LAHORE (PR) Professor Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan, has expressed the desire to expand ties with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), and offered to host a visit by the AIT President for strategic discussions with counterparts in Pakistan.
He was speaking at a high-level HEC-AIT meeting hosted by the Pakistan Embassy in Bangkok. AIT President Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai was joined at the meeting by Professor Emeritus Dr. Sahas Bunditkul, Chairman of the Executive Committee says a press release received here Wednesday
“AIT is our priority,” and the renewal of the existing memorandum of understanding presents an opportunity for building on the mutually beneficial relationship, the HEC chairman said.
Prof. Mukhtar added that he was proud to be an honorary member of the AIT Alumni Association, and remains confident of AIT’s continuing and prominent role in Pakistan’s human development. “We reconfirm our fullest commitment to AIT. We feel it is our own institution.”
He also informed the AIT delegation about the Pakistan Government’s ambitious US$ 5 billion initiative to expand the country’s higher education infrastructure, including efforts to double the number of PhDs graduating each year to 1000.
President Worsak welcomed HEC’s continuing engagement with AIT, saying the institute is keen to accept more Pakistani students, and also seconded faculty. The president also pointed out how the institute benefits from scholarships provided by valued partners such as Pakistan, and would like to expand cooperation possibilities within HEC’s plans.
Prof. Mukhtar noted that reliance on government funding for higher education is no longer the sole option, referring to how universities in Pakistan are being encouraged to build up R&D capacity and industry linkages to generate revenue for upgrading technology, digital resources, and the quality of faculty research.
Nowadays, students can also choose from a vast array of subjects and institutions, and top students have high demands from faculty and learning environments. HEC aims to work closely with AIT in meeting such expectations, the HEC chairman said.
Prof. Mukhtar added that Pakistan was reviewing the retirement age to enable faculty to remain productive longer. “We can share our experience too and even facilitate discussions that might be useful for AIT.”
It was agreed that AIT would respond to the current draft MOU, and share a draft outline of seconded faculty exchange modalities for review and confirmation by HEC.