Press Releases



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;" />
1st Steering Committee Meeting of HEDP Project held at HEC1st Steering Committee Meeting of HEDP Project held at HEC<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, January 24, 2020: The first meeting of the Steering Committee of Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) project was held at HEC Secretariat, Islamabad. The meeting was attended by members comprising provincial Higher Education Departments (HEDs), Vice Chancellors of different Universities and representatives of different ministries. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Fateh Marri, Executive Director HEC. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Marri welcomed the honorable members and informed them about HEDP project objective. The Steering Committee was briefed about the background and details of the project by Mr. Fazal Abbas Maken, Consultant Institutional Reforms and Focal Point for HEDP. It was highlighted that HEC Vision 2025 is based on Government's Vision 2025, which aims at improving teaching and learning along with strengthening governance in the higher education sector. HEDP has also been formulated to achieve the objectives set forth in HEC Vision 2025. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He informed the members that project's life is of 60 months. The project objectives will be achieved through five components, which involve different sets of development activities focusing on teaching, use of technology, and collaboration in research. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Afterward, the component owners briefed the Committee about the set of activities planned for the next 18 months. The Vice Chancellors appreciated the efforts of HEC and assured their active participation in the project activities. The Committee approved the work plan and operation manual with the recommendation to involve stakeholders for developing criteria, policies, and designing training. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Executive Director appreciated the active participation of the Steering Committee members and expected that the project team would be guided by the Committee for achieving its objectives.  In his concluding remarks, Dr. Sajid Ali Yousifani, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Education, and Professional Training appreciated the launch of this project by HEC and underlined the need for consistent efforts to ensure the provision of quality education, through integrating technology in teaching, learning, and research.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>24-01-2020 11:55:15<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
HEC Organises Awareness Seminar on Grand Challenge FundHEC Organises Awareness Seminar on Grand Challenge Fund<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, January 23, 2020: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) organised an awareness seminar on Grand Challenge Fund (GCF) for academia and industry, especially researchers and faculty members at the HEC Secretariat.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Zain-ul-Abdin, Director General R&D, HEC and Dr. Athar Osama, GCF Programme Chair, were the keynote speakers on the occasion. The seminar was attended by a large number of faculty members, researchers from universities across the country as well as the industry representatives.       </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Zain-ul-Abdin shed light on salient features of the GCF programme, its objectives, eligibility and requirements for award of the grant, the GCF themes, and specifications of proposals submitted under the programme. He said the GCF aims at stimulating collaborative interdisciplinary research within the strategic priority areas of relevance to present or future Pakistan-based industry and to society. He maintained that the individual grant value is Rs. 15-225 million under the programme. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">He underlined that proposals have to be submitted by February 7, 2020, adding that the proposals must be linked to at least one of the strategic priority areas, including food security, water management and sustainability, sustainable energy, sociology and philosophy, development economics, urban planning, climate change and environment, IT and telecommunication, and innovative governance and reforms. The purpose is to identify a national problem and solve it. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">DG R&D revealed that the GCF requires setting up a consortium of three to four applicants with at least one applicant from a research-intensive university, cross-disciplinary and relevant complementary scientific expertise, and project participation from industry, public authorities or other relevant organisations. He said a three-stage process is adopted for submission of proposals, including project outline stage, full proposal stage, and presentation to high level expert panel. The maximum project duration is three years, while the expected number of grants per year is 25. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">He also elaborated the three-stage evaluation process of proposals for award of grant, saying that the project outline is reviewed at the first stage, followed by full proposal desk evaluation, and presentation to high level expert panel. He also described the procedures followed at the final selection stage. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Sharing a presentation on the history, approach, thematic areas of GCF, Dr. Osama highlighted the models adopted to meet grand challenges in different developed countries. He said Grand Challenges Canada developed a concept called Integrated Innovation to describe the importance and potential impact of combining scientific, technological, social and business innovation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Highlighting the benefits of the Grand Challenge Approach, he said the Grand Challenges bring "the best minds to the table" by articulating important challenges having the potential to deliver real impact. The Grand Challenges help build and strengthen communities of innovators and they can be used as a platform to address policy and governance issues. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Osama also referred to the Grand Challenges pursued by the World Health Organisation and the UK's Global Challenges Research Fund, UK's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, USAID's Grand Challenges for Development. He said the HEC GCF model has been premised on certain critical assumptions. Universities have a central role to play in solving Pakistan's toughest problems. Private sector and Government partnerships are critical particularly when the former brings in prior Intellectual Property or capability to the consortium and significant development, implementation, or scale up capability. International partnerships will be encouraged when international partner brings a unique value to the protect team. He also explained the GCF 2020 thematic areas and suggested Grand Challenges.