Pakistan Part II: Foreign Faculty Hiring Program (The Brain Gain Initiative)

Written by: Muhammed Adnan Mughul, HEEM student
Foreign Faculty Hiring Program (FFHP) is one such unique scheme, to recruit highly qualified educators and researchers from abroad, which occupies centre stage in the HEC’s vast range of activities. This program proceeds on the premise that foreign faculty is a repository of “wealth of knowledge and research experience”.
Foreign Faculty Hiring Program cartoon.
FFHP was officially launched in October 2003 to attract foreign experts as well as expatriate Pakistani professors from all over the world with the aim to reverse the brain drain. The goal of this program is to hire approximately 1500 foreign professors, associate and assistant professors within the period of 5 years, 300 faculty members per annum, in the fields of natural and social sciences, to support currently under-supervised graduate students and to fill, what the HEC describes as, the “vast gap of qualified research academics and PhD supervisors in the higher education sector.” According to HEC, through FFHP, it aspires to bring a positive change in the culture of higher education institutions in all domains of academic activities including development of infrastructure, academic standards, curriculum, knowledge dissemination through refined teaching / examination / grading methodologies, industry-academia linkage, international collaborative research and fine supervisory acumen which would result in creation of knowledge.

To attract the best talent back to Pakistan, HEC is offering very lucrative package of incentives in the form of salary (upto US$4300 p/m), housing, return airfare, research funding (upto US$600,000 per international linkage program), excellent institutional facilities and 75% reduction of income tax for all academics. Under FFHP, so far 463 foreign professors have been selected from different countries out of which 228 have joined different universities and research institutions in Pakistan whereas 155 professors are yet to join while 80 members had given their regrets due to some reasons.
According to the HEC, 32% of the professors are from the North American region, 35% from European countries, 7% from Central Asia, 6% from the Australian region, 7% from Far East, 12% from Middle East and 2% of them are from South Asia. During the few years that the foreign faculty hiring program has been in operation, this scheme has helped made a positive impact on reversing Pakistan’s brain drain. Foreign faculty members are serving, in almost all the universities across the country, together with the local faculty for the uplift and development of the Higher Education sector in Pakistan.