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May 10, 2014 11:30 AM EDT

Louisville University to Offer Master’s Degree in Pakistan, Beginning Fall

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The University of Louisville's School of Public Health and Information Sciences is expanding its presence and offering a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Lahore, Pakistan, beginning fall.

The program will allow students to earn a MPH degree from a prominent U.S. institution without leaving the country.

"Pakistan has faced natural disasters the last few years and continues to struggle with high infant and maternal mortality rates, poor water quality and other environmental exposures," Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH, dean School of Public Health and Information Sciences, said in a statement.

SPHIS will partner with the NUR Foundation (NUR), a private charitable organization and Fatima Memorial System (FMS) a non-profit, non-governmental organization that comprises of a hospital and colleges of medicine, dentistry and nursing. The foundation will take care of the faculty salaries and fees for establishing and managing the program. State funding will not be used in the venture.

Initially, the Master of Public Health will have 60 students and will be offered in two areas: Biostatistics and Epidemiology. The structure of the curriculum will be similar to that of Louisville, where full-time students need to acquire 48 credit hours within a two-year period.

If the partnership proves to be successful, the master's program will be followed by a doctorate degree program in five years,Bizjournals reports.

In this war-torn country, bombing of hundreds of schools, presence of drones and regular curfews that keeps teachers away from classrooms has made it increasingly difficult for youngsters to receive basic education.

Masood Bangash, a senior government official for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas said, long-lasting insurgency "won't really permit" the sustenance of any educational system, especially in the tribal belt. "I would blame both the government and the Taliban for that," Washington Post reports.

As a result, increasing number of foreign collaborations have been observed in the last few years.

The Allama Iqbal Open University launched a three year partnership with San Jose State University in 2013 to increase access to online learning across Pakistan. "Online learning would open university doors to thousands of Pakistanis," U.S. Embassy public affairs officer, Kathryn Schalow, said, Pakistan Today reports.

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