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HEC kicks off first-ever batch of women leadership programme for Sindh

Islamabad, MAR 17 /DNA/ – The Higher Education Commission (HEC) via its Higher Education Development in Pakistan (HEDP) concluded the 5th cohort of the Women Leadership Programme. The training sessions were conducted at the NAHE regional centre in Karachi from March 13-17.

Thirty future female leaders from all public sector universities across the Sindh province attended the training. Women from all disciplines – medical, engineering, humanities, and others participated. Most of these are mid-career professionals working as Heads of Departments, Registrar, and senior faculty members.

This programme is a crucial step towards building the capacity of women leaders in the higher education sector of Pakistan. The programme kicked off under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Rawalpindi Women University, Prof. Dr. Anila Kamal and Advisor Academics, Curriculum and NAHE Engr. Muhammad Raza Chohan, who delivered detailed sessions on Gender and Workplace Communication, Art of Negotiation, and Governance in Higher Education, and recruitment policies respectively.

The project has already trained more than 100 women in four earlier cohorts of trainings in Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar. It is essential for women leaders to understand the inner workings of the higher education sector and navigate the challenges they may face in leadership roles. The programme focused on governance in higher education, recruitment policies, outsmarting work-life balance, gender and workplace communication, public procurement rules, financial management and strategic communication. The programme also provides an opportunity for personal and professional development and exposes participants to international best practices in women’s leadership. This knowledge and exposure can enable future women leaders to transform higher education institutions into demand-driven institutes, bridging the gender gap in higher education. Moreover, the programme will help female leaders develop cognitive, social, and behavioural skills to drive peak performance and achieve excellence in their roles. By facilitating the development of these skills, the programme will support women leaders in overcoming challenges and achieving success in their careers.

The programme is an outcome of various consultations and roundtables held by NAHE in 2020-21 early during the project life, where the need for capacity building – especially in the areas of leadership, governance and management was evident. It was observed that very few women reach leadership roles at universities. HEC expressed the need to empower existing women leaders through capacity-building programmes as well as nurture potential and upcoming women for leadership positions.

The participants appreciated the efforts to push women up the ladder and affirmed that these efforts are essential towards promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in higher education. The project has also planned a structured mentorship programme to ensure sustainability. The women trained will act as mentors/ training trainers and will pass on the learning to other women in their university or cluster of women in their geographical area.

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