HYDERABAD: British Council Pakistan has been extending massive support to higher education institutions in Pakistan for the past seventy and above years. We immensely value and greatly appreciate this cooperation. The said help has taken on a significant rise after the start of Pak-UK Education Gateway in the recent years, as more and more British universities have opened their academic doors to Pakistani academics, scholars and students giving way to increased research engagement.
The above statement came as an upshot of the views expressed by VC-SU Prof. Dr. Fateh Muhammad Burfat in his presidential address at the eve of awareness seminar organized by Office of the Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC), University of Sindh, Jamshoro under the aegis of British Council Pakistan and Higher Education Commission Islamabad beneath the canopy of “Pak-UK Education Gateway at the Senate Hall of the Vice Chancellor Secretariat on Wednesday.
British Council Area Director for Sindh and Baluchistan Michael Houlgate was the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker on the occasion with British Council Head of Higher Education and Skills Sarah Parvez as the speaker. The Vice Chancellor Dr. Burfat further said that SU was a premier seat of higher education in Pakistan; the founder of which namely Allama I.I. Kazi had the honor and privilege of teaching at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London in 1928.
“We have around 700 highly qualified Faculty at SU; more than 300 of them have done their doctorates from leading world universities. I warmly welcome you to this classical and oldest citadel of knowledge in Asia,” the VC said addressing BC Director Houlgate.
Dr. Burfat said it had become almost impossible to work solo in the technology-ridden, fast changing, and digital world. “To be productive, beneficial and meaningful, we need to connect, collaborate and converge,” the VC stressed. Dr. Burfat said, recently the British Council in Pakistan had hosted 800 vice chancellors from 90 countries of the world to share, network, learn and grow “I was highly privileged to be part of this academic feat at Albert Hall, London as an invitee speaker at the Going Global: International Vice Chancellors’ Moot 2017”, Dr. Burfat added.
The vice Chancellor also announced establishment of British-Sindh University Alumni Association at SU, for which, he said, they would be seeking help from the British Council Pakistan. The Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker Michael Houlgate stated Pakistan and the United Kingdom had over 70 year long history of rich, cordial relations with marked cultural commonalities. He said he was delighted to see firsthand and meet in person more than 30 SU Faculty at one time; who had done PhD from highly reputed universities in UK.
“We have, of late, announced the first offering of Education Gateway for the year 2020.This offer is called Innovative and collaborative Research Grant and it aims to enhance joint research engagement activism between Pakistan and UK scholars in collaboration with Higher Education Commission Islamabad. I will urge upon you SU academic heads to encourage your peers and students to be forthcoming in competing for this grant,” Mr. Houlgate informed and urged.
Director Houlgate said that grant opportunities were available in the areas of ‘innovative and collaborative research, Pak-UK joint principal investigator initiative, allied health sciences, quality assurance, leadership, distance learning, transnational studies, governance and community engagement and active citizenship.
British Council Head of Higher Education and Skills Sarah Parvez enlightened a wide spectrum of study and scholarship opportunities and offerings; informing that the British Council, under ICRG initiative had invested 6 million pounds to help improve health of higher education sector in Pakistan alone in its 2020 grants program.
Ms. Parvez stressed that British Council preferred impact-oriented research engagement over what she termed ‘under-the-shelves’ research. She said BC had shifted its focus from wholesome subject approach to thematically-specific subject approach to elicit-desired outcomes. Both Mr. Michael and Ms. Sarah said they were glad to note phenomenal increase in the number of PhD Scholars at SU, attributing this development to devotion of the faculty and patronage by the vice chancellor.
The presentation segment session was ensued by a highly passionate, informative and academically-enriching discussion session. Earlier, SU Director ORIC Prof. Dr. Imtiaz Ali Korejo presented welcome note and the detailed introduction of his office.
Institute of English Language and Literature senior faculty Dr. Ghulam Ali Buriro moderated the proceedings of the program. British Council Pakistan in Karachi Project Manager Fareed Athar, Deans of various teaching faculties, academic and administrative heads, faculty, researchers and advanced level students participated in the seminar.