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Leadership Programme
INSPIRE: International Strategic Partnerships in Research and Education

The INSPIRE Leadership Programme, in partnership with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, will build the leadership capacity of senior administrators in universities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

Working with Ministries, Vice Chancellors and senior university academics, the Leadership Programme will design tailor-made training programmes, and commission reports on leadership in participating countries.

The Leadership Programme aims to:

increase international cooperation between the UK and universities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Pakistan
to contribute to the continuing evolution of universities in participating countries

Priority areas for each country will be decided following consultations with stakeholders but might include:

an increased understanding of HE in the UK including policy agendas, the relationship between government and institutions, and the governance and management of HEIs
identification of key issues in the management and development of universities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Pakistan
development of action plans to be implemented in country

Selected Leadership Programmes

The Leadership Programme in Pakistan

In collaboration with HEC the INSPIRE project has organised 6 UK study visits for over 90 Pakistani University Vice Chancellors.  These programmes are designed to improve the participants’ strategic planning and leadership and enhance their capabilities by introducing management tools and providing an orientation to working in the universities of UK.

As well as attending a series of presentations and discussions, and visits to UK HEIs, each Vice-Chancellor took part in a working group focusing on issues of relevance to HEIs in Pakistan and the wider HE system in Pakistan.

The Vice Chancellors then developed individual action plans for implementation on their return to Pakistan, which are already having a significant impact:

‘I was impressed by the ethos of life long learning in the UK that when I came back I decided to lift arbitrary age barriers for degree courses in my university, allowing anyone with the will to study an opportunity’ Dr. Mohammad Nizamuddin, University of Gujrat.

In 2011 we plan to provide small grants to senior university staff in Pakistan and the UK to support the development of institutions strategic plans for Knowledge Transfer.  The grants will be directed at the current network of existing SPs, reinforcing the institutional link at the senior management level.

The Leadership Programme in Afghanistan

The British Council has recruited a volunteer group of a eight senior leaders from the UK Higher Education sector to act as leadership mentors to their Afghan counterparts over the next academic year.

Higher education in Afghanistan is suffering from chronic levels of under-resourcing in relation to people and infrastructure. Cultural transformation is a feature of the Ministry’s Strategic Plan for Higher Education (2010 - 2014), one of whose aims is to improve leadership through developing the management and administrative skills of future top-level leaders and this project has been initiated at the Ministry’s request.

The first group of key players in this British Council leadership project is the first cohort of twenty-five Afghan participants, from nine state universities and from the Ministry of Higher Education. The ultimate goal of the project is to prepare them to be the next generation of effective, top-level higher education leaders in Afghanistan. They currently have a variety of roles, with some being heads of departments in the universities or heads of units in the Ministry and others being vice-chancellors and chancellors, and some of them have a more academic role while others are purely administrators. What they have in common is being passionate about developing themselves as effective and influential leaders and this project will enable them to do so with the support of tutorials and mentoring, largely delivered digitally by UK higher education specialists.

The second group of key players is the UK participants, some of whom will be regular mentoring partners of the twenty-five Afghan participants and others who will be deliverers of occasional management and leadership seminars. The mentoring relationships of the Afghan and UK participants will be pursued mainly by digital means. Having put out a call for UK volunteer mentors, the British Council has been overwhelmed by an enthusiastic response and, over the coming few weeks, it will be selecting mentors who have a range of academic or administrative content and leadership skills that match the needs of the first cohort of Afghan participants.

Although the benefits to Afghanistan of rebuilding their higher education sector and knowledge economy are obvious, this isn’t an ‘aid’ project, because we believe both sides will grow. The Afghans through developing their leadership skills and international awareness, and gaining Ministry and institutional recognition through improving their institutions. The UK side will develop through gaining a greater insight into their own management and leadership skills, through developing mentoring skills and, as with the Afghan participants, through increasing their international awareness.

For more information on the Leadership Programme please contact us

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