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Programme Chair said a successful GCF project must clearly demonstrate a solution to a grand challenge of national importance and may result in development of a consensus and coalition for large scale adoption. He further said that the GCF funded project must create a body of knowledge available to policymakers and practitioners seeking to address a problem. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The GCF is a key element of the Higher Education Development in Pakistan Project supported by the World Bank and implemented by HEC. It is anticipated to promote research excellence in strategic sectors of economy, providing funds to selected institutions based on a competitive, peer-reviewed evaluation process of proposals.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Under the GCF, applications can be submitted in response to a call for proposals. Proposals have currently been invited. The submission of proposals must be made through the HEC portal i.e., according to the guidelines provided in the Call for Proposals. The GCF grand awards are made to the host higher education institutions lead PIs. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>23-01-2020 12:07:28<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
HEC Launches Grand Challenge FundHEC Launches Grand Challenge Fund<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad, January 13, 2020: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has invited research proposals from Pakistani faculty members of public and private universities for funding under the Grand Challenge Fund (GCF). Last date for submission of proposals is February 7, 2020. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">GCF is a key element of the Higher Education Development in Pakistan Project supported by the World Bank and implemented by HEC. The Fund is anticipated to promote research excellence in strategic sectors of the economy, and will provide funds to selected institutions based upon a competitive, peer-reviewed evaluation of proposals. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It will support large, multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional research projects. Successful GCF projects are expected to be collaborative in scope, with research teams working cooperatively to accelerate research progress for societal impact.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Fund is focused on supporting research in priority thematic areas of national interest. As many as 25 grants will be awarded every year, for three years. The Individual Grant Value will range from Rs. 15 million to Rs. 225 million.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Lead Principal Investigators, who will be university faculty members from research intensive institutions, are eligible to apply for the grant. The project team may include a consortia of faculty members from multiple university departments and/or multiple universities, private sector participants as well as international partners. The international collaborations are encouraged when the international partner brings a unique added value to the project team.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Proposals from academia or faculty members, endorsed by head of higher education institutions, Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialization, or Directorates of Research must be submitted through HEC online portal <a href=""></a>.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Information and details of programmes are available at <a href=""></a> <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p>13-01-2020 12:21:13<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
Ehsaas Scholarship is State Guardianship for Students: PresidentEhsaas Scholarship is State Guardianship for Students: President<p>Islamabad, December 26, 2019: The Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Project is a State guardianship for the deprived, as it is responsibility of the State to counter elitism by facilitating people in employment as well as education and health sectors. <br></p><p>This was stated by President Dr. Arif Alvi while addressing the 27<sup>th</sup> Vice Chancellors Committee meeting held on Thursday in connection with Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships. The heads of public sector universities across the country attended the meeting at HEC Secretariat. Many of them joined through video link from their respective campuses.<br></p><p>Dr. Alvi regretted that students from low income families were forced to quit education after matriculation or intermediate due to financial constraints. If only three per cent of students acquire college education, 97 per cent of the country's intellect is neglected, he asserted. <br></p><p>He stressed that the State is responsible for countering elitism by taking such measures as the launch of the Prime Minister's Ehsaas Programme. Elaborating his own experiences, he highlighted the importance of merit and need-based scholarships in a student's life. He said it is a major development that provision of educational opportunities to undergraduate students is focused under this project. <br></p><p>The President urged the Vice Chancellors to take a 'quantum jump' for enhancement in quality of education in order to make country's youth productive in terms of provision of service to the society. He stressed the need for ensuring fairness and transparency in the execution of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Project. <br></p><p>Appreciating the gender balance maintained in the project, he said it is a social obligation not to let the women's productivity and contribution to society go waste. He regretted that, according to a report, 80 per cent of women graduating from medical institutions do not work. He also advised the University heads to take greater care of specially-abled students in whatever form they need it.<br></p><p>Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar said the project aims at promoting human capital investment, as it is imperative to invest in the human capital making the youth technologically skilled to meet the future challenges. She said that these scholarships are part of a much broader effort being made under the Prime Minister's Ehsaas Programme, to intervene on behalf of the welfare of the poor. <br></p><p>Dr. Nishtar termed the project a paradigm change in the State scholarship policy. She said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is keen that this programme should benefit maximum number of students across the country, adding that the Government will allocate more resources for this in the coming years.