News story

Celebrating people to people links- Cultural and educational exchange between the UK and Pakistan

Cultural Roadmap published following meeting between PM David Cameron and Prime Minister Gilani

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

External site: UJ-Pakistan Joint Statement

External site: UK-Pakistan investment Roadmap

The UK and Pakistan enjoy uniquely rich people-to-people links and growing cultural exchange.  The close personal connections between our citizens are just one of the many distinctive characteristics in UK - Pakistan relations. 

To mark Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to the UK at the invitation of Prime Minister Cameron, the governments of the UK and Pakistan have detailed the vibrant links between school children, students, young professionals, cultural institutions and higher education sectors.  These activities and many more, contribute to the unbreakable partnership between the UK and Pakistan.  This visit provides an opportunity to celebrate those connections.

The governments of the UK and Pakistan are committed to supporting growing people-to-people links and cultural exchange through the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue which has been in operation for 12 months.

Bringing children together

The British Council is bringing school children in the UK and Pakistan together through its Connecting Classrooms project.  150 schools in Pakistan are linked with 90 schools in the UK.  These partnerships bring an international dimension to young people’s learning, improve their knowledge and understanding of other cultures, and prepare them for life and work as global citizens.  The programme creates a more connected world for the future and better understanding. Internationalism and dialogue between cultures are at the heart of all activities. It also develops leadership skills for education professionals and training for teachers to enhance their classroom skills.

Children in Pakistan are also benefiting from the UK’s commitment to create an international sports legacy in the year it hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The International Inspirations programme in Pakistan: creates partnerships between schools; supports a national curriculum for physical education (PE); and provides protective environments to encourage sports participation for girls and for young people living with disabilities. The aspiration is for at least one million children and young people in Pakistan to have access to high-quality and inclusive PE and sport. There are links between 38 Pakistani schools and 20 specialist sports-schools in the UK.

Looking ahead

Connecting Classrooms, International Inspirations and the Global School Partnership are programmes with a long-term vision. Plans are in place to sustain and develop the work that they do.

The Connecting Classrooms programme will grow in 2012-15, as a partnership between the British Council and DFID.  Some 90 school links have been built between Pakistan and the UK through the DFID Global School Partnership, focussing on development education.

Pakistan endorses the DFID/British Council school programme 2012-15 which will build school-to-school partnerships and extend school leaders’ & teachers’ skills.

As part of the International Inspirations programme, a 14 year old Karachi schoolgirl will be one of the people carrying the Olympic Flame on its 70-day journey around the UK this summer. Two more young people (from Multan and Karachi) will volunteer in the UK School Games in London as ‘young leaders of tomorrow’.

Bringing higher education and students together

“Pakistan’s transition to a middle income economy is critically dependent on the scale and performance of its tertiary education sector.  Institutions of higher learning must play a leadership role in this transition” (Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission). The British Council’s INSPIRE  ‘leadership programme’ has trained 87% of Pakistan’s Vice Chancellors and Rectors, drawing on the UK’s considerable strengths in higher-education leadership skills. The Knowledge Exchange programme has developed universities’ new roles in economic and social development in Pakistan.

The British Council has worked with 128 of Pakistan’s 132 universities over the last few years, initiating research and capacity-building links between Pakistani and UK universities, and built almost 100 university links:

• HEC and British Council: 50 research and capacity-building links between universities (HEC £3.5m, 4 years); 27 INSPIRE strategic university partnerships (BC £0.9m, HEC £1.2m, 6 years)
• UK Prime Minister’s Initiative: 10 university-to-university links (£0.9m, 2 years)
• DFID: 7 Delphe south-south and UK university partnerships that contribute to development and 3 health-research & advocacy links

Some 11,000 Pakistanis studied in the UK in 2010-11 and a further 35,000 studied in Pakistan for degrees or professional awards with UK higher education providers.  Each year, some 200,000 young Pakistanis present for 400,000 UK examinations.

The Chevening Scholarship programme has sent over 1,000 Pakistani students to study in the UK, since its launch in 1983.  The Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship and similar schemes made 52 Fellowship awards for 2011 and 2012.

Senior Pakistani journalists are currently in the UK on a special programme with the University of Westminster.

Looking ahead

In the immediate future, the INSPIRE programme will continue into mentoring partnerships between Vice Chancellors in the UK and Pakistan.  A next-generation leadership programme will extend training to the second tier of management at universities.

Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and the British Council will jointly invest £1.3m in an 18 month programme to continue developing strategic university partnerships.
Pakistan endorses the Higher Education Commission and British Council joint investment in Pakistan-UK higher education links and university leadership training.

The number of Pakistani students studying with the UK continues to grow.   The UK is now a preferred choice for university linkages and research programmes. Faculty members of Pakistani universities are doing PhDs under split-site arrangements and joint research publications are increasing. There are to be 22 new Chevening scholarships awarded in 2012.

Bringing young professionals together

The British Pakistan Foundation has formed a network of young professionals in the UK who are all committed to supporting Pakistan’s development.

The British Council helps connect Pakistani students with UK universities and with employers in Pakistan. The Corporate Initiative attracted 17 Pakistani employers to careers fairs at UK universities in 2012 to recruit top talent for Pakistani jobs.  The UK alumni networks in Pakistan keep long-term links with graduates and make new connections.

Helping enterprising young people succeed

Pakistan wants to improve the employability of its young people.  The British Council Enterprise Awards develop the entrepreneurial skills of young people in Pakistan’s vocational sector, putting innovative ideas into action. The shortlisted teams get mentoring by Peter Jones Academy students and other UK-based enterprise academies.  Training material was created by Enterprise UK.

To increase relevance, UK expertise assisted the formation of new industry advisory groups (IAG) in Pakistan, similar to the UK Sector Skills Councils. The Pakistan National Vocational & Technical Training Commission has now expanded these to more industry sectors. The British Council hosted the first ever international conference on Employer Engagement and Entrepreneurship for the TVET Sector in Pakistan, this year.  The British Council has invested in 5 college-to-college capacity building partnerships between Pakistan and the UK, resulting in 55 new TVET modules and 40 exchanges.

Looking ahead

The IAG’s have created 23 trade standards, an aim of which is raising the quality and relevance of vocational training for young Pakistanis. The longer term aim here is to provide support and skills for the future workforce of Pakistan, to enable them to compete globally.
  ##Bringing our cultural institutions together

New partnerships between cultural institutions are being formed, including with the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Looking ahead

The Edinburgh Culture Summit will be attended by Ministers for culture from more than 30 countries, following their attendance at the 2012 Olympics. The summit’s objective is to use ‘culture as an international dialogue’. Pakistan intends to attend the summit.

Celebrating our cultures

The UK has been celebrating traditional Pakistani truck art.  Students in Luton were able to learn from Pakistani artists to paint a truck which has been on tour around the UK.  National College of Art Students in Pakistan painted their school bus to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The British Council facilitated Pakistan school pupils and artists at the Alchemy Festival of UK and South Asian cultures in the South Bank, London in 2012.

Looking ahead

Pakistan will be represented in the UK Cultural Olympiad.  Lahore-based Wallay Theatre is bringing an Urdu production of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew to London’s Globe Theatre in May 2012.  On the same weekend, London will welcome Pakistan’s top fashion designers for Pakistan Fashion Week.

Published 10 May 2012