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Report: Punjab Higher Education Commission pilot project of Community Colleges

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Staff Report

Dr Nizamuddin


LAHORE: Following the international model of community colleges, Punjab Higher Education Commission in collaboration with Higher Education Department (HED) has launched a Pilot Project the “Establishment of Community Colleges in Punjab”. In the first phase, four colleges have been selected. Initially 2-year Associate Degree (equivalent to Bachelors Degree) on semester system basis is being offered in Commerce, IT, Media and Fine Arts.

The rationale behind the Community College Program is to produce skilled human resource. The traditional 2-year Bachelors Degree offered in public colleges develop no marketable skills.

PHEC, realizing the incongruence of curricula with the market, economy and society, is taking steps to bridge this gap by introducing a 2-year Associate Degree on the model of community colleges of advanced countrie

PHEC DG Dr. Shahid Saroya

s in various emerging fields of industry to create a job-ready skilled workforce.

The existing infrastructure, equipment and teaching staff of the selected colleges will be used to launch these programs. More areas of specialization will be added in the future such as Hotel Management, Paramedic, Nursing, Radiological Science and Public Health. Community colleges offer high quality education with technical expertise at a low cost and in a flexible manner. The focus is on marketable and industry-driven skills to fulfill the gap.
The Community Colleges Pilot Program would be the first step for providing a 2-Year Associate Degree with professional specializations, modeling community colleges of US and preparing students to enter the job market. After getting a 2-year Associate Degree from these colleges, the graduates will have a number of career prospects. They may choose to enter the local industry to earn their livelihood. The effective skills and industry-education linkage would help integrate and flourish their career in their chosen fields.

Govt. College Township, Lahore
Govt. Post Graduate College for Women, Gujranwala
Govt. College Civil Lines, Multan.
Govt. College for Women, Faisalabad

Programs Offered
Associate Degree in Commerce
(Specialization in Accounting & Finance)
Associate Degree in Information Technology
(Specialization in Networking / Web Technologies)
Associate Degree in Fine Arts
(Specialization in Textile Design)
Associate Degree in Mass Communication
(Specialization in Media Studies)
Promoting Research Culture through Foreign Scholarship Schemes
Foreign Post-doctoral Fellowship

Developing a competitive research culture is the need of the hour to promote an empirical understanding of theoretical concepts of knowledge. Therefore, in HEIs of Punjab, there is an exigency to germinate seeds of research culture. PHEC has realized the significance of this necessity and has taken steps for this project.

The culture of research can be aligned with industrial and technological processes taking place in various sectors of the economy. Therefore, in the view to promote the culture of research through educational measures, PHEC has recently awarded 33 grants under the Foreign Post-Doctoral Fellowship (FPDF) program to the faculty members of public sector colleges and universities in Punjab. This program was announced through electronic and print media in Feb 2016. The fellowships are meant to support the faculty by improving their research and assessment skills. The awardees will study in top 200 QS ranked prestigious universities in Asia, Europe, Canada, Australia, UK and USA. Some of the universities in USA include Stanford University, Purdue University, University of California Berkeley and University of Florida. The universities in UK include University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, King’s College London and various others.

Foreign PhD Scholarship Program
In order to give exposure to the local teaching faculty of foreign education system of advanced countries, PHEC selected 19 faculty members for foreign PhD scholarships. This program aimed to improve the academic and research skills of teachers.
The Punjab Higher Education Commission invited applications from eligible public sector college teachers/university faculty in the Punjab for awarding Foreign PhD scholarships (initially for 3 years) in QS Top Ranking 500 universities 2015-16.
A limited number of Foreign PhD Scholarships were given in Humanities, Social Sciences and Management Sciences.

The scholarships were meant to support the faculty to improve their research and teaching skills. Fully funded scholarship covered university tuition fee, return air-fare, living stipend, cost of books, research allowance and health insurance. This cost may vary. The tuition fee was provided up to the limit of US$ 79,440.
Chief Minister Foreign Faculty Development Program

Scholarship under the Chief Minister Foreign Faculty Development Program is granted to eligible faculty members of public sector colleges to pursue one year Master Degree program from top ranking QS 300 foreign universities in order to improve their research skills. The program is fully funded by the Government of Punjab and PHEC is implementing this program in collaboration with the British Council. A total of 09 candidates have been awarded the scholarship this year.

PHEC will continue to make provisions for research grants by continuing in its relentless efforts to promote the cause of higher education in Punjab, PHEC spokesman said in a statement.

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