Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pak Students Buck Decline in Australia

While the overall foreign student population in Australia has declined this year, the number of Pakistanis studying in Australia is continuing double-digit growth, according to recent Australian government data on international education. Pakistan has now become the top growth market for Australia's struggling international education industry, even though revenue from its neighbor India fell almost $1 billion in a single year, according to The Australian newspaper. New Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal that Australia's fourth-biggest export industry is turning to new markets to counter a $2.2bn loss of revenue last year.

Australia's earnings from the top 12 foreign markets all fell last year, topped by India, which slumped by 37 per cent, but Pakistan bucked the trend, with revenue rising 15 per cent to $253 million.

Australian international education revenue from Pakistan has been rising, more than tripling over the past five years. Earnings from the boom-bust Indian market are down 50% in two years, collapsing from a 2009 peak of $3.1bn.

Although the growth in the total number Pakistanis studying abroad has slowed since the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001 in the United States, the world's sixth most populous nation continues to be among the leading sources of foreign students in America, Europe, Australia and new emerging higher education destinations in Asia.

Source: Economist Magazine

As the number of Pakistani students in the United States has declined from a peak of 8,644 students (ranked 13th) in 2001-02 to 5,222 in 2009-10 (ranked 23rd), English-speaking OECD nations of the United Kingdom and Australia have become the biggest beneficiaries getting increasing market share of the Pakistan education market. Both nations have benefited in spite of the fact that the UK and Australian visa rejection rates for Pakistanis are higher than for students from other nations.

 With rising urban middle class, there is substantial and growing demand in Pakistan from students, parents and employers for private quality higher education, including vocational training,  along with a willingness and capacity to pay relatively high tuition and fees, according to the findings of Austrade, an Australian govt agency promoting trade. Private institutions are seeking affiliations with universities abroad to ensure they offer information and training that is of international standards.

49,000 Pakistani Students Abroad in 2011 Source: OECD 
Trans-national education (TNE) is a growing market in Pakistan and recent data shows evidence of over 40 such programs running successfully in affiliation with British universities at undergraduate and graduate level, according to The British Council. Overall, the UK takes about 65 per cent of the TNE market in Pakistan.

A common concern about Pakistani students is that they might not return to serve their country. I think this is a genuine concern but it is often overblown. Pakistanis with advanced training are helping their country of origin in many ways. Those who are living and working overseas send significant amounts of money home to help Pakistan's economy. Others contribute their know-how by returning home as doctors, engineers, professors and other professionals and technocrats on a permanent basis or by frequent working visits.

Examples of foreign-educated Pakistanis who are directly contributing to the nation  include a Fulbright computer science scholar who has returned home to help fight terror, a plastic surgeon helping victims of acid attacks, a heart surgeon setting up a hospital in a remote Pakistani village, successful business executives, scientists, university professors and deans, current central bank governor, current finance minister and thousands of others.

It is extremely important for Pakistan's public policy makers and the nation's private sector to fully appreciate the expected demographic dividend as a great opportunity to turn the nation's fortunes for the better. The best way for them to demonstrate it is to push a pro-youth agenda of education, skills development, health and fitness to take full advantage of this tremendous opportunity. Failure to do so would be a missed opportunity that could be extremely costly for Pakistan and the rest of the world.
 Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Expected Demographic Dividend

Pakistani Graduation Rate Higher Than India's

India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2011

Educational Attainment Dataset By Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee

Quality of Higher Education in India and Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Pakistan's Story After 64 Years of Independence

Pakistan Ahead of India on Key Human Development Indices

Scholarships at Foreign Universities

Institute of International Education--Open Doors

UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency Report

Austrade on Education in Pakistan


Anonymous said...

Not sure, but don't you think that it's counterproductive that potentially the most productive members (because of financial background and education)of the "young" population that you boast end up looking for opportunities outside pakistan?

Take yourself for instance. Except for working on a perception correction agenda for pakistan and maybe the odd contribution to one of the many pak flood rescue missions (out of sympathy) and the likes - i doubt that pakistan has greatly benefited from your vast achievements that you have most conspicuously displayed.

Similar work, perhaps, in karachi or islamabad would have gone a fair distance in helping the local industry, professionals, etc

You have cited only anecdotal evidence of a few guys returning and contributing meaningfully.

For pakistan to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend, the demography in question would have to exist in pakistan, not escape from it.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "You have cited only anecdotal evidence of a few guys returning and contributing meaningfully."

It's beyond anecdotal. A significant percentage of Pakistanis do return home sooner or later to contribute to Pakistan's development. Just look at the faculty of any Pak university, or major institutes of research, or think tanks, or business leadership in private sector, or technocrats in the public sector, and you'll find people with advanced foreign degrees working there. They are providing the critical mass to launch Pakistan's knowledge economy.

And diasporas, too, contribute in significant ways. Remittances of a billion dollars a month and rising help Pak economy. Visiting faculty and other experts are visible everywhere. Conferences on various subjects often feature overseas Pakistanis as speakers and participants.

Twister said...

I myself live in Australia.

Pakistani students are coming here in slightly greater numbers because European countries have been steadily tightening the noose on the dodgy bunch.

Interesting stat: For student visas applied from within Pakistan, the "higher education by coursework" has a success ratio of less than 50%. Obviously the dodgy bunch is trying get here now that the UK has given their peers the boot.

Either way, 6800 students is miniscule considering the total student population is well above 300,000.

Riaz Haq said...

Twister: "Obviously the dodgy bunch is trying get here now that the UK has given their peers the boot."

The definition of "the dodgy bunch" is very subjective. It's usually whatever the consular officer decides and his or her state of paranoia given the broad discretion they are given by their governments. American college officials have been particularly upset by the drop in foreign students inflows since 911.

Here's an excerpt of a news report:

"Of all the issues, perhaps none are as contentious as those surrounding international students. College officials continue to complain that tighter visa restrictions put in place after the September 2001 terror attacks have scared off potential students, even as some of those constraints have since been loosened. They also worry that current immigration law makes it tough for overseas students, even those in high-demand fields, to stay in the United States after graduation, which could handicap the country in the competition for top global talent."
"Marlene M. Johnson, a council member and executive director of Nafsa: Association of International Educators, argued that there is an "urgency" for the commission to tackle immigration and visa matters. "There's no other country in the world sitting around doing nothing on this," she said. "If we do nothing, we get behind-er and behind-er, so to speak."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Times Higher Education report on British visa restrictions hurting colleges & economy:

The organisation charged with promoting British education overseas has rounded on the government over its student-visa changes, calling for an "urgent review" of the policy to avert damage to the economy and the possible closure of university departments.

Jo Beall, director of education and society at the British Council, told Times Higher Education that the crackdown could result in a few more jobs for young Britons "flipping hamburgers and pulling pints", but at a great cost. She made the remarks as the British Council sent research to the government on the US and Australian experience with student-visa restrictions - later relaxed in both countries after drops in international student numbers.

The report picks out the impending closure of the post-study work option for non-European Union students and tougher English-language requirements at the sub-degree level - with the latter "expected to have a negative impact on pathways leading to higher education".

It concludes that "recent immigration changes have managed to single out the UK as the country with the toughest immigration regime when compared [with] its competitors", with the post-study work options in Australia, Canada and the US able to draw "genuine and career-driven students" away from the UK.

Dr Beall said the research showed that pathways to university and post-study work needed "urgent review...if we're not going to undermine the economic benefit that higher education as an export sector brings".

The British Council study cites Department for Business, Innovation and Skills research estimating that UK education exports were worth £14.1 billion in 2008-09. Universities Australia estimated that student visa tightening cost Australia A$428 million (£292 million) in 2010, it notes.

Media reports present a government split between a Home Office intent on implementing the Conservative election commitment to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands and BIS ministers concerned about the impact of the visa policy on business and universities....

Anonymous said...

A poll to beat Gallup poll.

BBC poll on countries with negative image. Pak is ranked #2. Maasha allah.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "BBC poll on countries with negative image. Pak is ranked #2"

The growing numbers of Pakistani students studying abroad shows how determined young Pakistanis are to pursue higher education in the face of such bigoted negative propaganda by the Western governments and media targeting Muslim nations like Iran & Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

FDI in Pakistan rose to $5.4 billion in 2007-2008. In addition to high visa denial rates for Pakistanis, one of the impacts of negative perception survey ranking Pakistan as the second worst is that it has badly affected FDI as well.

