LAHORE: In a significant step toward enhancing academic collaboration and promoting diversity and equity in higher education, the inaugural session of the Pak-UK Education Gateway Mobility Partnership for students was held at the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) on Thursday.

This partnership aims to strengthen the ties between universities in the United Kingdom and Pakistan while fostering diverse and equitable academic environments.

The focus of the partnership is to enhance research, academic, and professional collaborations between UK and Pakistani universities. The lead institution from the UK is the University of Bolton, with additional partners including the University of Manchester, University of Glasgow, Imperial College London, University College London (UCL) and UK-Pakistan Science and Innov. Global Network (UPSIGN).

The collaborative project titled “Socially inclusive and equitable education as a driver for sustainable development,” seeks to facilitate academically rigorous short-term mobility opportunities for Master’s and PhD students in both Pakistan and the UK.

Five PhD students from LCWU will directly benefit from this mobility programme, enriching the quality of their research and academic pursuits. Furthermore, three students from the UK are expected to undertake mobility programmes at LCWU, thereby expanding the scope of this transformative initiative.

LCWU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shagufta Naz, principal investigator/lead of the project from LCWU Dr Aqsa Shabbir, guests from the UK included Provost at the University of Bolton Prof Zubair Hanslot, University of Manchester’s Prof Dr Nusrat Hussain, University of Bolton’s Dr Roshelle Ramakisson, UPSIGN’s Dr Khalid Mehmood and British Council Programme Manager Varda Dar were present.

Ms Naz emphasised the expected outcomes of the project, which include increased knowledge and collaboration, empowerment of women in leadership roles, heightened awareness of women’s education dimensions, improved equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as contributions to sustainable development goals.

She stressed that equity, diversity, and inclusion are central to this partnership, particularly with a focus on gender balance.

Ms Naz stated, “The project promises knowledge and expertise transfer, research infrastructure visits, participation in symposiums and seminars, short courses, training, and summer schools. The learnings will be widely disseminated through digital content and social media, motivating other students towards quality research.”

Ms Shabbir said: “This project sets ambitious goals, including reshaping higher education leadership with a focus on equity and diversity, quantifying the impact of quality higher education on female graduates’ employability, addressing socio-psychological challenges faced by female teachers in higher education, tackling gender disparities in STEM fields, and exploring the role of higher education in addressing the socio-psychological impacts of climate change, particularly on women.”

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2023

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