Improving graduate employability through



Advancing the capacity of Pakistan’s higher education institutions and systems to develop employable graduates.

Ultimately, the HESSA project aims to open doors to meaningful, well-matched student careers. HESSA seeks to enable and empower students to access and succeed in higher education--especially women and marginalized students--by building co-curricular programs that elevate student "power skills" and global competencies, creating strong student support networks that set them up for post-graduation success.
To that end, we will support Pakistan’s higher education institutions in achieving the following:
• Enhance financial aid systems at institutions.
• Improve skills and pathways to connect graduates to market-led, demand-driven employment and alumni engagement.
• Develop and implement a comprehensive entrepreneurship training, coaching, and mentoring program to support students.
• Engage alumni as critical stakeholders in the relationship between universities and industry. Alumni can both mentor students and help create talent pipelines for employers.
The HESSA team will also work with education leaders to enhance or offer new student life offerings to improve success and retention. Together, we will:
• Offer leadership training that is interactive, practical, and involves a service-learning component.
• Create comprehensive learning communities that make curriculum more coherent, cohesive, synergistic, and relevant to students interests and aspirations.
• Work with partner institutions to develop programs and services that create an inclusive and engaged on-campus community.

Student Affairs Services Needs Assessment Introduction The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) is a partnership between the Government of Pakistan and USAID to address key challenges in the higher education sector. HESSA seeks to increase the employability (capacity, relevance, adequacy, and inclusiveness) of the Pakistani workforce (university graduates) through the following interventions:
  1. Strengthen the institutional capacity and self-reliance of Pakistani HEIs through links to U.S. institutions of higher education
  2. Improve the access, quality, and relevance of higher education program (particularly for marginalized communities)
  3. Improve the skills and pathways to connect graduates to market-led, demand-driven employment (including self -employment and entrepreneurship and jobs).
To support those interventions, the program is built around the following technical areas of support:
  • Component A- Leadership, governance, and management challenges at HEI
  • Component B- Access, quality, and relevance of higher education programs, particularly for marginalized communities (Component B)
  • Component C- Improved pathways to connect graduates with market led, demand-driven jobs
This activity is designed to support Component C, which seeks to improve the soft skills development of students for better employability, improve student access to financial aid and scholarships and other on-campus engagement services, and enhance networks and community engagement with student development activities. The six thematic intervention areas for Component C include:
  1. Financial Aid
  2. Career Readiness
  3. Student Leadership & Co-Curricular
  4. Alumni Engagement & Development
  5. Student Entrepreneurship
  6. Mental Health
Purpose & Objectives Building on the baseline assessment conducted by the USAID HESSA project, the purpose of this activity is to develop a deep understanding of the current landscape of student affairs services at public sector HEIs in Pakistan along the component’s six thematic areas, as well as the needs of students in this respect. This assessment will provide a comprehensive situational analysis of this sector, identifying needs and gaps, and will be used to inform the development and implementation of Component C activities for the program. The findings from the deliverables developed under this activity will be integrated into the HESSA Student Support Services Annual Capacity Building and Knowledge-Sharing Summit in July 2022. Any new and important findings from this assessment will also be used to inform the broader HEI community in Pakistan. The objectives of this activity are as follows:
  1. Conduct a needs assessment of current student affairs services at HESSA partner HEIs, including an analysis of the inclusivity of services along themes of gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, minority status, geographic location, immigration status, and ethnicity.
  2. Identify student perspectives on existing needs, gaps, and successes in student affairs services at HESSA partner HEIs
  3. Develop a situational analysis of the broader student affairs sector at public HEIs across Pakistan
  4. Inform the development of Component C activities and serve as a tool to educate the Pakistani higher education community on the state of student affair services
The six thematic intervention areas of Component C and nominated staff is given below:
  1. Financial Aid
Nominated faculty/staff: Dr. Majid Khan, Director Admissions and Financial Aid
  1. Career Readiness
Nominated faculty/staff: Mr. Atta ur Rahman, Assistant Director, University Advance and Career Counseling Center
  1. Student Leadership & Co-Curriculars
Nominated faculty/staff: Dr. Hazir Rehman, Associate Professor of Microbiology
  1. Alumni Engagement & Development
Nominated faculty/staff: Mr. Shah Hussain, Deputy Director QEC
  1. Students Entrepreneurship
Nominated faculty/staff: Dr. Muhammad Jehangir, Director Business Incubation Center and Director, Institute of Business Studies and Leadership
  1. Mental Health. 
Nominated faculty/staff: Dr. Tahir Farid, Assistant Professor of Psychology Trainings/Workshop conducted:
  1. Student Support Services Annual Capacity Building & Knowledge-Sharing Summit
  • July 26-28, 2022
  • Pearl Continental (PC) Bhurban
  • Attended by : All six focal persons
  1. Financial Aid Training
  • November 1-4, 2022
  • Marriot Hotel, Islamabad
  • Attended by : Financial Aid Focal persons
  1. Student Microenterprise Development Study Tour & Training in Indonesia:
  • Nomination: Muhammad Jehangir, Director Institute of Business Studies & Leadership
  • February 19, 2023 to March 1, 2023
  1. USAID’s HESSA Student Support Services Summit
  • June 20-23 June, 2023
  • Pearl Continental (PC) Bhurban
  • Attended by : All six focal persons

USAID’s Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) aims to improve graduate employability through advancing Leadership, Governance, and Management at partner universities. The audience comprises of vice chancellors, rectors, pro-vice chancellors, deans, department heads, registrars, and directors/heads of partner universities