The inaugural task force meeting convened on August 10th at BUITEMS Video Conference Room. Notable attendees included representatives from Sardar Bahadur Khan University, BUITEMS, University of Balochistan’s Refugee Facilitation Center, UNHCR, Society Organization, Balochistan Education Foundation (BEF), HEC Quetta, and Afghan Refugee Students from BUITEMS and University of Balochistan.
The task force aims to enhance refugee students’ access to higher education in Balochistan by:
- Identifying challenges hindering refugee students’ tertiary education entry.
- Formulating an advocacy strategy to address obstacles and improve higher education accessibility.
- Establishing collaborations between public universities, UNHCR, ICRMS, HEC, CAR, and IBCC to bolster refugee students’ higher education access.
- Monitoring and evaluating task force-developed strategies and initiatives.
- Creating a comprehensive database for refugee youth tertiary enrollment.
- Contributing to national-level advocacy, with a focus on alleviating equivalency delays and documentation barriers.
Action Plan: To fulfill these objectives, the task force has outlined the following action points:
- Establish dedicated help desks in Balochistan universities during admission periods.
- Offer conditional admissions to refugees with HEC-issued NOCs until equivalence is obtained.
- Collaborate on combined outreach initiatives between Balochistan universities and refugee schools/camps.
- Provide foundational courses prior to the first semester.
- Develop a user-friendly dashboard for Afghan refugees to report challenges they encounter.
- Revise admissions forms for Balochistan universities to incorporate refugee-specific information.
- Enhance the Prime Minister’s laptop scholarship program for Proof of Registration (PoR) Card holders.
- Issue associate degrees to students discontinuing education due to various reasons.
- Expand participation to include additional Balochistan universities in subsequent Task Force Meetings.
In summary, the first session of the task force on promoting equitable higher education access for refugee students in Balochistan, held on August 10th, paved the way for strategic actions to overcome challenges and foster a conducive environment for refugees’ pursuit of higher education.