COVID19 Impact: Declining Enrollment of Pakistani Students in US, China

Pakistan, the world's sixth most populous nation, ranked 18th in the number of students studying in the United States. Pakistani students enrolled in the US fell by 5.8% to 7,475 in 2020-21, significantly less than the 15% drop in international student enrollment. However, number of Pakistanis studying in the US in 2020-21 was even less than students from much smaller nations like Nepal which ranked 12th. Overall, COVID19 travel restrictions brought down the total number of foreign students enrolled in American educational institutions dropped to less than one million in 2020-21, the lowest figure since 2015-16.  

Pakistani Students in the US. Source: OpenDoors

China maintained its top position among the leading places of origin for international students, with 35% of all international students in the 2020-21 school year hailing from the country, according to the data released by the United States government.  The second most common place of origin was India (18%), followed by South Korea (4%) and Canada (3%). Some of these countries also experienced the largest year-over-year declines in the number of students who enrolled at US institutions. The largest such percentage decreases occurred in South Korea (-21%), China (-15%) and India (-13%).

Foreign Students Studying in US. Source: OpenDoors

The number of students in China, the top destination for Pakistani students, was also heavily impacted by COVID travel bans. Some 28,000 Pakistani students are affected by China’s tough border closures and are studying from home. Studying in China has only been possible for South Korean students who were granted an exemption in July 2020, according to reports.  

Pakistani Students in the US. Source: OpenDoors

During his recent visit to Beijing, Prime Minister Imran Khan brought up the issues faced by Pakistani students in resuming education in China. A joint statement issued by Chinese and Pakistani sides mentioned it thus: "Pakistan side highlighted that China has become a popular education destination. While ensuring safety against COVID-19, China will arrange for Pakistani students to return to China and resume classes in a prudent manner". 


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Riaz Haq said…
U (University of Utah) team travels to Pakistan to launch $19 million USAID initiative

https://attheu.utah.edu/facultystaff/u-team-travels-to-pakistan-to-launch-19-million-usaid-initiative/


University of Utah officials recently traveled to Islamabad, Pakistan to hold the first Stakeholders Meeting of the new Higher Education Systems Strengthening Activity (HESSA)—a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)—funded initiative aimed at enriching the country’s higher education system. A 5-year, $19 million grant was awarded to the U and partners by USAID to provide technical assistance for the project. Representatives from the U’s Office for Global Engagement, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and College of Education are leading the initiative. Other U.S. project partners include the University of Alabama and the Institute of International Education.

These U.S. institutions will work closely with Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC). Together, they will provide training aimed at bolstering the administrative systems, curriculum and student life supports that will ultimately help students meet the needs of the contemporary workplace.

HESSA-trained member institutions will then promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education and strengthen the contributions of research universities to the country’s economy. “This important strategic initiative will increase access to and improve the quality of our higher education institutions in Pakistan,” said HESSA Chief of Party Aslam Chaudhry.

“The University of Utah is a global university with engagement in over 200 countries. This USAID grant builds on our existing relationships in Pakistan and will allow us to grow opportunities for Pakistani students and our educators,” said Taylor Randall, president of the University of Utah. “We look forward to working with our U.S. partners and Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission to strengthen Pakistan’s educational infrastructure and achieve its goal to provide students an excellent academic experience.”

The U has remained involved in Pakistan’s higher education development since the 2014 launch of the U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water—also a USAID-funded initiative, aimed at helping to train the next generation of the country’s water engineers. The reputation garnered during that project led to additional educational initiatives and capacity-building partnerships throughout the country.

“Expanding upon our long-standing higher education partnerships in Pakistan is an exciting endeavor that will foster the definition of academic rigor in the region,” said Michael Barber, chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and principal investigator, HESSA Project. “Our team enjoys exchanging knowledge and ideas to help international higher education institutions meet their evolving needs. In doing so, we learn so much about global challenges and opportunities that we can then bring back to Utah to share with our colleagues and students.”

The University of Utah is fast becoming known for international thought-leadership and the HESSA project is a continuation of that work. “Projects of this caliber make me very excited to be stepping into the role of Chief Global Officer at this time,” said Brian Gibson, who recently joined the U’s Office for Global Engagement. “We look forward to helping USAID deliver on its international development mission on behalf of the American people.”

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