Here's a BR story on FDI plummeting in Pakistan:

According to the latest data released by the State Bank of Pakistan on 15th May, foreign private investment in the country dropped to only dollar 595 million in July-April, 2012 as compared to dollar 1.622 billion in the corresponding period last year, showing a huge fall of over 63 percent.

Out of this, foreign direct investment (FDI) fell to dollar 667 million as against dollar 1292.8 million in the comparable period of 2011-12, while portfolio investment showed an outflow of dollar 71 million in sharp contrast to an inflow of dollar 329 million in the corresponding period last year.

Sector-wise, the most discouraging news was in the telecommunication sector which used to be the favourite area of investment of foreigners but witnessed a profoundly high net outflow of dollar 327 million of investment during the first ten months of the current fiscal as against an inflow of dollar 73 million in July-April, 2011.

The power sector also recorded a net outflow of dollar 25 million compared to a net inflow of dollar 129 million in the same period of last year.

FDI in financial business declined to only dollar 54 million compared to dollar 223 million in the corresponding period of 2010-11.

Transport and trade sectors also witnessed massive declines of 83 percent and 55 percent, respectively, in FDI during the year.

However, investment in the oil and gas exploration sector at dollar 466 million witnessed an increase of 12 percent during July-April, 2012.

Country-wise, FDI from the US was the highest at dollar 196 million followed by the UK at dollar 171 million, Italy at dollar 162 million and China at dollar 113 million.

A steep fall in FDI during the first 10 months of 2011-12 is definitely disturbing news for the country, especially at a time when the economy is in dire need of liquidity to revive its growth prospects to create job opportunities and reduce poverty.

Also, foreign investment is crucial for technological upgradation, innovative improvements and overall modernisation of the industrial base to allow it to be competitive at the international level and enhance exports to narrow the widening trade gap.

Of course, the compulsion to attract FDI would have been less severe if the country was able to generate the required level of domestic resources to finance the needed investment, but obviously this is not the case as indicated by a huge gap in these two variables.

The most worrying aspect of the situation is that foreign investors have, over the years, changed their perception about the country as a favourable destination of investment and shifted their attention to other countries.

This is indicated by a steady decline in FDI in the country from dollar 5.4 billion in FY08 to dollar 3.7 billion in FY09, dollar 2.2 billion in FY10 and dollar 1.7 billion in FY11.

If the present trend continues which we have no reason to contest, the inflow of FDI during 2011-12 could be less than dollar one billion or highly inadequate to make any meaningful contribution to the country's economic prospects.

The reasons for a rapid decline in FDI in the recent years are not difficult to understand.

Although, there are ample opportunities for investment in various sectors of the economy and Pakistan has one of the most conducive policy framework to attract FDI, the inhibiting factors are so dominant and pervasive that foreign investors seem to avoid the country without giving much thought to the positive gestures of the government.......

Anonymous said...

Bigotted western reports?and hiding obl has nothing to dowith this negative perception

Riaz Haq said...

Anon:"Bigotted western reports?and hiding obl has nothing to dowith this negative perception"

Do you know that, according to CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen and others, including US officials and experts, no evidence has emerged to point to Pakistani govt's complicity in "hiding" bin Laden?

Have you heard about Whitey Bolger who was on FBI's most wanted list for 16 years, 6 years longer than bin Laden?

Do you think the western media should spin Bulger's case as "America hiding most wanted fugitive" and cover it non-stop for years? Do you think the entire nation of America should be held responsible for this failing?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times story on higher education growth in Pakistan:

Shaikh also highlighted the performance and achievements of government during last 10 years. He said that there are 71 universities in Pakistan in 2002, but in last 10 years, 66 new universities have been added in Pakistan. Previously, female enrolment was 37 percent, now it is 45 percent. Previously, numbers of PhDs were 1,500, now 10,000 new students have been enrolled in PhD, added the minister. He also mentioned that federal government has spent Rs 160 billion on promotion of higher education in the country. The federal minister said that federal government has transferred additional Rs 800 billion to provinces during the last four years to enable the provinces to provide their population best social services like health education. He also advised students to be proud and loyal Pakistanis. Shaikh said that it is a great day for the degree holding students, so they must thank their parents and teachers. He also assured that the government is doing every effort for the promotion of education sector in Pakistan.\05\20\story_20-5-2012_pg5_1

Azhar said...

i am confused. Why is Pakistan spending on IT education so much?
So that they compete Indians in doing routine work. I thought Pakistanis are destined for something intellectually far superior.

Riaz Haq said...

Azhar: "i am confused. Why is Pakistan spending on IT education so much?"

You are confused because of your poor reading comprehension.

The story is about expanding enhancing virtual education and the venue for the speech is Pakistan's Virtual University that recently won the top international award for its open course ware.

Farid Sen said...

Can you show me any other publication, article or data other than yourself which draws the conclusion you have from the Barro-Lee research paper?

For example, has any UN based agency shown the same conclusion that you have because Barro-Lee research is not at all about "graduation" rates

Aussie in Transit said...

As an Australian, I agree with my mate Twister.
"Pakistani students are coming here in slightly greater numbers because European countries have been steadily tightening the noose on the dodgy bunch."

My first hand experience, ffrom my Pakistani mates,is that most of them want to leave Pakistan at all costs. They have been denied elsewhere and most don't see any opportunity or future in Pakistan

Sorry mate but that's my take.

Ramesh said...

Since 2001, for the most part there has been a decline in visas issued to Pakistani students in the US. That trend is certain to continue given the current political effort to scrutinize applicants from countries directly seen as hotbeds of terrorist activity.

Riaz Haq said...

Farid Sen: "Can you show me any other publication, article or data other than yourself which draws the conclusion you have from the Barro-Lee research paper?"

Here is a summary of Barro-Lee's 2010 data in percentage of 15+ age group students who have enrolled in and-or completed primary, secondary and tertiary education:

Education Level.....India........Pakistan


Primary (Completed)....18.9..........19.3





Barro & Lee data speaks for itself requiring no interpretation.

Corroborating data from UNDP shows that the mean years of schooling in Pakistan is half a year longer: 4.9 years in Pakistan versus 4.4 years in India.

Riaz Haq said...

Aussie: "most of them want to leave Pakistan at all costs"

Some of them, yes, even though Pakistan's employment growth has been the highest in South Asia region since 2000, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka in that order, according to a recent World Bank report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia".

Emigration is not unique to Pakistan if you look at the global migration trends from the developing world to the developed world. With aging populations in the West the western governments need more young migrants from the younger demographics in developing nations to fill jobs and help pay for the retiree benefits.

The longest lines for visa are see in India outside foreign consulates and more than million Indians "escape" each year, according to Indian blogger Cyber Gandhi.

As for Pakistan, it has the world’s sixth largest population, seventh largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force. With rapidly declining fertility and aging populations in the industrialized world, Pakistan's growing talent pool is likely to play a much bigger role to satisfy global demand for workers in the 21st century and contribute to the well-being of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.

Riaz Haq said...

Ramesh: "Since 2001, for the most part there has been a decline in visas issued to Pakistani students in the US."

The number of Pakistanis in the United States has more than doubled in the last decade due to increased immigration, according to US Census 2010 data. With 100% increase since 2000, Pakistanis are the second fastest growing Asian immigrant group in the United States.

Pakistani-American population doubled from 2000 (204,309) to 2010 (409,163), the second largest percentage increase after Bangladeshis' 157% increase in the same period.

Farid Sen said...

Barro-Lee data is used in the UNDP Education Index which then is used to calculate the all encompassing HDI. For the Education Index (EI), Barro-Lee paper seek to address two main criteria: expected years of schooling for 7 years and above and mean years of schooling for 25 years and above. Both criteria are absolutely required for the EI.

As you see it is not at all about 'graduation' rates but more to do with the Education Index.

In this case India has an EI of 0.450, whereas Pakistan
is at 0.356.

Riaz Haq said...

Farid Sen: "As you see it is not at all about 'graduation' rates but more to do with the Education Index.'

Talking about Education Index, India's EI is 0.450 & Pakistan EI is 0.386, not 0.356 as you claim.

There are several components of EI, such as overall literacy rate, enrollment rate & mean years of schooling. While Pakistan is behind India in literacy and enrollment rates, it has an advantage over India in mean years of schooling...meaning that Pakistanis who enroll stay in school longer and graduate at higher rates than their Indian counterparts.

Riaz Haq said...

