LAHORE: Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Monday discussed building partnerships with the public and private varsities to identify solutions to development challenges in the province.
The round-table discussion was held in the PHEC office at Arfa Karim Software Technology Park to focus on USAID`s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) for developing linkage with international universities fortechnicalassistance.
PHEC chairperson Dr Nizamuddin, USAID Provincial Director Lea Swanson, Deputy Director Innovation & Partnership Unit Kanwal Bokharey, rectors and vicechancellors of 11 varsities participated in the discussion.
The universities whose VCs were present, include the Government College University Faisalabad, Government College University Lahore, Fatima Jinnah Medical University Lahore, Khawaja Farid University of Engineering and IT, Rahim Yar Khan, Lahore College for Women University, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, University of Central Punjab,University of Education, University of Management and Technology, University of the Punjab, and University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS).
The participants learned about the USAID`s HESN programme, which was designed to channel the ingenuity of varsity students, researchers, and faculty towards global development.
`We hope to build partnerships with local universities to identify solutions to development challenges through the (HESN) programme that are efficient, costeffective, accessible, and sustainable,` said Ms Swanson.
Dr Nizamuddin emphasised theimportance of research on development issues in order to address the challenges faced by the province.
`I hope that collaboration of universities in Punjab and USAID would further expand after the round-table (conference),` he said.
The VCs and rectors shared ideas of how their institutions could collaborate through the HESN and suggested new areas that could also be explored through the programme. USAID expressed interest in receiving demand driven proposals on key priority areas identified by respective universities in Punjab for further collaboration on global development through the HESN programme.