KARACHI - US Consul General in Karachi, Stephens Fakan on Thursday honoured 52 Pakistani high school students selected to go to Washington DC for a two-week science and technology exchange programme. The students, including 26 girls and 26 boys, are making the trip as part of the links to learning (ED-Links) programme, supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) I know your parents and teachers are proud of your selection for this programme, Consul General Fakan told the students. You are going to have once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience American life first hand, while also learning more about the latest information technology. Each year, ED-Links sends selected Pakistani students and teachers to the US for a short training and cultural exchange programme. USAIDs ED-Links programme aims to improve the quality of education in middle and secondary schools in selected districts of Sindh and Balochistan, Islamabad Capital Territory (lCT) and other areas. Last year 26 students were sent to the US from ICT in the first cohort. This years group comprised students from Sindh and Balochistan. ED-Links Student Exchange Programme will teach the students about web development, digital photography and video production. The programme also aims to develop the students teamwork, leadership skills and cultural understanding. This programme will open new doors of opportunity, cross-cultural understanding, and learning for each of you, said Stephen Fakan. 1 know that you will be proud and effective representatives of Pakistan, and that you will form rewarding friendships with the American students and teachers you meet. USAIDs $90 million ED-Links programme increases teachers professional development and improves student learning. The ED-Links programme works in close collaboration with the Pakistani Ministry of Education. Since 2002, the US government through USAID has provided more than $3.4 billion to Pakistan to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance and to assist with earthquake reconstruction, it was pointed out.