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June 22, 2019

Industry-academia linkages stressed


June 22, 2019

Islamabad: FAST-NU, Islamabad, director Dr Waseem Ikram has called for better industry-academia linkages believing it promises better knowledge spill-overs and economic activity in the country.

“The industries bring problems to the universities, which come up with their innovative solutions through research, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case in Pakistan, by and large. Pakistani industrial units, mostly working in the manufacturing sector, lack innovation and quality to compete with competitors internationally. This problem can be addressed if the universities and industry engage with each other to meet own needs. A strong innovation system is imperative for increasing knowledge spill-overs and economic activity in the country,” he told ‘The News’ in an interview ahead of the Jang Education Expo 2019.

The FAST-NU director said though he didn’t agree with the notion that the PhDs produced by Pakistani universities were of no use, he still saw room for improvement in the doctorate programmes.

He also stressed the need for engaging universities to find solutions to the issues and challenges facing local industries. “The finding of solutions in this way may take time but we have to start it somewhere,” he said.

Dr Waseem said though the recent massive cut to the Higher Education Commission budget didn’t affect private universities as they weren’t funded by the regulator, he as an educationist felt that the unavailability of fewer funds for public sector varsities would adversely impact on the cause of education in the country. He said the opening of more and more private universities had created competition in the education sector and thus, improving academic standards and learning environment.

The FAST-NU director said his university had won a reputation for quality education and rule of merit. “We believe in the provision of quality education, so not only we offer a select few degree courses in computer science, electrical engineering, civil engineering, business administration, accounts and finance, and mathematics but we ensure quality assurance without compromise as well. Also, you won’t find expedited courses here. Strict adherence to the principle of merit is another hallmark of our university. We offer admissions in light of the applicants’ performance in board exams and our test. There is absolutely no compromise on merit,” he said. Dr Waseem said after the success of the current courses, the university had planned to begin some new in-demand programmes, including post-graduation in Mathematics and under-graduation in Computer Science’s artificial intelligence and cyber security disciplines.

“Basically, we offer programmes that are most in demand so that our students avail themselves of the relevant livelihood opportunities after graduation to become a productive part of society,” he said. The FAST-NU director said most FAST-NU graduates worked in key organisations across the country, while many were settled in western countries with jobs in Microsoft Corporation, Oracle, NCR, LMKR and IBM, Facebook, Google, and other technology and business companies doing the university proud.

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