Prime Minister says that Lancaster is ‘showing the way’ with its Pakistan partnership
A major foreign policy speech given by Prime Minister David Cameron, during his one-day visit to Islamabad was watched by students and staff at Lancaster University via a live link up from Lancaster’s partner university COMSATSInstitute of Information Technology (CIIT) in Pakistan.
Speaking from the Islamabad campus on Tuesday 5 April, in the first speech ever given by a British Prime Minister at a Pakistani University , Mr Cameron used the opportunity to call for the existing bond between the countries to strengthen especially in business, culture, family and education.
Mr Cameron said that Lancaster and CIIT were ‘showing the way’ in Higher Education with their partnership.
In August 2010, 213 Pakistani undergraduate students started the first dual Lancaster University/Comsats institute of Information Technology (CIIT) degrees delivered in Pakistan.
These first ever UK university /public sector Pakistani university dual degrees give students in Pakistan the opportunity to study for a highly regarded international degree for a fraction of the cost to study in the UK. Students study at the Lahore campus and are awarded a degree from both institutions.
Lancaster’s relationship with CIIT started in 2007 with their masters and PhD students coming to Lancaster, and now the first joint degrees in Electronic Communication Systems, Business Studies and Computing are being delivered in Pakistan, by local academics.
Lancaster aims to offer joint degrees exclusively with CIIT from all its four faculties including the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the School of Health and Medicine.
Lancaster has responsibility to approve the curriculum and the content of the degree programmes and the quality assurance of the delivery.
The visit to Islamabad comes after Mr Cameron hosted Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari for talks at Chequers in August, at which both leaders hailed the "unbreakable" bond of friendship between their nations.
In the speech to the university students Mr Cameron said that his visit marks "a new chapter in the relationship between our two countries" and a chance to "clear up the misunderstandings of the past".
The prime minister, who also visited a school and Pakistan's national mosque, also pledged £650m of additional aid for Pakistan's schools system to help more children go to primary school. He said the four-year package of support would help an extra four million children go to primary schools, train an extra 90,000 teachers and provide six million text books.
CIIT started awarding degrees in 2000 and has grown to have 14,000 students across 6 campuses in Pakistan, with plans to expand to 7 more campuses.
Based on research citations CIIT has been ranked at number 6 in Pakistan by the Higher Education Commission ( HEFCE equivalent) and has alumni working in some of the top global companies.