ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: European Union (EU) urged Pakistani universities for more cooperation through EU’s Erasmus plus higher education programme.
Talking to the state-run news agency in Islamabad on Tuesday, an official of the EU stressed the need to create more awareness about the opportunities of the Erasmus plus offers for Pakistani universities.
In 2016, only one capacity building application, among 107 selected for Asian countries involved Pakistan, official said.
Currently, he said, Erasmus + the higher education programme of the European Union, is open for applications.
The deadline for the full degree masters students is December and January, he said and added, while for the universities to participate in Credit Mobility and Capacity building in Higher Education, the deadline is February.
He also shared that the EU’s Erasmus+ programme is one of the largest and most diverse higher education programs being offered worldwide, as it includes extensive variety of opportunities at both the individual and institutional level.
In addition to institutional capacity building, Erasmus+ also offers short-term scholarships of 3-12 months for students and 2 months for staff under credit mobility action.
Under this program, he said, the universities together with European universities can apply for funding of student and staff exchange.
He also highlighted that in 2016, roughly 3,000 scholarships were funded for Asian students, however only 57 of those came from Pakistan adding that this is remarkably less than could be expected, given the country’s size.
Erasmus+ offers many opportunities for universities. Although the scholarship part of the programme is well-known in Pakistan, the new parts focusing on inter-university cooperation and capacity building need further introduction, he added.
He said that capacity building projects could be very beneficial for universities in Pakistan. This can include curriculum development and modernization, upgrading facilities and equipment, or improving university governance.
Through the Erasmus+ program, higher education institutions can benefit from strategic improvement of the professional skills of their staff, organisational capacity building, and creating transnational cooperative partnerships with organisations from other countries in order to produce innovative outputs or exchange best practices.