U.S.,Pak discuss cooperation in science and technology

Washington: The United States and Pakistan discussed cooperation in education, science and technology, which both sides said provides a lasting foundation for ties and serves as an engine for long-term economic growth.
The discussion in this regard took place during the second U.S.-Pakistan Education, Science, and Technology Working Group in Washington D.C. chaired by US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel and Pakistan’s Minister of Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal.

The meeting, which took place prior to the Strategic Dialogue Ministerial, provides a platform to strengthen cooperation under the ‘U.S.-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor’, focused on advancing academic networks, partnerships and exchanges in higher education, science and technology.

Stengel and Iqbal signed a statement at the meeting recognizing the commitment by Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission to fund scholarships for an additional 125 Pakistani PhD students in the United States through the Fulbright Program over the next five years, complementing the U.S. investment in the Fulbright Program in Pakistan, which is the largest worldwide.

Both sides discussed cooperation in education, science and technology through the “U.S.-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor”, which provides a lasting foundation for ties and serves as an engine for long-term economic growth.

They reviewed the substantial achievements since the last Working Group held in Islamabad in June 2015: doubling joint funding for collaborative science and technology research grants; launching U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in energy, water, and agriculture/food security, part of the 23 total U.S.-Pakistan university partnerships; and the announcement of the joint Let Girls Learn initiative to expand educational opportunity for adolescent girls.

At the Working Group, Stengel announced the establishment of a new university partnership between the University of Massachusetts and a consortium of universities in Balochistan.

Iqbal noted his country’s aspiration for 10,000 Pakistanis to obtain PhDs at U.S. universities by 2025. The two sides agreed to explore initiatives to expand educational opportunities for Pakistani students in the United States at the tertiary level.

They also recognized that ongoing investments in basic and higher education, including through the Let Girls Learn Initiative, will create a well-educated workforce that will drive innovation, gender equality, and a knowledge-based economy.

The United States lauded Pakistan for doubling its higher education budget since 2013 for its efforts to expand women and girls’ access to education, and for pledging to increase spending on education from two to four percent of GDP by 2018.(ANI)