In an Op Ed piece titled "Knowledge Economy" published in The News, Pak HEC chair Javaid Laghari argues for greater investment in education by the govt.

While the author's intent to goad Pakistani govt into higher funding of education is laudable, his use of stats to make his case makes little sense. He talks about 504 universities and 80 million Internet users in India which represent a lower percentage penetration for India's 1.2 billion people when compared with 143 universities and 20 million Internet users in Pakistan. I think we should expect more persuasive data from this gentleman.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an IANS report on Indian students seeking to go to Australia after UK tightened visas:

British universities have experienced a fall of more than 30 percent in Indian enrolments while the percentage of the number of enrolments and visa grants for Australia is reported to be in three figures.

The number of Indian student visa applications for Australia has gone up by a whopping 120 percent in the last nine months while the number of visa grants has also improved by nearly 80 percent in the same period.

Eric Thomas, president of Universities UK - the representative organisation for Britain's universities - has reportedly written to British Prime Minister David Cameron, warning that the immigration changes could cost the country as much as five billion pounds ($8 billion) in tuition fees alone.

The recent immigration crackdown is reported to have led to Indian students shunning British universities.

Besides Australia, the Canadian and European universities and vocational training institutes are also benefitting from international students looking for overseas options other than Britain.

In a similar scenario a few years back, Indian students had shunned Australian education providers after the country tightened immigration rules.

The massive decline in Australia's number two source for international students, India, led to the Australian government ordering a review of the enrolment and student visa process.

Among other recommendations, a former New South Wales minister, Michael Knight, had pressed for a post-study work visa for international students in his "Strategic Review of the Student Visa Programme 2011" report.

British authorities, on the other hand, have abolished Post Study Work Scheme for international students. Many critics of the immigration curbs consider this as the single-most damaging of a "multitude of recent policy changes".

Indian students seem to be have reacted negatively to the denial of work rights in Britain as the number of applications for British student visas from India and other South Asian countries is on a sharp decline.

To make it worse for international students interested in working while studying in Britain, the Cameron government has also removed work rights for most private college students. Work rights for other students were also reduced to just 10 hours a week.

Australia and other countries under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) wooing international students are much more liberal as far as work rights for international students are concerned.

The ongoing economic gloom affecting Britain and other European countries is also forcing some Indian students to study in safer havens like Australia and New Zealand where unemployment rates are much lower.

Anonymous said...


Rubbish the problem with Greece is that the Euro prevents it from boosting exports by depreciating the drachma.

In India as the rupee declines exports surge.Last year Indian merchandise exports grew 16% to cross $300 billion.

Also oil and commodity prices are declining further improving the trade balance.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "In India as the rupee declines exports surge.Last year Indian merchandise exports grew 16% to cross $300 billion."

Exports to where? The West?

Here's an excerpt from Business Standard:

If 2011 was a difficult period for Indian exports, 2012-13 would be worse. Exports had a healthy run in the first half of 2011-2012, while growth rates had been steadily falling since August. However, exporters are set to begin the new financial year with growth rates that are already grim, and down to single digits.

According to analysts and economists, while exports are facing severe shortage of demand in developed countries, even new markets would fail to ease the burden, as these also depend heavily on exports to Europe and the US.

The order books for the summer of 2012 have already seen drops of 20-30 per cent, and exporters are not very hopeful of orders in the spring or winter as well. “The big stores and outlets in Europe are all asking for a discount. The situation is very grim, as the supply is more and demand is shrinking by the day. Compared to 2011 summer orders, this year these are almost 30 per cent down,” said M Rafeeque Ahmed, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) and chairman, Farida Group, a leading leather exporting firm.

Commerce secretary Rahul Khullar had recently said 2012-13 would be harder for exporters, as a solution to the euro zone crisis was still uncertain, and recovery in the US was sluggish. Looking at the government’s fiscal condition, it might not be able to dole out incentives for exporters, unlike previous years, he had said.

“The first couple of quarters of 2011-2012 had been very robust, but things have come to a standstill since then. We have no hopes of doing better, even in the upcoming financial year, which is already starting on a very poor note. It is not easy to go to new markets at this juncture. There is a fear factor among exporters, owing to the high volatility in exchange rates,” said R Maitra, executive director, Engineering Exports Promotion Council.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Businessweek story on risks to Pak economic growth:

akistan will seek to reduce inflation to less than 10 percent for the next fiscal year as it grapples with the fastest pace of price increases in Asia.

The inflation goal for the 12 months starting July 1, 2012 is 9.5 percent, the prime minister’s office said in a statement in Islamabad yesterday. Earlier this month, the government projected gross domestic product will rise 4.3 percent in the period, up from 3.7 percent in the current fiscal year.

Pakistan’s economy has been hurt by blackouts, a trade deficit, diminished aid flows and an insurgency on the Afghan border. The government plans to boost spending on roads, health care and education to support growth and is due to present its last federal budget next week before elections that must be held by February.

“The economy is facing huge challenges,” said Khalid Iqbal Siddiqui, head of research at Karachi-based United Bank Ltd. “Power blackouts, reduced aid inflows and the law and order situation are the key constraints that will keep growth depressed in the next fiscal year.”

Pakistan’s rupee has weakened about 6.5 percent against the dollar in the past 12 months. Domestic risks and the threat to global growth from Europe’s debt crisis have curbed demand for the currency.

Farm output will climb 4 percent next fiscal year, up from 3.1 percent in 2011-2012, according to yesterday’s statement. The industrial sector may expand 4.1 percent, from an estimated 3.6 percent this financial year, the projections showed.
Inflation Risk

The targets were set in a meeting of the National Economic Council, which is headed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Pakistan’s inflation accelerated to an eight-month high of 11.27 percent in April, limiting scope to cut interest rates to support the $200 billion economy. The pace of price increases is the fastest in a basket of 17 Asia-Pacific economies tracked by Bloomberg.

The central bank left borrowing costs unchanged at 12 percent last month for a third straight meeting, after cutting them by 2 percentage points in 2011.

The International Monetary Fund said in February that Pakistan should broaden the tax base, curb some subsidies and curtail central bank financing of the budget deficit. It described the economy as “highly vulnerable.”

The council proposed to spend 873 billion rupees ($9.5 billion) on development projects in the year starting July 1, up 19.5 percent from 730 billion rupees in the current fiscal period. The council originally proposed expenditure of 863 billion rupees yesterday, before increasing the planned outlay by 10 billion rupees in a revised statement later the same day.

The Asian Development Bank has said the power deficit in Pakistan and damage to the cotton crop from floods last year may restrict economic growth to 3.6 percent in the year ending June.

The government will unveil the federal budget in parliament in the first week of next month, according to local media reports.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an APP report on China-Pakistan "education diplomacy":

Lauding the successful holding of joint workshop by two prominent higher learning institutions of Pakistan and China, Ambassador Masood Khan has said the exchanges are ‘now moving into hi-tech areas’. “As a result of the decision taken by the leadership on both sides, in coming years collaboration in the field of basic sciences including Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics will increase many folds,” said Khan while addressing a reception hosted for a joint delegation of COMSATS and Tsinghua University here at Pakistan Embassy Thursday.

Ambassador Khan said Pakistan-China relations are increasingly under pinned in educational context, adding that “educational diplomacy is what will bring the youths and professionals of the two countries closer.”
Regarding holding of a joint workshop, Ambassador Khan termed it as a good beginning, as Tshingua is prestigious university well known all around the world. He said the interface between the two sides is good.
Ambassador Khan appreciated the decision that in next step, the CCIT will invite a 50-member delegation of Tshinghua University to visit Pakistan.
Exchange of delegations in the realm of education between the countries, is best form of diplomacy, he added.
He said COMSATS provides enabling environment where students have ambition and passion for gaining latest knowledge.
Under an MoU signed by both the universities, exchanges of students and faculty members and research in cutting edge educational technologies will be carried out.
Earlier the 17-member COMSATS delegation gave presentations on research study carried out in different areas. The delegation also visited the Technology Park of the University.
Professor Qi Kun Xue, Dean School of Sciences, Professor Qing Wang, Chairman Department of Physics and Professor Arshad Bhatti, Dean Faculty of Sciences COMSATS also addressed the reception.
Established a decade ago, COMSATS has seven campuses in Pakistan in which over 22,000 students are getting modern education, said Professor Bhatti.
The delegation is scheduled to leave for Pakistan Friday evening.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on US help for university administrators in Pakistan:

The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is sponsoring a two-week study tour for 27 deans and faculty members from Pakistani universities nationwide as well as provincial secretaries of education at Columbia University, New York. The tour is designed to enhance these Pakistani education professionals’ capacity for strategic planning and policy development. A pre-departure orientation reception was held here on Thursday under USAID to bid farewell to these participants.

