ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) was undertaking efforts to achieve the task of 1500 Pakistani students’ placement in PhD programmes at top ranked US universities under Phase-I of the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor.These efforts have resulted in partnerships and formal Documents of Understanding (DoUs) between HEC and the US universities to support this initiative, the official sources from HEC said on Monday. Talking to sources they revealed that the initiative aims to increase the number of faculty in tertiary education institutions with highest academic qualifications to improve the quality of teaching and research to prepare self-reliant, problem solving scholars.HEC, they said, has signed Documents of Understanding with a number of US universities, while DoUs with several other universities were under discussion. The main objective of the initiative was to enable the academically qualified 10,000 Pakistani students or faculty to pursue PhD studies in US universities in selected fields, they added. Under the initiative, the sources said, HEC also planned to impart training to1000-2000 potential candidates annually for admission in US universities through preparatory classes for English language and GRE under “Talent Farming Process” as per admission requirements of US universities.“The government envision enhancing enrollment in tertiary education up to 7.1 million by 2025 and outreach of higher education institutions at district level. For this purpose, US-Pak Knowledge Corridor will provide opportunities for 10,000 Pakistani scholars for doctoral studies enabling higher educational institutions to have highly qualified PhD faculty” they remarked. It is worth mentioning here that a total of 99 scholars, including 70 male and 29 female scholars, have so far been awarded scholarships under the initiative, while 87 students were on board with 12 others in the pipeline.In that regard a team of Admission Directors of Nine US universities had visited the Higher Education Commission (HEC) recently to discuss possibilities of institutional agreements for admission and placement of Pakistani scholars in the US universities under the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor.