The Higher Education Commission (HEC) via its Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) concluded the professional capacity building needs assessment report for the higher education institutions (HEIs)of Punjab and Sindh province.

A total of 4,049 respondents from 52 different public sector universities participated in the detailed survey – out of which 39% were female participants while 61% were male. The training need assessment was designed to gauge both academic as well as non-academic staff of HEIs. Proposed training categories against which data was sought included Teaching and Learning, Research Proficiencies, and Financial Governance and Academic Leadership.

The report’s findings highlighted the need for capacity building in several areas relevant to effective teaching and learning, research, institutional effectiveness, and governance in universities.

Some of the key areas identified by the respondents included pedagogical methods, research methodologies, plagiarism policy, technology integration in teaching and learning, quality assurance, financial governance, and organizational leadership.

Interestingly, 96% of respondents were in favour of mandatory faculty development training for newly appointed faculty members at the lecturer and assistant professor level while 70% of respondents recorded mandatory training for all promotions of the faculty.

The assessment report also emphasized the need for focused Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programs in universities to cater for the ever-changing dynamics of some subjects at par with global knowledge. The higher education sector is continuously evolving, especially with the advent of new technologies, therefore the professional needs assessment should be a regular feature.

The report would help HEC in designing and implementing the specific future training programs targeted towards the needs of the faculty and administration of the universities. The project has carried out a similar assessment for KP and Balochistan HEIs earlier.

Executive Director HEC, Dr. Zia Ul-Qayyum, has emphasized the importance of continuous professional development for both faculty and administrative staff in higher education institutions. He stressed that faculty members must stay current with industry developments, cutting-edge research, and innovative technologies to provide high-quality education. The administrative staff alongside must also be trained to ensure a conducive and inclusive teaching and research environment. Since taking office, he has been dedicated to introducing new initiatives to support this goal, recognizing that a well-trained and supportive administrative team is essential for fostering a thriving academic community.

Since 2009, HEC’s National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE) is already executing a comprehensive Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs (IPFP) training program for new faculty before their formal entry into the academic job market. In 2019, IPFP was revised with technical assistance from HEDP to update their training modules/ content with support from international experts. This recent report would help NAHE and provide insights into designing and implementing future continuous professional development programs.