USAID Deputy Mission Director Ms. Karen Freeman, while speaking on the occasion, said it would be a great opportunity for the participants to interact with their counterparts so as to how they can make the education more relevant, more accessible to students, discuss policies etc. “It would be a wonderful opportunity equally for them to learn from you that how you are improving the standard of education in Pakistan and how HEC is bringing about reforms in the country. Pakistan and the United States have enjoyed a long and close cooperation in higher education that spans more than 50 years and covers a variety of disciplines from science and medicine to teacher training. This USAID-funded study tour is yet another expression of the US government’s long-term commitment to Pakistan and is having a transformational impact on teacher education,” she said.

Additional Secretary for Inter-Provincial Coordination Furqan Bahadur Khan appreciated the efforts of the US government for improving the quality of education across the country. Earlier, study tour participant Ms. Marium Rab from FJWU and Sindh Department of Education Parvez Ahmed Seehar shared their expectations and views about the tour.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Australia-Pakistan trade ties:

Australia has said that it will open a trade office in Faisalabad and immediately lower customs duties on imports from Pakistan – steps that are aimed at giving a boost to bilateral trade.

Speaking at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Thursday, Acting High Commissioner of Australia Paul Molloy also announced that his country would provide $100 million in aid for various development projects in Pakistan.

He promised that visa concerns, highlighted by FCCI members, would be addressed and asked the business community of both sides to try to deepen trade ties.

He assured that he would facilitate the visit of an FCCI trade delegation to Australia. Australia had a liberal investment policy and an open economy, he said.

Molloy said more than 100 students of Pakistan were getting Australian scholarships every year.

FCCI Vice-President Rehan Naseem Bharara, while highlighting the tremendous trade potential between the two countries, stressed the need for Australia to give special market access to Pakistan, which is suffering a lot as a partner in the war against terror.

In order to strengthen economic activities, he said, exchange of trade delegations and joint trade fairs were a prerequisite.

Agriculture support

At another event, Paul Molloy, while addressing scientists at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), affirmed that Australia would continue to support and develop the agricultural sector of Pakistan.

“UAF is working with different Australian organisations on various projects that will bring prosperity, especially for the farmers,” he said.

He asked the scientists to keep working with commitment and share their innovative ideas with Australia for attracting funds in order to excel in different sectors that would pave the way for development. “Idea is an issue, but money is not,” he remarked.

Speaking on the occasion, UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad announced that Lorry Water House’s chair would be established at the campus soon to address genetic and breeding issues of various crops.

“UAF is a partner and beneficiary of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research project and engaged in citrus and mango research activities. We need to expand our areas in order to address various issues including water, energy and climatic changes,” he suggested.

However, Ahmad pointed out that the same Australian research programme in India was quite diversified, covering a wide range of activities with a special focus on food security, water resources and climatic changes. He called for introducing the programme on the same pattern in Pakistan.

Ahmad said UAF would send 10 PhD students to the University of Sydney in the near future to strengthen their capabilities, which would help Pakistan cope with agricultural problems.

Riaz Haq said...

Australian diplomat upbeat about Pakistan, reports Business Recorder:

Pakistan's natural and human resource potential was matchless, Economic Counseller of Australian High Commission, Melissa Kelly, said Thursday while declaring some of the recent signs of growth in Pakistan as very inspiring.

Melissa Kelly was talking to a delegation of Federal of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) that included Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Diplomatic Affairs, Sheikh Humayun Sayeed and Chairman Media FPCCI, Malik Sohail.

"Despite numerous challenges Pakistan's economy was doing well which is very encouraging," she said and added "all major international investors and companies are making profits despite the security challenges."

The Economic Counsellor said Pakistan is the gateway to energy rich central Asian states, financially liquid Gulf states and economically advanced Far Eastern countries.

Besides, she said that Pakistan has world's second largest salt mine, fifth largest gold mine, fifth largest coal reserves, seventh largest copper mine; great consumer market and fourth largest competent workforce in the world.

Melissa Kelly said that an Australian delegation has just completed visit of Pakistan and they have decided to investment in the citrus sector including construction of a juice extraction plant.

She said that there is a great scope of cooperation between Pakistan and Australia in different sectors including energy, industry and agriculture.

On the occasion, Sheikh Humayun Sayeed highlighted the salient features of liberal and deregulated trade regime of Pakistan which offered enormous opportunities for foreign investors.

Stressing the promotion of economic links, Sayeed said that the two countries should boost exchange of delegations and expos which will bring business communities together that would lead to more trade in future.

Malik Sohail Hussain appreciated the role of Australian High Commission in promotion of trade and economic relations between the two friendly countries.

He said that Australia can get access to central Asia by using Pakistan as an economic bridge.

Malik Sohail said the perception about Pakistan is not what is portrayed as it better than most of the regional countries in case of doing business, strong infrastructure, fast growing middle class.

Australia is the third choice for Pakistan students studying abroad, incentives can help Canberra climb the ladder, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News report on decline in Pakistani students going to the UK:

LONDON: There has been a significant drop in the number of genuine applications for studying in the UK universities from Pakistani students since the introduction of harsh immigration policies and vilification of immigrants under the new Conservative-LibDem coalition government.

Chief Executive of Universities UK, Nicola Dandridge, said that universities are reporting a significant drop in the number of students applying from overseas, particularly from India, Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia but Pakistani students are not only discouraged by the UK’s immigration crackdown but they also face disproportionate treatment from the immigration officers who process their applications in Dubai and during face-to-face interviews conducted in Pakistan.

She said that crackdown on bogus foreign students have driven large numbers of genuine overseas applicants to competitor countries, damaging not only universities but also the UK economy.

She said the senior ministers calling for a crackdown on “bogus students” had given the impression that overseas students were no longer welcome and was driving them towards competitor countries such as the US, Canada and Australia.

Home Secretary Theresa May last month announced the introduction of face-to-face interviews for 100,000 applicants for student visas a year.

This means that most Pakistani applicants will have to face interviews in British High Commission in Islamabad. After 9/11 attacks on the United States by al-Qaeda, the number of students from Islamic countries, particularly Pakistanis, shot up as American officials started picking on Pakistani students and Britain was seen as a benign country but that is not the case anymore as Pakistani students, including visitor visa applicants, are also a suspect in the UK now and their applications are rejected on mass scale.

Overseas students are estimated to be worth GBP8bn a year to the British economy, a figure projected to rise to GBP16.8bn by 2025, according to a study by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Office for National Statistics’ figures released in November showed a 26% fall in the number of visas issued for the purposes of study in the year to September 2012 but Dandridge said “anecdotal evidence suggested the downward trend was set to accelerate.”

Pakistan was amongst the top ten nationalities issued entry clearance visas for the purpose of study in 2011. Of the total 261,405 student visas issued, 35,660 students visas were issued to Pakistani applicants. In 2010, the number of Pakistani students issued visas was 26,490.

But Pakistan is not included in the top ten nationalities for the year 2011 when a total of 61, 381 student visitors were issued with a visa for a maximum six-month duration. Nearly 70,000 people were issued student visitor visas in 2012 but Pakistan was not added in the top ten countries.

A home office spokesperson refused to share the reasons why Pakistanis were not amongst the top ten countries’ category but referred to a statement by Mark Harper, the immigration minister. It says: “The UK’s education system is one of the best in the world but to maintain this reputation it is vital that we tackle the abuse of the student route, while making sure Britain remains open for business.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a couple of links showing number of B, F and H visas issued by US worldwide:

F visas (student visas) to Pakistani citizens continue to be very low but increased from 1,224 in 2012 to 1,535 in 2013.

Similarly, H visas (temp work visas) remain very low but increased from 1238 in 2012 to 1,301 in 2013.

The largest number of non-immigrant visas issued to Pakistanis are business visa...B1 and B2. Such visas increased from 35,768 in 2012 to 39,701 in 2013.

Similar US visas issued to Indians are several orders of magnitude higher.

Riaz Haq said...

