In August 2013, forty students from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) completed six-week internships at various governmental and civil society organizations all over the United States through the USAID-funded Assessment and Strengthening Program (ASP). The program was created to encourage Pakistani students to pursue careers in the public sector and in NGOs. Jeffrey Bakken, USAID Deputy Mission Director in Pakistan, said that he hoped these internships would “motivate students to take up public sector jobs and help improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the sector.”
In 2011, USAID, in partnership with the government of Pakistan, organized a technology and cultural exchange program at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia for exceptionally gifted Pakistani youth. Before the Wakefield High School exchange program, the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program was established in 2002 to provide scholarships for Pakistani high school students, aged between 15-17 years, to spend up to one academic year in the U.S. This program allows Pakistani students to learn about American society, as well as to educate Americans about Pakistani culture.
These efforts are working against the trend of declining enrollment of students from Pakistan in American universities since 2001. According to IIE'S Open Doors Data, in 2002, 5,368 Pakistani students were enrolled in undergraduate programs in the U.S., while 2,961 Pakistani students were enrolled in graduate programs. In 2012; however, only 1,966 students were enrolled in undergraduate programs in the U.S., while 1,900 students were enrolled in graduate programs. In contrast, the number of U.S. students studying abroad in Pakistan, though small, is increasing. In 2002, nine American students studied in Pakistan. In 2011; however, 14 American students studied in Pakistan. The U.S. and Pakistan are working cooperatively to focus on improving the quality of education in Pakistan by providing training to teachers and school administrators, enhancing student enrollment, constructing and renovating schools, and promoting creativity among the youth through educational exchange programs. Pakistan’s constitution requires the government to provide education to youth without any cost to parents.
For more data on the U.S.-Pakistan student exchanges, visit Asia Matters for America data pages.