are aimed at creating and fostering new relationships and developing new networks to address challenges aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Chairman HEC stressed the need for efforts to bring people together, stating that education is the main vehicle to bring people together. He observed that the world has now realised that the problems prevailing all over, including terrorism, COVID-19, and poverty etcetera, are of similar nature and they need to be tackled through mutual collaboration. "The world is witnessing the growing trend of efforts for global peace, as there is awareness that the fundamental and central goal should be peace." He noted that war used to be considered the greatest source of glory in the past, however it is now seen as an evil. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">He welcomed UPSIGN workshops in Pakistan. He maintained that the workshop themes are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which have been outlined after a long process of thinking. Pakistan and the United Kingdom have a lot of potential for collaboration. He urged the UPSIGN delegation to consider triangular partnerships with Pakistan, involving any third country to help resolve its problems. He said the triangular partnerships have greater potential under budget constraints. "Solving their problems may help us learn how to solve our problems," he added. He said HEC is keen to benefit the ability to imitate those who resolve their problems.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The first workshop of the series called "Food Security, Agriculture & Nutrition", focused on the issues related to food security and challenges faced by food production in Pakistan, e.g. development of system solutions to address malnutrition through maximized dietary diversity and quality. The workshop also discussed strategies to tackle the spread of diseases from livestock to humans (Zoonotic Disease) and the overuse of antibiotics for livestock in Pakistan. The workshop also explored the development of integrated pest management strategies for the control of insect pests of economic and health importance. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The workshop on Affordable Healthcare covered topics on Health, Gender and Mental Health and Reproductive Health, in addition to issues experienced by children and adolescents and their impact in mental health. Other topics within the scope included biomaterials and regenerative medicine for developing low-cost healthcare solutions for the management of wounds and injuries. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The third workshop on Clean and Affordable Energy/Water will discuss issues and solutions to Pakistan's key challenges as a water-stressed but heavily water-dependent economy. Surface water supplies are variable and have been declining over the past decade. Pakistan is home to the world's second most overstressed aquifer, yet it is the world's top groundwater exporting country. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Chairman UPSIGN Prof. Jawwad Dar shed light on the role of UPSIGN as a bridge between Pakistan and the UK higher education sectors. He said UPSIGN, structured as an executive group and academics, is a registered charity entity working on partnerships for mutual benefit. He said the UPSIGN seeks to improve ''Communication, Coordination and Cooperation'' between the Pakistan and UK academics and institutions on all levels from universities, public and private organisations, business sector, and Non-Government Organisations. It has aligned its efforts to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.          </p><p style="text-align:justify;">UKRI Lead Prof. Nicola said, "UKRI is excited to work in Pakistan to address challenges aligned to the UNSDGs (UNSDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), indeed, UKRI has allocated a total of £1.5b for research in partnership with low and middle income countries to address such challenges through the Global Challenges Research Fund." UKRI is investing up to £200k (PKR. 40 million) on these workshops alone.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Co-Founder UPSIGN Dr. Khalid Mahmood said, "this is an exciting time where top universities and research institutes are taking part in the workshops. This includes researchers from more than 30 UK universities and research Institutes."   <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>12-03-2020 07:49:48<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Conference on Building Primary Care CapacityConference on Building Primary Care Capacity<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, March 4, 2020: Pakistan needs to enhance primary healthcare to improve the poor health statistics. This was stated by Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health.   <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He was speaking during the opening ceremony of the two-day conference on Family Medicine entitled "Building Primary Care Capacity: Pakistan's Critical Need," organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) and Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) at RMU's main campus on Wednesday.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Mirza said that there are, on average, only three Family Physicians to cater to the needs of about 10,000 people. He said the numbers need to be enhanced and the 'bulk of General Practitioners' need additional training and incentives. He stressed the need for measures to promote Family Medicine by faculty development, medicine development, policy reform, and targeted research. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This is hard for the poor to pay for healthcare services at private hospitals. Pakistan is unfortunately near the top of the list of countries with negative health indications."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Mirza emphasised that efforts are needed to improve the quality of healthcare facilities at all levels. He regretted the unnecessary high rate of injections administered. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Mirza said that the Prime Minister's vision for universal health coverage has three major components. Every citizen must have access to health services; the Government should pay the expenses on behalf of those who are unable to pay; and, the quality of services should be enhanced. He reiterated that the Government's Health Reforms Agenda is aimed at ensuring the vision of Universal Health Coverage in order to deliver the essential health services to people. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He also informed that audience that the Government, through the Pakistan Health Diaspora Initiative, <em>Yaraan-e-Watan</em> is committed to providing overseas Pakistani doctors a platform to contribute to the country's health sector.   <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This initiative is meant to channelise their contributions. I greatly appreciate the initiatives taken by expatriate Pakistani doctors. I hope the Conference will come up with valuable actionable items to promote the Family Medicine and resolve the healthcare issues in Pakistan." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In his remarks, Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri said that HEC is committed to the quality of medical education, while enhancing access. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Highlighting the importance of the Conference, the Chairman said there is a need for an integrated approach towards investing in the healthcare system, including family health as well tertiary care in addition to environmental health, community health, and nursing.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The healthcare system needs to reach the people, putting the people first instead of merely infrastructural growth." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing the ceremony, President APPNA Dr. Naheed Usmani stressed the importance of healthcare for the achievement of health related goals. For this, Pakistan needs to train primary healthcare through a Family Medicine residency module and standard examinations. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She pointed to Pakistan's low health indicators which are worse than other South Asian countries. Life expectancy in men is 66 and in women 67 years, while the mortality rate under five is 69 by 1000 and the maternity mortality rate is 140 by 100,000. She said Pakistan spends only 2.7 per cent of its GDP on the health sector. She stressed the need for effective childcare medical facilities to decrease the child mortality rate, and promotion of public education on communicable diseases. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Usmani said that APPNA has always been an active partner and supportive of initiatives to improve health outcomes as well as health education and research, and this conference builds upon this history of collaboration. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Shedding light on the PM Healthcare Task Vision on Family Medicine, Dr. Faisal Sultan, the keynote speaker of the Conference, said the Family Medicine requires quality health care, wherein the curative and preventive health care are integrated. He underlined the importance of effective local governance to develop a proper Family Medicine framework, monitor its functionality, and administer its needs. There should be flexibility of the resource allocation to suit to the local needs. He said Pakistan is a nurse-short country, so the country needs steps for enhancing the number of nurses as per the country's requirements. There is a need for a million nurses, while Pakistan has only 100,000 nurses. "We need to come out of the prism of our personal gains."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Vice Chancellors RMU Prof. Muhammad Umar said RMU is the fastest growing medical university of Pakistan, adding that RMU had its humble beginning as Rawalpindi Medical College in 1974 and earned the status of a university in 2017. He said RMU is striving to achieve its goals in a systematic manner in line with its 15 years strategic vision, i.e., the RMU Vision 2033.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Earlier in his opening remarks, Chairman APPNA-MERIT Dr. Shahid Rafique expressed his gratitude to all the stakeholders for making the first-ever Conference happen on such an important subject. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The objective of the Conference is to identify actionable items needed to enhance life expectancy and health outcomes in the country. These include fostering of training programmes and policies for comprehensive development of Family Medicine, investing in public health and health systems, and initiating a programme for training nurses. The Conference is also consistent with the steps taken recently by the HEC to enhance the quality and relevance of the system of education in the country.   <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Conference is expected to provide a strong basis for the development of Family Medicine, which will ultimately improve healthcare for all Pakistanis.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> <span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">===============</span></p>04-03-2020 14:37:13<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
NUST Team Wins Imagine Cup 2020 National FinalsNUST Team Wins Imagine Cup 2020 National Finals<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, February 18, 2020: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Microsoft Pakistan have announced National University of Sciences and Technology's team, Flowlines, as the winner of the Imagine Cup 2020 National Finals.       <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">NUST team's idea to use augmented reality to connect it's users to the physical world outclassed 60 finalist teams from across the country. The Flowlines will now represent Pakistan in the upcoming regional semifinals in Amsterdam, Holland, to compete among global teams for a prize of over US $ 20,000. The top two teams of the semifinals will advance to the 2020 Imagine Cup World Championship.    <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Imagine Cup is a global competition for students over 16 years of age. For nearly two decades, students from around the world have been participating in the Microsoft's global technology competition, bringing their unique technological solutions to life. Throughout the Imagine Cup competition, Microsoft Pakistan continues to foster innovation among students and enables them to transform their ambitions into reality. The competition witnesses strong participation from Pakistan as well as from the world over. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">For the Imagine Cup 2020, HEC and Microsoft Pakistan reached out to more than 100 campuses this year through multiple outreach campaigns in a bid to create awareness about the competition and effectively market it to the audience. This effort resulted in record breaking project entries, i.e., more than 600, in this competition.