Around 10,000 Pakistani students will be awarded scholarships to study in different universities of Europe in the year 2015 by the European Union Education Foundation (EUEF). The first entries to the programme will be from Sindh, The Express Tribune has learnt.
“We are waiting for the final proposal from the provincial [Sindh] government,” revealed the EUEF director of scholarships programme, Yvonne Hunter. “The government is interested [this time] and I hope the plan will materialise soon.”
During her visit to Karachi last week, Hunter explained that the EUEF was established to promote higher education in developing countries. “Our aim is help in community development through self-sufficiency in the education sector by providing students from developing countries easy access to higher studies in Europe.”
The scholarship programme is not new to Pakistan. According to Azfar Bukhari who is the project manager and media co-ordinator for EUEF, they had tried to launch the programme two years ago but had been unsuccessful. “This time, however, the government is more interested,” said Bukhari hopefully.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Hunter said that her team has been assured of full cooperation by the Sindh government to make the programme a success. “Apart from the Sindh government, the government of Balochistan as well as the federal government are keen to participate,” she said. “In Pakistan, everything is very easily politicised so we want to ensure our efforts are not used as part of an electoral campaign by some political party.”
In response to a query regarding the level of interference and assistance required of the government, Hunter said: “Of course we need their assistance, but not at the cost of transparency and credibility.” She maintained that the government will only be brought on as stakeholders if they assure the EUEF of unbiased work. “We want to make the programme a success without making it controversial.”
According to the director, the foundation will award scholarships to up to 10,000 eligible students every year. These scholarships will be honoured in universities and colleges already affiliated with the EUEF across Europe. “Not to forget these scholarships will be valid till the end of the study programme, not just for the first term.”
The students will be given ample choice to select from both graduate and postgraduate degrees and higher national diplomas. The eligibility to apply to the programme is HSC or GCE A level, without a gap of more than a year during the candidate’s regular studies.
The applicants have to appear for a simple aptitude test that will be conducted by the National Testing Service. This is to test basic knowledge and English language skills. The first 10,000 high scorers will be awarded the scholarships. “We have kept the selection procedure simple and transparent to avoid any controversies. We want to accommodate as many students as possible.” Hunter explained.
According to the EUEF office bearers, the programme aims to enable Pakistani students to study abroad so that they can gain exposure of developed countries making them less vulnerable to volatile issues in their home country. “We are offering 10,000 scholarships every year for the next five years, which makes it 50,000 by the culmination of our project.” The programme will ultimately provide Pakistan with 50,000 highly skilled professionals by the time it concludes.

Riaz Haq said...

KARACHI: As many as 14 universities from Australia opened their doors for Pakistani students for Bachelors, Masters and Doctor of Philosophy programmes at the Pakistan-Australian Education Expo 2015 on Saturday.
Every year more than 400 students fly to Australia from Pakistan through Australian Education Office (AEO) Pakistan for higher education. “Today we are expecting more than 250 students to avail the walk-in opportunity to fulfil their dreams of studying abroad,” said AEO Pakistan chief executive officer and resident director Saad Mehmood.
The expo was arranged to guide students and motivate them to go abroad for higher studies. “We are here to help students in every way from the procedure of visa application to courses and accommodation details,” said Mehmood.
According to him, the percentage of students applying every year has increased during the last couple of years but only 20 per cent of females opt for studying for their Masters abroad. “We hope to see the number of female students rise as they are more competent, intelligent and promising,” he said.
The expo was open for everyone. Applicants were required to fill the ‘student assessment form’ at the entrance, providing their basic educational and personal details. The form helps the volunteers guide students about the desk he should move to in order to meet consultants for guidance or any other assistance. If the desk finds the applicant eligible and compassionate, they will provide her/him with two other forms to fill. One of these is a curriculum vitae and the other is a list of documents required for further processing of the application.
Muneeb Ahmed Warsi, a 23-year-old NED University graduate, came to the expo with the dream of studying in Australia or Germany. “AEO Pakistan is doing a great job as they are giving us so many options under one roof,” said Warsi, who is looking for a university that offers a Master’s degree in telecommunication engineering.
Shahzeb Anwar, another NED student, said he wished to see more education expo shows in Pakistan from different countries. “A majority of my seniors went abroad for their Master’s and returned to serve Pakistan,” said the 22-year-old telecommunication engineer. “I also want to come back and earn a good living.”
Dr Chris Daly of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) shared his experience with The Express Tribune of working with international students. “I am working with international students since 1995 and have seen the numbers of students increasing tremendously every year,” he said. “Twenty-five per cent of the total enrolment in UNSW is that of international students.”
Latrobe University marketing and admissions director Neil Fitzroy was of the view that Pakistani students are strong and capable. “This is why we are interested in getting a larger number of them at our campus,” he said, adding that he has been working with Pakistani students for more than ten years. Counting on his experience, he appreciated that how, despite cultural and religious differences, Pakistan has always given them the best students.

Riaz Haq said...

Some international students have the right to work here after graduation for two or more years.

“There is a ticking time bomb on post-study work rights visas, which are being seen as the route to a fast track to migration,” Mr Honeywood said. “Numbers out of India have doubled in the past 12 months. They are not rorting the system, but have the perception post-study work rights will lead to permanent residency, and that is totally wrong.”

China remains by far the biggest source of overseas students, with 153,000 in 2014 — almost one-third of all international students. Government data shows several countries in addition to India have seen big spikes in enrolments. They include Nepal, up 27 per cent on 2013, Pakistan, up 16 per cent, Hong Kong, up 22 per cent, The Philippines, up 21 per cent and Taiwan, up 24 per cent. Mr Honeywood said Australia was still in need of an overarching strategy and independent advisory council, much like Tourism Australia, as recommended in a 2012 review by Michael Chaney.

While the government said last year it had accepted all 35 recommendations of the review, no official response has been released and only seven recommendations have been implemented.

Mr Honeywood said there was little or no co-ordination between the various ministries with responsibility for the sector: education, trade, foreign affairs and immigration. “We have this constant issue of federal government departments in splendid isolation making decisions that impact the sector without adequate consultation,” he said.

A spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said a draft national strategy was due for release this year. “The government is also planning a number of ministerial roundtables,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan tennis teens going abroad to study on sports scholarships at top universities …

On the tennis courts of a posh Islamabad country club, veteran coach Mahboob Khan drills his charges, but they aren’t dreaming of the pristine lawns of Wimbledon.

For these young Pakistanis, taking up tennis has a more practical application — as a ticket to a top US university on a sports scholarship.

In a 36-year coaching career Khan, still a striking, athletic figure at 65, has produced dozens of players who have played on the pro tour and in satellite events and represented Pakistan at the Davis and Fed cups.

But he says in recent years the trend has been for even the most promising youngsters to lower their ambitions and see the sport simply as a springboard to a college education they might otherwise struggle to afford.

His own daughter Sara Mahboob, 24, was number one in Pakistan for six years but quit competitive tennis to look for a job based on her sociology degree — from James Madison University in Virginia, US.

Her rival, Pakistan’s former number two Natasha Afridi followed a similar path, as did several other of their contemporaries.

The big hurdle is money. Financial support is crucial as a player tries to make the step from promising youngster to tour professional.

For Sara Mahboob, the lure of financial security offered by a scholarship and degree proved too great.

“It’s not very easy to get sponsors in Pakistan, especially for a female tennis player,” she said.

“So I had to make that tough decision on wether I was going to go pro or go to college, and going to college seemed like a better option.”

Pakistan’s best player is doubles specialist Aisamul Haq Qureshi who reached eight in the world doubles ranking in June 2011 but now lies 57th.

He reached the US Open doubles final in 2010 with Indian partner Rohan Bopanna, but a new generation of youngsters at the Islamabad Club courts show little interest in following in his footsteps.

“I don’t want to become a best player or something, but just to play tennis for some school scholarships in a good university abroad,” said Ammar Dhaga, 12, the son of a top bureaucrat at the water and power ministry.

His friends Sachal Ali Mirza, 11, and Shehryar Khokhar, 10, share his ambition.

“I am playing tennis because I like it and also because I want an international scholarship in America for tennis,” said Khokhar.

Khan says Pakistan has tennis potential, but a major injection of funds is needed to stop the talent heading to college instead.

“Right now we have the talent, the question is whether the private sector is robust to come forward and sponsor these players,” he said.

“At least Rs40 million are needed to give a push to tennis and that’s a lot of money for Pakistan.”

Riaz Haq said...

