ISLAMABAD:An 11-member delegation of Department of Higher Education (DHE), Ministry of Education, Maldives visited the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan and met the HEC top management here at the Commission Secretariat. The two sides discussed potential areas for collaboration in the higher education sector.
Welcoming the delegation, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed shared a brief introduction of HEC, its achievements and programmes. He said HEC was established in 2002 with an aim to initially address the key challenges of quality of higher education, access and relevance of research. He informed the delegation that Pakistan had only 59 universities before the inception of HEC, while the number of PhDs was only 3000. He maintained that the number of research publications was only 800. He revealed that now the country has over 188 universities, 4000 affiliated colleges, and 11,960 PhDs. Presently Pakistan has around 26 per cent PhD university faculty, he added. He said the gross enrolment rate has reached nine per cent and HEC is committed to taking it to 15 per cent by 2025. Whereas, he stated, the gap between male and female enrolment rate has shrunk. “The ratio of male and female students enrolment in the higher education institutions is now 52 per cent men and 48 per cent women,” he informed. He maintained that the number of research publications has now reached 12000 annually.
With regard to human resource development initiatives, the Chairman revealed that HEC has so far awarded 251,000 scholarships to Pakistani students. He said HEC also executed Prime Minister’s Laptop Scheme and Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme and a large number of students have benefited from these schemes. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said HEC has sealed numerous agreements with many countries for mutual collaboration in the higher education sector. He stressed the need for identifying the areas in which Pakistan and Maldives can collaborate. He said the two countries may initiate joint projects and work together for the development of higher education sectors of the two countries.
The Maldivian delegation comprised Dr Ali Najeeb, Vice Rector, Villal Colleges, Ms. Hawwa Latheef, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Islamic University of Maldives, . Ibrahim Munaz, Chief Inspector, Institute for Security and Law Enforcement Studies, Hassan Abdull Saeed, Vice President, Clique College, Mr. Abdul Azeez Ibrahim, Deputy Rector, MAPS College, Mr. Waheed Wais, Commanding Officer, College of Defence and Security Studies, Ms. Muneeza Afeef, Deputy Vice Chair, Mandhu College, Abdulla Rasheed Ahmed, Vice Rector, AVID College, Dr. Amal Ali, Rector, MIANZ International College, Ms. Aishath Shaheen, Deputy Vice Chancellor, the Maldives National University, Mohammed Sharif, Vice Rector Cyryx College, and MS. Ummu Salma, Adam Abdulla, and Ms. Shyaza Adam from DHE, Maldives. Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director, HEC, Dr. G. Raza Bhatti, Member Operation and Planning, HEC, Dr. Mohammad Latif, Adviser R&D, HEC, Mrs. Shaheen Khan, Adviser Learning Innovation, HEC, Ismail, Consultant, Quality Assurance, HEC, Dr. Mazhar Saeed, Director General Planning and Development, HEC, Awais Ahmad, Director General, Administration and Coordination, HEC, and Mr. Mohammad Raza Chohan, Director General Academic, HEC also attended the meeting.
In his briefing, Dr. Ali Najeeb said the DHE, Maldives facilitates the development of capable, skillful and well-educated citizens who are able to compete in a sustainable, diversified and knowledge-intensive international economy that meets the development goals of Maldives. He said the main functions of DHE include formulation of policies and plans for development of quality higher education system to meet the economic, social and cultural needs of the country. He added that DHE coordinates collaborative activities with international bodies and develops partnerships with international universities. He said the major higher education providers in the country include two government universities including the Maldives National University and Islamic University of Maldives, in addition to two government colleges, one polytechnic college and nine private colleges.