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Mr. Usman Dar visited stalls setup by the participating teams, displaying their projects, at Pak-China Friendship Centre. He appreciated participating students for their innovative project ideas. He said the ideas generated by the students, especially on climate change and waste management, are brilliant and need to be marketed. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The Government is committed to the well-being of Pakistani youth, as it considers them a national asset. Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched the <em>Kamyab Jawan</em> Programme to provide the youth with opportunities to excel in their respective fields. The programme includes various important schemes, including Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, Start-up Pakistan Programme, and National Internship Programme. These schemes will enable a healthy social and economic engagement of Pakistani youth," said Mr. Dar. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Talking to participants of the competition, Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri said Imagine Cup is all about innovation, transformation and what comes next. He observed that Imagine Cup continues to cultivate a spirit of social and technological entrepreneurship, empowering students to use their creativity to address real societal problems through technology. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"We have seen extremely innovative ideas coming in and many of the students, who have been participating in competitions like the Imagine Cup, have established their own start-ups which are now becoming multimillion dollar companies." He hoped that the national final winner team will bring laurels to Pakistan. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Senior Education Director for Microsoft Middle East and Africa Harb Bou-Harb said Microsoft strives to bring the right set of tools and technology to students to expose them to the skills required for the future of work.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Imagine Cup is one of Microsoft's efforts to transform skill development, nurture budding technologists and foster collaborative and innovative spirit. This global technology competition is characterised by several success stories, as it is a great platform to innovate, get recognised and eventually get enabled to bring about a positive change. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Pakistan ranks as the top country in the world with the highest number of project submissions and competitors in the Imagine Cup. Students were initially evaluated in regional finals held in different cities, while the best teams competed in the national finals. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Country Manager Microsoft Pakistan Shahzad Khan said, "The talent we have in Pakistan is phenomenal and competitions like Imagine Cup only help highlight this raw talent and give them a platform to reach the global community." He stressed the need for focusing on producing skillful, technically enabled and certified graduates to meet the global market needs for engineering talent.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>19-02-2020 07:23:40<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
HEC Organises Speech Competition to Express Solidarity with KashmirisHEC Organises Speech Competition to Express Solidarity with Kashmiris<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, February 4, 2020: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) organized on Tuesday a speech competition in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day. Students from different universities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi region participated in the event. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Honorable Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood was chief guest in the opening ceremony, while Parliamentary Secretary Ms. Wajeeha Akram graced the prize distribution ceremony. Chairman HEC Mr. Tariq Banuri and DG (Academics) HEC Mr. Raza Chohan and a larger number of students from universities in the twin cities were present at the occasion. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Sher Ali Daim from Allama Iqbal Open University excelled among other contestants and won the competition. Azhar Iqbal from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Islamabad clinched second position and Kainat Latif from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi won the third position. The winners were awarded cash prizes worth Rs. 50,000, Rs. 30,000, and Rs. 20,000, respectively.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Judges for the competition comprised the renowned journalist and anchorperson Mr. Arshad Sharif, Dr. Abdul Aziz Sahir from Department of Urdu, AIOU and Makhdoom Shahabuddin.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In his address, the Minister stressed that India, under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has been gripped by a wave of fascism and Hindutva ideology and is committing genocide of the innocent Muslims. He added that the government is taking concrete steps to internationalise the issue and as a result, three UN sessions have recently been held on the burning issue of Kashmir dispute. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Minister appreciated HEC for highlighting the Kashmir cause and holding the competition to provide the youth an opportunity to express their sentiments on the Kashmir issue. He observed that it is very significant to create awareness among our youth about the importance of Kashmir for Pakistan. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In her remarks, Ms. Wajiha Akram stressed that every individual or institution needs to raise the voice of Kashmiris in their respective capacities. She said the world needs to recognise the struggle of Kashmiri people for freedom. She appreciated the students for their spirit and knowledge about Kashmir issue and urged them to keep their sentiments alive. She said Pakistan stands by the Kashmiri people in their struggle to achieve their right to self-determination. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>04-02-2020 13:15:19<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />





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