Univ of #Kentucky to Host 140 #Fulbright #Pakistan Students at Seminar on U.S. Social Justice Movements | UKNow …

The University of Kentucky will host 140 Fulbright students from Pakistan, who recently arrived in the United States for their graduate studies, at the Fulbright Pakistan Fall Seminar Nov. 5-8, 2015. The seminar, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Educational Foundation in Pakistan, will focus on how social justice movements have shaped contemporary U.S. life and culture.

The seminar will also address how to be successful in the U.S. higher education system, and participants will have the opportunity to work with a number of returning-student mentors. The seminar will provide professional development and networking opportunities and will acquaint participants with the culture of the Upper South region of the United States. In addition, participants will visit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

The seminar’s thematic sessions include “The Making of Modern Kentucky: Race and the Fight for Equal Rights,” “Tools of U.S. Social Justice Movements” and “U.S. Social Movements Today.” These sessions will expose students to critical issues facing U.S. society and will introduce some of the ways the U.S. responds to movements for social change. Participants will develop a greater understanding of the cultural context in which they are living.

The sessions will be led by distinguished faculty members of UK, U.S. Department of State program officers, and members of the Lexington community, including a retired Lexington Herald-Leader reporter, and local leaders of the Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah, American Spiritual Ensemble, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and The Plantory.

Dr. Carol E. Jordan, executive director of the University of Kentucky Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women, will give the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. on November 5, at the Embassy Suites Lexington Hotel. Members of the media are welcome to attend and should RSVP to Andrea Gils. Interviews with Fulbright Students from Pakistan and program administrators can also be arranged by request.

Since 1950, the U.S. and Pakistani governments have partnered to operate and manage the Fulbright Program in Pakistan with the goal to help Pakistanis learn more about the United States and to help Americans learn more about Pakistan. Close to 3,000 Pakistanis and 880 U.S. citizens have been awarded Fulbright grants to study or research in the United States and in Pakistan, respectively. There are currently 419 Pakistani students in the United States pursuing master’s and Ph.D. degrees through the Fulbright Program, making it the largest Fulbright Foreign Student program in the world.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 360,000 participants from more than 160 countries with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Indian Student Numbers in U.S. Are on the Rise After Three-Year Decline

Indian students are enrolling in U.S. schools at a faster rate than ever recorded, reversing a recent decline in numbers of people traveling from India to study in America, a new report shows.

The number of students from India in America rose 29.4% in the academic year starting fall 2014 compared with a year earlier, according to an annual report on international students released jointly by the Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State.

It means there were 132,888 Indians studying in U.S. schools that year, up from 102,673 in September 2013 .

Only China had more students stateside, with 304,040 enrolling there, an increase of 10.8% from a year earlier.

The rise in students from India arrested a three-year decline in their numbers on U.S. campuses, according to the report titled “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.”

The rate of growth in Indian students in the U.S. was the highest in the history of the Open Doors project, the report said, which started gathering data in the academic year starting in the fall of 1954. India’s most recent such surge in students moving to the U.S. for higher education occurred in the start of the 2000/2001 academic year.

Harjiv Singh, founder and editor of BrainGain Magazine, an online publication based in New Delhi focusing on studying abroad, said better access to funding from banks, a lack of high quality higher education institutions in India and stiff competition for those that there are, contributed to the rise.

“I think it’s going to go up faster in the next few years. You’ll see that uptrend continue, I’d say for the next decade,” Mr. Singh said.

According to separate figures from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the U.S. is the first choice for Indians wanting to study abroad, followed by the U.K., Australia, Canada and the UAE. The South Asian nation has 181,872 students studying outside India, the UNESCO figures showed.

The number of first-year Indian students traveling to the U.K. to study fell by 50% from the fall of 2010 to around 11,000 in the academic year starting 2013.

Riaz Haq said...

Speaking at the ‘Pakistan StartUP Cup’ competition for young entrepreneurs, jointly organised by the U.S Embassy and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), he said that Pakistan and US were working on a ‘knowledge corridor’ under which around 10,000 PhDs from Pakistan will be trained in U.S universities.

Riaz Haq said...

US-funded scholars vow to transform education in Pakistan

Twenty-four PhD scholars who received their degrees in the United States with US government’s assistance shared their experiences here at an event yesterday.

Upon graduation, the scholars returned to Pakistan to serve as faculty members at Pakistani universities.
In total, the US government through the US Agency for International Development funded 35 scholars to receive their PhD degrees in education, a US embassy statement said.

Two scholars reflected on their experiences during the event.
In their remarks, the scholars discussed the gap between traditional Pakistani teaching practices and internationally standardized teaching methodologies promoted in their PhD programs.

Both scholars expressed their commitment to using their training to improve the quality of education instruction and curriculum development in Pakistan.
They discussed the value of the “multiplier effect model” where academic leaders unleashed the genius of their students and colleagues.

The event was attended by USAID Pakistan Mission Director John Groarke and representatives from Higher Education Commission.
Groarke encouraged the graduates to think about their futures as educators.

“You have experienced firsthand some of the best teaching and educational resources the world has to offer,” he said.
“I encourage you to use your experiences as a launching pad to create meaningful change that will serve future generations.

The PhD scholarship program is one of several USAID initiatives that strengthen the quality of education and research in Pakistan.
Through the Training for Pakistan project, the USAID has committed $33.
9 million to provide training to Pakistani professionals across sectors, including education.
The program also serves other sectors, including economic growth, agriculture, health, energy, and governance.

Meanwhile yesterday, the USAID and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations hosted a joint event to commemorate the successful completion of a $32 million, USAID-funded Balochistan Agriculture Project that was implemented by the FAO.

The project encompassed agricultural development activities in eight districts of Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

Speaking at the closeout ceremony in Islamabad, the USAID Pakistan Mission Director John Groarke said, “USAID is very proud of the successful partnership we had in Balochistan with the government, with the local people and with FAO.
We are pleased with the tremendous progress the project made in improving livelihoods of the people in the project areas.

Through this project, the USAID established 826 community organizations, improving incomes for 16,000 households.
The project helped communities and individual farmers increase the production, sale, and revenues from crops and livestock.

The farmers learned about new approaches for farming, better breeds of livestock, better seeds, and more efficient water management techniques.
The project helped establish and train community organizations, farmers’ marketing collectives and mutual marketing organizations in grading, packaging, and helped them find better paying markets.

The project also increased the participation of women in income-earning activities, supported improvement in provincial agricultural policies and the legal and regulatory framework for market-led and community-driven investments.

Riaz Haq said...

Most Pakistani parents choose schools for their children with an eye to ensuring that they are competitive when it comes to applying for admission to U.S. or U.K. colleges. Many today are counting on the Swiss-based International Baccalaureate education program as the more holistic, and competitive, alternative to the British General Certificate of Education’s Ordinary and Advanced level pre-college qualifications.

Founded in 1968, the IB aims to develop the “intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.” There are 4,527 schools around the world—including 15 in Pakistan, where the program was introduced in 1996—that offer 5,865 IB programs, from primary school onward, to almost a million students in 147 countries.

Karachi’s International School was the first private school to offer the IB in Pakistan, and it took another 10 years for other schools to being adopting the program. The number of Pakistani schools that offer the IB is still small compared to those in India, where the IB took off in 1976 and is offered by 120 schools.

Awareness has been an obstacle. “We did not even have a relationship with the Ministry of Education until three years ago,” says Faizol Musa, regional development manager of the IB Board. Over the last three years, IB educators have organized workshops and seminars in Pakistan to create awareness of the program and its admissions-time advantages. But despite that, and its acceptance by the world’s top colleges and universities, many Pakistani universities still do not recognize the IB for admissions.

The schools which offer the program recognize its full value. “Parents have a habit of judging their children’s studies with the amount of homework they get,” says Misbah Rani of Lahore’s Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust. “Our program encourages students to really learn and absorb the information rather than just memorize a few lines.”

Offering the IB program requires certification and teacher training, requirements that few schools in Pakistan’s stressed and underserved education market are equipped to handle. Aitchison College recently withdrew its application for certification, while the Lahore Grammar School’s application is pending with the IB Board. (School-certification applications can take up to two years to get accepted.)

Costs also account for why Pakistan’s embrace of the IB has been slow in coming. Applications are expensive (the school-certification application carries a one-time fee of $4,383, and the IB Board charges the certified school between $7,192 and $9,846 on an annual basis.) To keep current with the prescribed standards, these certified schools are also required to undergo mandatory training programs for teachers twice a year. It also costs parents more: Rs. 40,000 per month, almost twice the price of the British GCE certification system. However, Sanjan Nagar, a school for underprivileged children with an enrollment of some 700, is managing to offer the IB for Rs. 1,500 per month.

