In Pakistan, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and British Council Pakistan launched Joint Higher Education Links Programme (JHELP) in January 2004 and later on phase II of the programme in 2006 to enhance the research and training capacity of Pakistani higher education institutions, contributing towards the institutional capacity building of the higher education sector of Pakistan. This programme is funded by the HEC and managed by the British Council in Pakistan. British Council has built 50 research and capacity-building links between Pakistani and UK institutions. 15 links were completed under Phase 1 in June 2007 and the 35 links under Phase 2 have been successfully completed, recently.
The aim of these links is to enhance the education sector through capacity building and educational exchanges.
“Being a part of Higher Education Commission – British Council Joint Higher Education Links Programme Phase II, I got lots of experiences, knowledge and information shared with UK partner HEI, like the teaching Methods, Research Methods, Student – teacher interactions, the education institute environment and the Class room’s environment and management. As a researcher I appreciate the services of British Council in Education and Culture not only in Pakistan but also World wide”, remarks Fida Ahmed, Asst. Prof. at Government Degree College Turbat which was linked with the University of Nottingham, UK.
The HEC-BC Phase 2 links not only benefitted the Pakistani universities but had a significant impact on UK link coordinators and their universities as well. Dr. Susan Buckingham who visited Pakistan under the link between Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro and the Brunel University UK commented on her visit, “I am meeting with colleagues to explore how we can develop stronger links between the UK and Pakistan through our research. My ideas about Pakistan before I visited were very basic. I learned a great deal about the culture and the social attitudes of the people I met. Inevitably, once one visits a place in the company of local people who one gets to know, one realises how similar, as well as how different, we are.”
Through these successful links many universities have benefitted by staff exchanges between the faculties of Pakistani and UK institutions, curriculum improvement and development, workshops, conferences, books, equipment and publications for sustainable impact.