USAID’s Higher Education System Strengthening Activity inaugurates at NUST
USAID’s Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) project has been inaugurated at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST). HESSA is a project of the governments of the United States and Pakistan, launched from the platform of USAID. The project aims to reinforce the country’s higher education system by capacity building of HEIs.
Launched in October 2021, the five-year project will serve as an impetus to enhance graduate employability and improve relevance, adequacy and inclusivity vis-à-vis the higher education ecosystem of Pakistan. HESSA’s approach hinges upon engaging a wide array of stakeholders to introduce feasible, relevant, viable and sustainable reforms. The project will encompass baseline studies, strategic plans, international higher education summits, study tours to the US universities, and inclusive financial aid system for students, to name a few.
Speaking at the occasion, Lt Gen (Retd) Javed Mahmood Bukhari, Rector NUST, expressed gratitude to the US government, its international development agency, USAID, and the University of Utah for establishing HESSA at NUST. He contended that the project would integrate well with the university’s robust knowledge ecosystem to achieve its short- and long-term objectives. He maintained that contours of the project are germane to Pakistan’s higher education landscape, and hoped that it would bode well for reinvigorating the HEIs across the country.
Dr Micheal Barber, Principal Investigator HESSA, said that NUST has always been the first choice to serve as the launch pad of and institutionalise this ambitious project. He vowed to work hand in glove with NUST for success of the project and beyond. Dr M Aslam Chaudhry, Chief of Party (HESSA Project Research) and Professor at the University of Utah, said that the project is oriented to needs of the country’s HEIs and would go a long way in their capacity building.