“We hope that public schools will also be able to be part of the program as well,” says Musa. “Pakistan is one of the fastest growing regions and markets for IB. We are certain that in 10 years it will become one of the key countries for IB worldwide.”

Riaz Haq said...

Students of #Pakistan's Habib University to attend summer sessions at UC #Berkeley in #California

Habib University (HU) has signed an agreement with University of California, Berkeley, which will assist the university's students to attend summer sessions in the United States, said a statement issued on Saturday.

Under the new agreement, Habib University students will be able to take classes under six-week session, eight-week session, or the entire 10-week term at University of California with choice of studying various courses from a range of over 600 courses taught by UC Berkeley faculty.

The students will also have the option to reside on or off campus in the town of Berkeley, with easy access to downtown San Francisco, it added.

Know more: Pakistani students in US

Habib University students will have to undergo internal selection process where each prospective student will have to display a serious intent to study, provide insights into the possible courses of study, and explain their learning expectations from the multicultural experience and the entrepreneurial potential of Silicon Valley and UC Berkeley.

UC Berkeley also hosts the annual Mahomedali Habib Distinguished Lecture Series on Pakistan under The Berkeley Pakistan Initiative.

The 4th Mahomedali Habib Distinguished Lecture took place on November 6, 2016, at Berkeley. The lecture was titled “The Indus Civilisation – Changing Perspectives on Regional Origins, Diverse Character and Complex Legacy”, and was delivered by famed archaeologist and one of the world’s leading authorities on the ancient Indus Civilisation Dr. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer.

Habib University has signed several agreements with many foreign universities which have opened new avenues of learning and collaboration for HU students and faculty.

Riaz Haq said...

U.S. universities and colleges are hosting 6,141 students from Pakistan, writes David Hale. …

Over one million international students are now enrolled at American higher education institutions, maintaining the US’s long-standing position as the world’s top host nation for international students. The 2015-2016 academic year – the latest year for which data is available – showed a 14.7 percent increase in Pakistani students studying in the US. We are proud that this is the highest level in five years, with our universities and colleges hosting 6,141 students. This includes the increase in students studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as those enrolled in the Optional Practical Training. This is a testament to the unmatched quality of higher education in the US in the eyes of international students and their families.

International students from diverse backgrounds strengthen ties between the US and various countries around the world, developing the relationships between people and communities that are necessary to solve global challenges. We highly value inclusion and actively support students from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds on campuses across the US. American students and communities benefit from the unique and diverse perspective that international students bring to expand their own worldviews, which helps prepare all of us for a shared, successful future in an interconnected world.

US colleges and universities take pride in providing safe, hospitable environments for all of their students. I want to stress how welcome you are in the US. Many universities have come together to send a specific and direct message to students around the world through the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign. I join them in welcoming you to the US, where our colleges and universities offer valuable educational opportunities to help you meet your life and career goals.

The consular officials at Embassy Islamabad, the Consulate General Karachi, the Consulate General Lahore and at the US embassies and consulates around the world continue to work diligently to process student visa requests. Information about the visa process is available at or The EducationUSA advisers are ready to answer questions about studying in the US, and you can find an adviser at

Those of you who have received offers of admission have an opportunity to accept this life-changing opportunity and join your peers in experiencing the unique value of an American higher education.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is a significant exporter of international students globally. According to UNESCO statistics, the number of outbound Pakistani degree-seeking students grew by 70 percent over the last decade, from 31,156 in 2007 to 53,023 in 2017.

Another important driver is the lack of university seats and high-quality study programs in Pakistan, particularly at the graduate level. While Pakistan has created a tremendous amount of new doctoral programs over the past decade, growing numbers of Pakistani scholars are heading abroad to access higher quality education, primarily in fields like engineering and the sciences. To modernize research in Pakistan and raise the qualifications profile of university faculty, the government supports this development with scholarship programs of considerable scale, considering Pakistan’s fiscal constraints. While most Pakistani students are said to be self-funded, overseas scholarship programs have helped thousands of graduate students to pursue studies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Cuba, Germany, France, and various other countries in recent years. Scholarship recipients are often required to return home after graduation.

The traditional English-speaking international study destinations, Australia and the U.S., are currently the top choices among Pakistani degree-seeking students, as per UNESCO statistics. Data published by the Australian government show that the number of Pakistani students grew almost threefold over the past decade, from 3,512 in 2008 to 10,000 in 2019, making Pakistan one of the top 10 sending countries of tertiary students in Australia.

In the U.S., likewise, Pakistani enrollments have generally been on an upward trajectory over the past few years. According to the Open Doors data of the Institute of International Education, Pakistan sent 7,957 students to the U.S. in 2018/19, an increase of 5.6 percent over the previous year, making it the 22nd most important sending country. Around 44 percent of these students are enrolled in undergraduate programs, 35 percent in graduate programs, and 4 percent in non-degree programs, while 17 percent pursue Optional Practical Training.

Other popular destination countries include the U.K. and the Muslim-majority countries Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, the latter also being a magnet for labor migrants from Pakistan. It should be noted, however, that China has emerged as a significant destination as well. China may, in fact, now host the largest number of Pakistani international students worldwide. While UNESCO does not report data for China, and Chinese government figures are difficult to compare,[1] Pakistan is currently the third-largest sending country to China with 28,000 students, per Chinese statistics. As in neighboring India, many Pakistani students flock to China to pursue medical education—an underdeveloped and severely overburdened education sector in both India and Pakistan. Increased political and economic cooperation between Pakistan and China and Chinese scholarship funding likely play a significant role as well. Increasing numbers of Pakistani students are interested in learning Chinese.

In general, Pakistani students have increasingly diversified their international study destinations in recent years. In Canada, for instance, the number of Pakistani students has doubled over the past decade, if on a relatively small scale (4,050 students in 2019). Another notable destination country is Germany, where Pakistan is now among the top 20 sending countries after enrollments jumped by 28 percent within just one year, from 3,836 in 2017 to 4,928 in 2018—a trend likely driven, among other factors, by the availability of tuition-free, high-quality graduate programs in engineering.

Riaz Haq said...

According to the 2021 census data, while Pakistan's population in Australia has tripled, it has dropped from fifth to eighth place in skilled migration. But visas for international students have increased.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as of the end of June 2019, 91,480 people of Pakistani descent were living in Australia, more than three times the number as of June 30, 2009 (27,250). In terms of numbers, Pakistanis make up the 19th largest immigrant community in Australia, accounting for 1.2% of Australia's overseas population and 0.4% of the total population.

The average age of Australian immigrants of Pakistani descent is 31.4 years, which is 6.0 years less than the general population. Males constitute 60.5% of the population and females 39.5%.

Australia's permanent migration program includes economic and family migration and is the main route to permanent residence. This includes Skill Stream, Family Stream and Special Eligibility Visas. The only other way to get permanent residence is on humanitarian grounds.

In terms of population, Pakistan was ranked 23rd in the 2016 census and is now ranked 19th after a threefold increase in population. But almost all categories in the skilled stream have seen a decline in rankings.

In the Employee Sponsored Category, it is now ranked 16th after a three-point decline, but temporary skilled visas have not seen a change in ranking.
The influx of international students has increased to 7,653 from 5,682 in 2016, after which Pakistan's ranking in this category has improved from 15 to 11.
Top five skills getting permanent visas in 2016 were Accountants 240, Software and Applications Programmers 234, Computer Network Professionals 159, Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 158 and Electronics Engineers 113 but in 2019-20 the highest number of visas issued to Pakistanis were Accountants 336, Software and Applications Programmers 82, Other Engineering Professionals 51, Electrical Engineers 48 and Civil Engineering Professionals 40.

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Pakistan students complain about German visa delays
Haroon Janjua Islamabad

Pakistani students, who have been admitted to German universities, are worried that they might lose their admissions due to long waiting times for student visa appointments at German missions in the country.


When Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto visited Germany earlier this month, he said the visa issue is a big concern and that Islamabad hopes to "continue to be able to engage and make that process more easier."

His German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, at the joint press conference on October 7, said that the issue is high on her ministry's agenda and promised to address the problem.


For Farooq Rasheed, getting admitted to the University of Bonn's Geodetic Engineering program this year was one of the best things that happened in his life. He was supposed to begin his studies in the western German city last week but he's still stuck in Pakistan waiting for a visa.

