Second International Symposium on Issues in Higher Education in Pakistan (HE Pakistan)

Venue: University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi

Location: Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Event Date/Time: Nov 11, 2006 End Date/Time: Nov 13, 2006
Early Registration Date: Sep 25, 2006
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Second International Symposium on Issues in Higher Education in Pakistan
The Undergraduate Degree: The Weakest Link
Organized by the PEP Foundation Inc., New York in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Islamabad, the University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi and non-profit organizations working in the education sector

November 11 - 13, 2006: Symposium
University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

November 14, 2006: Executive session and Press conference (by invitation only)
University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

We are very pleased to announce that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will open the symposium.

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Higher education in Pakistan is in crisis. Currently, less than 3% of Pakistanis in the age group of 17-24 are enrolled in a college or university, and the academic quality of graduates being produced is far below those from corresponding institutions in developed countries. The problem is both of quality and quantity. A lack of funds and reason-based teaching and learning have been the principal causes of substandard education. Poverty and a lack of financial assistance and encouragement to economically disadvantaged youth have resulted in the low participation rate. Although the current Government in Pakistan has increased several-fold the budget of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the newly formed arm of the government that oversees the higher education system and administers funds for its betterment, the impact of this long awaited improvement will not show up until several years later.

The First International Symposium on Issues in Higher Education in Pakistan held at the United Nations in New York in December, 2005 identified the college (undergraduate degree) education in Pakistan as the weakest link. "Leaping Forward," the report resulting from this symposium has identified the college education one of the most neglected sectors of higher education in Pakistan: "There has to be a holistic approach to education. In all the policy planning so far, the thrust of all initiatives has been directed towards the universities, and in that, primarily public universities to the neglect of colleges. Public universities are heavily, if not entirely, dependent on public colleges for their intake of students. They are the weakest link in the whole chain of education in Pakistan. In all initiatives and planning these colleges have been ignored. Their infrastructure is in poor condition and equipment and libraries almost non-existent. Most of the college faculty has little, or no training and only a local Masters degree, no incentives for improving their qualification, and no facilities for research. Relying on outdated textbooks and learning by rote, they produce students who are ill prepared for university."

The objective of the Second International Symposium is to provide a platform where educationists, educators, and students from Pakistan and abroad, and as well as policy makers, non-profit organizations, corporations and businesses in Pakistan can have an in depth discussion of the nature and causes of the problems responsible for the deteriorating state of college education in Pakistan, and of various approaches and models to upgrade this sector of education to required standards.

The specific aims of the symposium are:

To identify the nature and causes of the low standard of college education in Pakistan and its impact on university education

To identify various strategies and models to improve college-level education

To develop various approaches for making higher education accessible to students, especially women, from economically disadvantaged families

To evaluate the opportunities for public-private partnerships in implementing programs for improving college education
Accessible and improved higher education means more skilled workers, professionals, and leaders. Education is the best way to economic prosperity and a safer and more progressive path for overcoming the challenges of the rapidly changing technological and political world. A better higher education system in Pakistan is, among other things, a powerful tool to alleviate poverty and improve understanding, enhance mutual respect, and encourage tolerance and the peaceful resolution of cultural, social, ethnic, religious, and political conflicts.

Chief Guest
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Islamabad (Pakistan) will formally open the Symposium

Invited Speakers and Moderators
(in alphabetical order)

Khawaja Azam Ali, Vice-Chancellor, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad (Pakistan)

Syed Babar Ali*, Pro-Chancellor, Lahore University of Management Science, Lahore (Pakistan)

Nasim Ashraf, Minister of State and Chairman, National Commission on Human Development, Islamabad (Pakistan)

Shahid Javed Burki, Former Finance Minster of Pakistan and Former Vice-President World Bank; Chief Executive Officer, American Emerging Market Partnership (EMP) Financial Advisors, Washington, D.C. (USA)

S. Zulfiqar Gilani, Director, Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET) Islamabad (Pakistan)

Syed Tahir Hijazi, Professor and Dean, Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, Islamabad (Pakistan)

Pervez Hoodbhoy, Professor, Department of Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad (Pakistan)

Azhar Khan, Director of Education, National Commission for Human Development, Islamabad (Pakistan)

Nikhat Khan, Dean Post-graduate Studies, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore (Pakistan)

S.U. Khan*, Executive Director, Infaq Foundation, Karachi (Pakistan)

Bushra Mateen, Principal, Lahore College for Women, Lahore (Pakistan)

Najma Najam,Vice-Chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women's University, Rawalpindi (Pakistan)

Zaffar Mueen Nasar, Chief Researcher, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad (Pakistan)

Nadira Panjwani*, Chairperson, Panjwani Trust and Member Higher Education Commission, Karachi (Pakistan)

Zia Obadin, Student, Master of Philosophy, Department of Administration and Organization in University of Bergen, (Norway)

Atta-Ur-Rahman, Chairman, (Federal Minister) National Higher Education Commission, Islamabad (Pakistan)

Rasul Baksh Rais, Head, Social Sciences Department, Lahore University of Management Science, Lahore (Pakistan)

Dushka H. Saiyid, Allama Iqbal Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge, (United Kingdom)

Pirzada Qasim Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, University of Karachi, Karachi (Pakistan)

(* denotes participants who are not yet confirmed)

Call for Abstracts
The deadline for the submission of abstracts is September 25, 2006. Authors are asked to familiarize themselves with our guidelines for the submission of papers.

Time and Location
The Symposium will be held on November 11 - 14, 2006 at the University of Arid Agriculture in Rawalpindi. The first three days will be open to all registrants. The last day will consist of an Executive Session of the invited speakers and moderators, government policy makers and operators, non-profit organizations and corporations.

The manuscripts of presentations together with the recommendations of the Executive Session will be edited and published in a single booklet within three months of the Symposium.


Registration is free, however you must send your name, address, telephone number and email address to in order to attend.

You can also fax or call our New York office with this information.

PEP Foundation, Inc.
166 Fifth Avenue
5th Floor
New York, NY 10010

Tel (212) 255-5399
Fax (212) 633-2220


University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi

Additional Information

Local Secretariat Dr. Khalid Mahmood Khan Vice Chancellor Secretariat Assistant Dr. Tariq Mahmood Telephone: 051 9290157, 051-906224