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HEC to facilitate private institutions

ISLAMABAD, Oct 10 - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will provide more incentives to the private sector for opening quality institutions in disciplines relevant to the socio-economic development of the country, an HEC official said Tuesday.

"Special incentive packages will be devised to facilitate the private sector to open new institutions and enhance existing operations. It will also be encouraged to open new departments at the public-sector institutions," he said.

The official said that the government had limited resources and could not shoulder the burden of provision of higher education solely by itself.

He said the financial constraints of students were being ameliorated through programmes such as the Needs-Based Scholarship Programme, a collaborative programme with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

"Many of the world's most prestigious institutions are opening their campuses in Pakistan to accommodate an increasing number of prospective students from this part of the world", he told.

The official said HEC was pursuing programmes to address issues regarding escalation of tuition fees and other education related expenses, which create a financial barrier to students from low-income families in accessing higher education. He said the private sector both inside and outside the country must rise to meet the challenges of provision of quality higher education to a population of 150 million people. "HEC wants to ensure that all those with the potential to benefit from higher education have the opportunity to do so regardless of socio-economic background," he said.

The official said HEC would also help extend on campus residential opportunities to students at the universities so that deserving students were not deprived of access to quality higher education. The Nation

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