Pakistan, Morocco agree to enhance university-based cooperation

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Pakistan and Morocco may start institution-to-institution collaboration, exchange programmes for faculty, staff and students as well as joint academic and research programmes. This was transpire during the meeting of a delegation of Moroccan universities’ representatives that called on Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman, Higher Education Commission and senior management of HEC at the Commission Secretariat on Monday.
The brotherly country’s team is on a three-day visit to Pakistan. The delegation includes Omar Assobhei, President, University of Fez, Mr. Driss Mansouri, President, University Hassan II in Casablanca and Mr. Abdelilah Benmlih, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Letters and Sciences Dhar El Mehraz. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed welcomed the delegates and presented an overview of HEC’s initiatives and achievements during last 13 years. He explained how Government’s commitment helped to develop higher education sector and a considerable increase in funding has brought remarkable changes in the sector. While talking to the Moroccan guests, the HEC Chairman said primary focus of HEC was on increasing access to quality higher education as around 65% of population is below the age of 25 years. “We believe that investment in our youth will lead to development of human resource in all disciplines ultimately helping in socio-economic uplift of the country.
HEC has initiated a number of programmes for faculty, research scholars and students to harness their potential.” Dr. Mukhtar said that over 200,000 people have benefitted from different scholarship schemes during the last 10 years. “Areas having direct impact on country’s socio-economic growth have been prioritized.
Encouraging and funding innovative and relevant research, entrepreneurship, ensuring adherence to quality assurance criteria, developing physical and technological infrastructure, improving governance at universities are some of the key areas where HEC has put its maximum effort,” he said.
Dr. Mukhtar said that Morocco and Pakistan enjoy a brotherly relationship. He said that a delegation of Pakistani Vice Chancellors may visit Morocco to explore opportunities for collaboration and benefitting from each other’s expertise. He also mentioned that next VCs Forum of the Islamic countries will be held in Rabat early next year. The Moroccan delegates appreciated the hospitality of Pakistani people and agreed that cooperation in higher education will play a key role in bringing governments and people of the two nations closer to each other. They said both the countries have many challenges of similar nature and joint research projects will be of great help for both sides.
It was agreed that there was political willingness on both the sides that makes it much easier for planning and execution of joint academic and research programmes. During their stay, the delegation will visit different higher education institutions in the twin cities.

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