HEC financial aid programme | Education reforms

US pledges $4m for HEC financial aid programme
Islamabad, May 27: The United States will provide $4 million to expand Higher Education Commission financial aid programme, which was launched at the concluding ceremony of a two-day national conference on public-private partnership for higher education here on Tuesday.

This $4 million programme aims to expand and improve financial aid programs for higher education in Pakistan.

HEC-FAD will build the capacity of the Higher Education Commission and eleven Pakistani universities to establish financial aid offices, develop skills and knowledge for fundraising, and establish international linkages.

"USAID's HEC-FAD programme will provide Pakistani universities with useful, practical advice on fund raising," said United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director in Pakistan Joseph Williams.

"We are developing a culture and system for raising private resources to improve the quality and reach of higher education institutions," he said "We look forward to hosting up to 75 of your staff on their visit to the United States, where they will meet experienced and successful professionals in both financial aid and fund raising," he said.

He underlined the need for "encouraging partnerships" in the field of education "to expand and to capitalize on our common objectives of training a new generation of leaders and problem-solvers".

Funded by USAID and managed by HEC, this two-day conference had sessions for the vice chancellors and selected relevant financial aid and development staff of 11 partner universities.

The participants discussed practical measures for expanding financial aid resources for higher education, in order to build the universities' capacity to generate private funds by establishing development offices and creating international linkages.

Since 2002, the US Government has provided more than $3.4 billion to Pakistan for improvements in economic growth, education, health, governance, and assistance in earthquake reconstruction.

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'Reforms to bring improvement in education system'
Islamabad: Minister of State for Economic Affairs Division Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday said the government is banking on its reforms focusing on public-private partnership to bring improvement in the education system.

She was addressing a national conference on public-private partnership for higher education arranged by the HEC. USAID funded Higher Education Commission-Financial Aid Development Programme (HEC-FAD) sponsored the conference.

The minister said the government is taking several initiatives to overhaul the education system. The partnership of HEC and USAID would definitely help yield positive reforms in the education sector, she hoped.

Despite putting enormous efforts to elevate the standard of higher education in the country, a lot still needs to be done, the minister said. She said higher education linkages with industry and research are of pivotal importance to gain results from the reforms.

Presently, four to five per cent people have access to higher education in the country and this percentage needs to be increased through concrete efforts, she added. Executive Director HEC Suhail Naqvi, emphasising the importance of higher education, said university is a beacon of light and it would hopefully produce future generations.

Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education, Shahid Ahmad said that HEC and Education Ministry faced financial crunch which affected the performance of the education sector. For the last four years, the government is spending 44 per cent on primary education but still the dropout rate at primary level is 37 per cent.

Similarly, the college education was neglected during the previous years. There is 55 per cent literacy rate in the country and efforts must be expedited to fill the gap and remove the disconnection between primary, college and higher education, he added.

It is essential to strengthen the public sector universities to equip maximum students with education, he said. Dr John W Shumaker gave a briefing on USAID-funded HEC-FAD programme and gave its details.

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Two NUST students killed in road accident
Islamabad: Two students of the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) were killed and another was critically injured when their car, hit a road divider near Margalla Tower on Tuesday morning, witnesses said.

The dead bodies of students and the injured student were shifted to PIMS. PIMS spokesman Dr Waseem Khawaja quoting the statement of one of victim's father, said that Waqas Ahmad, Hassan Ishtiaq and Rehan - the final year students of NUST Engineering department - were heading towards International Islamic University from Sector F-10/3 at 5.30 a.m. "When they turned on to the main double road near Margalla Tower, the driver lost the control over the wheel due to over speeding and hit the road divider". He said that Hassan Ishtiaq was already dead when brought to the hospital and Waqas expired during the surgery. Rehan was out of danger, but not in his senses, Dr Khawaja said.

In another accident a 10-years-old boy was crushed to death by a speedy car (IDS-1876) near Tarnol Railway Crossing. The victim could not be identified so far. The News

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