Lahore (12.06.2019): Delegates from the community colleges of the United States visited Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) today and met with the senior management of PHEC and principals from five existing community colleges of Punjab.
The visit was facilitated by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS) / Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and included representatives from Montgomery College Maryland, California Lutheran University, Sauk Valley Community College, Mesa Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Spokane Community College, Gadsden State Community College, and Seattle Central College Washington. The delegate was welcomed by Director General (QA & Accreditation) PHEC Ms. Zia Batool. A detail orientation on Community College project was given by Director PHEC Ms. Zainib Siraj.
At this occasion, Ms. Zia Batool told that PHEC in collaboration with the Higher Education Department (HED), Govt. of Punjab launched the Community Colleges project following the successful model of the United States. The program offers 2-year associate degrees in practical and employable fields of studies to prepare students to enter the job market and produce a skilled workforce. “The model offers high-quality education with technical expertise at a low cost,” said Ms. Batool, “the education is being imparted in the market-oriented disciplines, with a core focus on the job-ready skills of the students in order to meet the growing needs of the industry as well as bridging the industry-academia gap” she added.
She said that as per the vision of the Govt, of Punjab, PHEC was ardently working to enhance access and affordability to high-quality education for the students through these community colleges. “Currently we have established five community colleges in five districts – Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur- in Punjab. Provincial Minister for Higher Education Raja Yassir Humayun Sarfraz has taken a keen interest in the project and we have been pledged the fullest support of Govt. of Punjab in expanding this project to all nine divisions of Punjab” informed Ms. Batool. She further said that the Associate Degree programme of Community college was the best alternative as the two-year conventional BA was phasing out.
Ms. Zia Batool further said that the sharing of experience and expertise in the field of curriculum development, faculty development, introducing new subject streams, and credit hour management could benefit the community colleges project in Punjab.
The delegates also shared their experiences and pledged support to PHEC to successfully run the project. Later, the delegate visited Community College established at Govt. Township College Lahore and interacted with faculty and students there.