A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Shenzhen University (SZU), China and Higher Education Commission at HEC Secretariat on Thursday.President Shenzhen University Prof Li Qingquan and Chairman HEC Dr. Tariq Banuri signed the agreement.The two sides will deliberate on award of fully funded SZU scholarships for Pakistani students at split PhD, doctoral and post-doctoral levels, joint research initiatives, and faculty and student exchanges in addition to establishing institutional linkages between SZU and Pakistani universities. It is to pertinent to note SZU becoming a member of Consortium established under the umbrella of Chinese Association of Higher Education and HEC Pakistan.Welcoming the delegation, Dr. Banuri appreciated SZU for providing opportunities to Pakistani students to pursue doctoral and post-doctoral studies. He said that China is one of Pakistan’s leading partners in development of higher education and that “we wish to further strengthen this relationship, particularly in the context of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Since different special economic zones are planned to be established in Pakistan under CPEC, we would like to learn from SZU experience as how it became instrumental for Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.”Faculty and student exchanges, doctoral and post-doctoral opportunities and possibility of establishing SZU campus in Pakistan was discussedThe Chairman also informed the delegation about transnational education policy of HEC in which foreign universities are welcome to start their campuses and sub-campuses in Pakistan and Pakistani universities are also encouraged to start their operations in foreign countries.He also mentioned the key functions of HEC including promotion and financing of research in higher education institutions, maintaining standards and building capacities. He emphasized that the key challenge and focus of HEC is to enhance and ensure quality of higher education and research.Prof. Qingquan expressed his gratitude to HEC for inviting them to Pakistan for discussion on collaboration with Pakistani universities. He said though SZU has a short history of 40 years but it has developed swiftly in these years and has been emerging in world university rankings. He said that our University is situated in a newly built special economic zone and has achieved the status of fastest rising university in China and abroad. “Among other things, we have also focused on internationalization of our University including increased collaborations with universities worldwide and attracting more students from other countries to study at SZU. Likewise, we also expect collaborations with universities in Pakistan and more students in our various disciplines so they have a first-hand experience of China’s development,” the President said.Under CPEC, we would like to learn from SZU experience as how it became instrumental for Shenzhen Special Economic Zone: says Chairman HECHe said that SZU enrolled its first students in 1983, and has since rapidly grown into a well-known institution boasting over 34000 students, including 5500 postgraduates and over 1500 international students. “At present, 76 Pakistani scholars are studying in our University and we expect that our recent visit would get us young and talented pool of Pakistani scholars.”Adviser Human Resource Development HEC Wasim Hashmi gave a presentation on progress of Pakistan’s higher education sector since establishment of HEC in 2002. He briefed the delegation about how investing in HRD and R&D has helped in raising the standard of country’s universities. He said that main focus of our collaboration with SZU would be research collaborations, faculty and student exchanges, doctoral and post-doctoral opportunities for Pakistani students and discussion on possible establishment of SZU campus in Pakistan.Other members of SZU delegation included Prof. Ming Haiyan, Director of Graduate School, Prof. Ming Zhong, Dean of Computer Science and Software Engineering College, Prof. Zhang Xiaohong, Dean of Foreign Language College, Prof. Zhang Han, Representative of Physics and Optical Engineering College, Prof. Gu Wei, Vice Dean of International Exchange College, and Mr. Muhammad Sadiq, a PhD scholar from Pakistan at SZU’s Computer Science and Software Engineering College. Vice Chancellors and representatives of local universities also attended the meeting.During their three-day visit, they will also visit National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), International Islamic University (IIU), Bahria University, Air University and COMSATS University.Published in Daily Times, February 22nd 2019.