The National Academy for Higher Education (NAHE) concluded the first round of provincial consultations with stakeholders in order to structure bespoke regional hubs in all the provincial capitals. Dr. Shaheen Sardar Ali, Rector NAHE, travelled with team members to Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, and Peshawar in order to hold consultations with secretaries of all Higher Education Departments, and university leadership. Vice Chancellors, Pro-VCs, Provosts and Deans representing at least 50 universities participated in the discussions and provided their valuable input, said a press release.
“NAHE has been delivering specific as well as generic trainings to higher education faculty and HEC employees across Pakistan over the past year. Moving forward, NAHE intends to set up four provincial regional hubs for capacity building practice, research, and promotion.
“Participants agreed that in order to provide capacity building for faculty and staff at the volume and frequency required, establishing NAHE regional hubs is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, in order to improve the quality of the higher education sector, university-level needs assessments need to be conducted and trainings tailored and prioritized accordingly.
“The majority of participants agreed that Vice Chancellors and top-tier leaders also required trainings, particularly ones that target financial and procurement management skills as administrators had been left out of capacity building opportunities. Unique needs also emerged in the provinces.
“In Punjab, there are at least 25 existing dedicated professional development centers within HEIs; Vice Chancellors attending were keen for NAHE to play the role of the convener and create networking opportunities. Sindh is also home to at least 22 dedicated professional development centres in universities – in Karachi and Lahore, universities offered their expertise and years of experience in the capacity building field, especially for faculty members.
“Participants in Karachi were eager for NAHE to explore mentorship and pairing programmes for experienced university faculty and administrators and ones working in newer universities. It was suggested that these pairings need not be limited within provinces.
“In Quetta, VCs pointed out the distance between universities in Balochistan, particularly Lasbela, Sibbi and Khuzdar. Lasbela and Sibi VCs particularly suggested Karachi regional centre be their training resource due to distance. Distances and topography were also a major challenge highlighted for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. VCs recommended trainings not be limited to Peshawar but be hosted in different districts for better access. One major outcome of this round of consultations was the decision to ensure at least two NAHE regional hubs are operational by the end of the financial year.”