The 23-year-old student from Lahore city said that he had applied for a visa in July but has yet to receive it.

"My classes started last week but the university has given me exemption, and I am attending online classes for the next two-three months," Rasheed told DW, adding that he has no idea when he will receive the student visa.

It's not an isolated case. Many other students have complained of long waiting times for visa appointments at German missions in the South Asian country.

Fatima Saleem, 23, is enrolled for a masters program in entrepreneurship management and marketing at the Otto Von Guericke University in Magdeburg. She said she has been waiting for a visa appointment since May.

"I didn't know I would have to miss my first semester due to the delay in appointments from the German Embassy, as the website stated that the waiting time is 2-3 months," she told DW.

"My classes started on October 10. I hope to get my visa soon. My university has allowed me to join later, before exams. But since there are no online classes, I am facing many issues and have to study all by myself," she noted.

Students fear losing admission
Students say they risk losing their admissions if the German missions in the country fail to make an appointment for them on time.

"I am afraid, if I won't make it before exams I might lose my whole academic year, which would have a devastating effect on my future. I request the German Embassy to kindly expedite the process now and make us a priority so that we can reach there at least before exams," said Saleem.

Students who apply for a visa appointment at the German Embassy in Islamabad are receiving an auto generated message, pointing to the long waiting times.

"Given the high demand for appointments, please note that you have to wait approximately up to more than twelve (12) months for the allocation of your appointment," it reads.

The embassy hasn't so far responded to DW's repeated requests for comment as to why students are facing such long delays in getting visa appointments.

What could be the reasons behind the long waiting times?
Rasheed believes the long waiting times are due to the fact that anyone with a passport can apply for a visa appointment and they don't actually need an offer letter from a German university to do so.

This means that people book appointments long before they have even applied for university, resulting in their taking up appointment slots that would otherwise go to deserving visa applicants who actually have offer letters.

"This creates a backlog and many serious candidates get left behind," he said, adding: "The embassy should ask the candidates to provide at least an admission letter at the time of applying for appointments so that only serious candidates who have all the documentation can be considered for visa interviews."

Riaz Haq said...

there were dramatic increases in enrollment by students from some Western European countries: almost 60 percent from Germany, more than 41 percent from Spain and about 37 percent from France. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Colombia and Nigeria were also among those countries marking double-digit percentage increases, as well.

The number of international students at U.S. colleges increased last year after a marked drop during the pandemic, according to a survey of thousands of universities released Monday.

For a normal college experience during the pandemic, these students hopped continents

The number of international students increased 4 percent in the 2021-2022 academic year to nearly 1 million students, coming from more than 200 countries, the survey found, a rebound that many higher education officials hoped to see.

But the data also indicated a drop in the number of students from China, the country that for years has sent the most students to the United States.

The Open Doors 2022 Report on International Educational Exchange was released Monday by the Institute of International Education and the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The survey included both enrolled students and those here on optional practical training — temporary work related to their academic field — at some 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States.

A separate, much smaller survey of more than 600 schools this fall offered a more recent snapshot of data, finding an additional 9 percent increase in enrollment by international students.

The numbers are closely watched for the cultural and economic impact of such exchanges; international students alter the educational experience for U.S. students studying with them. And, according to the Commerce Department, they contributed $32 billion to the U.S. economy in 2021.

In more than a century of data, Allan E. Goodman, chief executive of the Institute of International Education (IIE), said, they have seen that international exchanges occur even during pandemics and grow rapidly afterward.

The increase was welcomed by Lee Satterfield, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. “We are thrilled to see international student numbers on the rise, and to see the United States maintain its global leadership as the top destination of choice for international students,” Satterfield said in a statement.

Satterfield said that welcoming international students to American campuses “is at the heart of people-to-people diplomacy and a foundational component of our U.S. foreign policy strategy to attract the top talent to the United States.”

More than half of all international students last year came from China or India. China sent the most — nearly a third of the total — but the numbers decreased nearly 9 percent from the 2020-2021 academic year.

At the same time, the number of students from India increased nearly 19 percent, to almost 200,000.

Before 2020, the number of students from China had been increasing since the 2009-2010 academic year, said Mirka Martel, head of research, evaluation and learning for IIE. She said the pandemic and its impact on travel is probably one of the primary reasons Chinese students were unable to travel to the United States or were choosing to defer their studies.

Speaking to whether geopolitics influenced those numbers as well, Ethan Rosenzweig, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the State Department, said on a press call that the Biden administration has been very clear that Chinese students are welcome here. Rosenzweig said he is looking forward to China opening its borders to allow U.S. universities to recruit in person there again.

Riaz Haq said...

UNESCO stats on Pakistani students abroad

United Arab Emirates 24,863
Australia 11,297
United Kingdom 7,802
United States 7,511
Kyrgyzstan 6,003
Germany 5,837
Malaysia 4,243
Canada 2,607
Türkiye 2,386
Saudi Arabia 1,635
Korea, Rep. 1,465
Sweden 1,056
Qatar 1,039
Italy 936
Hungary 878
Finland 618
France 502
Norway 435
Bahrain 411
Iran, Islamic Rep. 377
Ukraine 335
Japan 330
Cyprus 318
Oman 293
New Zealand 274
China, Hong Kong 272
Ireland 263
Poland 253
Latvia 234
Spain 192
Estonia 155
Belgium 145
South Africa 138
Thailand 135
Czechia 131
Denmark 130
Austria 127
Georgia 122
Russian Federation 115
Azerbaijan 90
Lithuania 84
Egypt 77
Portugal 71
Switzerland 69
Malta 63
Uzbekistan 56
Romania 51
Kazakhstan 47
Jordan 42
Brazil 39
Bulgaria 34
India 25
Slovenia 25
Belarus 21
Luxembourg 21
Brunei Darussalam 19
Ghana 17
Iceland 17
Botswana 11
Morocco 10
Slovakia 10
Bosnia/Herzegovina 9
Greece 9
Tanzania 8
Viet Nam 5

Riaz Haq said...

15,000 Pakistani Students are Currently Studying in Australia

The envoy shared the willingness to boost the ties further in areas of trade and investment. He apprised the minister that 100,000 strong Pakistan diaspora and 15,000 Pakistani students in Australia are playing an important role in bringing the two countries closer.

Riaz Haq said...

23,450 student visas issued in 2022 for Pakistanis to study in the UK, representing 377% increase over 2019.

The UK approved a record-breaking number of UK student visas on record in its time series. Out of 486,868 sponsored study visas granted (to both main applicants and their dependants), 117,965 went to Indian nationals. This is an increase of 80,569 (+215%) compared to 2019, and slightly more than the 115,056 granted to Chinese nationals — but Pakistani nationals saw a bigger increase in approvals for their UK student visas at 377% compared to India’s 215%.

Following India, Chinese nationals received 115,056 approved UK student visas, 4% lower than the number seen in 2019 (119,825). Almost half of all UK student visas (48%) went to Chinese and Indian nationals.

Nigerian nationals make up the third largest nationality group in the latest year, with a record high of 65,929 approved UK student visas. This is a 686% jump from 2019, marking the largest relative increase in Sponsored Study grants among all nationality groups.

Indian students now see the UK as more appealing after it reintroduced opportunities to remain in the country to work after graduation.

Data from Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is showing an uptick in the number of Indian international students enrolled in British universities in 2020-21.

First-year Indian international students have increased by 27%, from 41,815 in 2019-20 to 53,015 in 2020-21, representing 19% of all non-EU enrolments. While China still leads in terms of student enrolments, their numbers have decreased over the 2020-21 period.
Speaking to Times of India, Indian National Student Association UK president Amit Tiwari said: “Indian students also appreciate the fact that they get a chance to apply experience to their studies due to the post-study work visa. We can only see the trend increasing of Indian students coming to the UK.”

Sanam Arora, founder and chairperson of National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK, said India is the most natural partner for the UK when it comes to education. She added that it is in India’s interest if the UK increased their intake with a compelling offer.

“Post-study work rights are critical to that offer, and the results of that are already being seen in the doubling of numbers from India and I do think this increase will continue. I am excited to see what comes out of the FTA negotiations,” Arora was quoted saying.

Riaz Haq said...

Indians and Pakistanis in Australia as per 2016 Census


People 61,915

Male 37,720

Female 24,195

Australian citizen 42.3%

Not an Australian citizen 56.0%


People 455,388
Male 245,416
Female 209,972
Australian citizen 48.1%
Not an Australian citizen 50.8%