<br></p><p>Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri underscored that 249 out of 250 students from low income families cannot afford to acquire undergraduate education, so the Government must enhance budget for Ehsaas Scholarships. He informed the gathering that as many as 132,000 students have submitted applications under the first phase. <br></p><p>"This is a fundamentally transformative project and its objective is that no child should remain deprived of education due to financial constraints." <br></p><p>The Chairman said the project is the largest-ever undergraduate scholarship initiative of Pakistan. "Our children need our help for gaining access to higher education."<br></p><p>The Chairman urged the Vice Chancellors to ensure transparency in the award of scholarships under the project. He proposed that five per cent of the recurrent grant awarded to public sector universities should continue to be allocated to scholarships which would supplement and fill the gaps in coverage of the Ehsaas Programme. <br></p><p>Dr. Muhammad Ali, Chairman, VCs Committee said the Government's commitment to education is a great source of encouragement to the academic community. He said that the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Project is a revolutionary and game changing initiative which will promote national prosperity in the days to come. Later, in the question-answer session, the Vice Chancellors thanked the Government for this programme and gave some proposals for making it more productive.<br> <br>Under the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Project, scholarships will be awarded to low-income students enrolled in four and five-year undergraduate programmes. All students from low-income families studying in undergraduate programmes in public sector universities are eligible to apply. Selection will be based on need-cum-merit, i.e., on the basis of the student's GPA and family income (below a maximum threshold). The scholarship covers tuition fee and a stipend.</p><p>Fifty per cent of the scholarships will be awarded to female students, while students with special needs as well as those from remote and disadvantaged areas are also encouraged to apply. He informed the VCs that Rs. 20 billion i.e., Rs. 5 billion per annum have been allocated to the scheme for four years. However, the amount could be increased.</p><p>==================<br></p>27-12-2019 12:07:28<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />
42 Electric Wheelchairs Awarded to Students with Special Needs42 Electric Wheelchairs Awarded to Students with Special Needs<p style="text-align:justify;">Islamabad December 19, 2019: Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training distributed 42 electric wheelchairs to students of 14 public sector universities in a ceremony on Thursday held at Higher Education Commission Secretariat in Islamabad. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While addressing the ceremony as chief guest, he said we need to play a leadership role and it is government's responsibility to facilitate special children in transforming their lives. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tariq Banuri, Chairman HEC, Dr. Fateh Marri, Executive Director, HEC, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Muhammad Asghar, Consultant CPEC, student recipients of wheelchairs, and their parents, representatives of the universities were also present in the electric wheelchair distribution ceremony organized under Prime Minister's Electric Wheelchair Scheme for University Students.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Minister informed the audience that Government would initiate a special programme for facilitating and enhancing accessibility of people with special abilities in educational institutions. He hoped that all public sector educational institutions would be made inclusive and accessible for special children. He also urged private sector universities to make alteration in their infrastructure to provide more and more opportunities to specially-challenged students. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Minister informed that we have yet to acquire more milestones, as a uniform policy for disable citizens is under consideration and be implemented sooner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While talking to the gathering, the parents of specially-challenged students praised the initiative of distributing electric wheelchairs to disabled students with an objective to facilitate them in their mission to complete their higher education, and enable them to contribute effectively towards progress of the country. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Students said that no previous Government has taken an initiative of providing electric wheelchairs to the specially-challenged students. The parents of other children have also shared their struggle in up-bringing these children with special needs.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Students requested that in all educational institutions, building of ramps and provision of elevators should be made mandatory for facilitating physically-challenged students. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Earlier, briefing on Prime Minister's Electric Wheelchair Scheme, Muhammad Raza Chohan, Director General HRD, HEC said that Special children need our attention as they are unparalleled part of our society. The present government has identified the need and has launched this programmme worth Rs. 132 Million, he added. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He further informed the audience that a total of 600 electric wheelchairs are to be distributed in three years duration in all regions of the country. Initially, 208 electric wheelchairs are to be distributed among the university students who had applied under the scheme in the year 2018 and were recommended by the evaluation committees of the public sector universities and HEC's steering committee. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He informed the audience that electric wheel chair distribution ceremony at HEC Secretariat is the central ceremony while 17 university students were given electric wheelchairs in a distribution ceremony held earlier at Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro (LUMHS) and in another ceremony held in Chief Minister House, Lahore 20 university students were given electric wheelchairs.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">===============<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>20-12-2019 09:44:39<img alt="" src="/english/PublishingImages/ThematicImages/HEC%20ICON-15.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />





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