Islamabad:June 05:As many as 55 young professionals from all over Pakistan, most of them from under-served areas, will be departing for a year of education at various community colleges in the US.
They are the recipients of Community College Initiative Programme (CCIP) grants awarded through the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) with the support of the US Department of State. A pre-departure orientation for the grantees was held at a local hotel in which they were briefed on academic and social life in the US.
Mitchell Moss, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, was chief guest. The grantees will be attending American community colleges on non-degree certificate programmes. Most participants have two-year Bachelors’ degrees as well as two years of work experience. The CCI Programme, fully funded by the US government, enables professionals to learn the best practices in their fields globally. Eligible fields for the 2012 programme included agriculture, applied engineering, business management and administration, media and tourism and hospitality management and health technology.
The CCI scholarship is announced once a year and funds travel, a living stipend, health insurance, and tuition fees for the entire period of study. In the past four years, 213 Pakistanis have already participated in this programme.
American community colleges are a unique and extremely successful model of higher educational institutions. They operate under a policy of “open admission” so that anyone with a high school diploma may attend, regardless of prior academic status or college entrance exam scores. However, students have to take assessment tests before enrolling. They offer two-year degree or certificate programmes often linked to local economic needs. As well as offering vocational tracks, academic credits gained in the community colleges can generally transfer towards a four-year college degree in even the most prestigious of American universities. “The programme is unique,” explained Rita Akhtar, Executive Director, USEFP. “It provides non-degree professionals with the international education and exposure to the United States. Bachelors and Masters degree holders in Pakistan have a variety of opportunities open to them; people with two-year degrees seldom do. Most of these grantees are very talented but lack a regular degree. This programme also allows us to give opportunities to more people from under-served and remote areas. It is a real privilege to be involved in making peoples’ dreams happen.Daily Times.