Minister for Interior, and Planning, Development & Reform, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary, who was in London to attend the CHOGM 2018, met Sir Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive British Council at the British Council Office on 18 April 2018.
Appreciating the support extended by the British Council to higher education in Pakistan as a strong partner, Minister Iqbal conveyed his desire to initiate a similar program Pakistan UK Knowledge Gateway with the UK, along the lines of US Pakistan Knowledge Corridor, through which the HEC will send 1000 PhD Scholars every year to the US with the Government providing living/ accommodation expenses while local universities covering costs related to tuition fees.
Minister Iqbal apprised the Chief Executive about his plans to build a state of the art Teacher Training Institute in Islamabad to ensure standardised skill set and capacity building for teachers. He sought the Council’s technical assistance in design and setting up of the Institute. He also sought cooperation of British Council to provide technical assistance to Pakistan to set up Pakistan Academy of Social Sciences.
Minister Iqbal said their government had raised the budget of the Higher Education Commission from 13 Billion in 2013 to 45 Billion this year. One important initiative was the establishment of University Campuses in each District, including four Women Campuses in Baluchistan Districts. On female education, the Minister noted with appreciation that the University Campus in his own District Narowal had now 4000 students, with 80 % being girls. The Minister also showed interest in the British Council’s Creative Economy program and observed that a pilot project could be initiated in the university of Narowal Campus.
Sir Devane assured support and follow up on all issues raised by Minister Iqbal. He further stated the British Council was also contributing to Social Enterprise by providing young people with pathways to a positive and productive life and career.