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February 19, 2020

Call for better academia-industry linkages

Islamabad

February 19, 2020

Islamabad : The two-day ‘7th Deans and Directors Conference, 2020,’ concluded here on Tuesday with experts calling for better linkages between academia and industry for the development of business education in the country.

The event was organised by the National Business Education Accreditation Council (NBEAC), Higher Education Commission, here at PAFSOM Arena in partnership with the Jang Media Group. It was attended by deans, directors, faculty members and representatives of the country’s leading business schools, and industrialists.

Higher Education Commission chairman Dr. Tariq Banuri talked about justice and said Caliph Hazrat Ali highlighted its importance saying the world could live without religion but it couldn’t live without justice.

He said justice was not a linear concept and it had many dimensions.

“The first dimension is justice in terms of equality, which means inclusivity. The people should not be denied certain things. The second dimension is justice in terms of quality. If something is in right place, then it’s justice and if it’s not, then it is against justice (Hazrat Ali). Our role is the promotion of justice in both dimensions. Justice as equality” is about making sure people have access,” he said.

The HEC chairman said inclusivity was the synonym of equality.

He said the statistics showed a really sad picture, which meant we need to make progress in our education field.

“We regress when it comes to justice. We need to see quality in the eye and we have to discuss at national level what is quality and how to achieve it,” he said.

Dr Tariq referred to the popular book “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’, which also focuses on the description of quality.

“When we change the world, the facts start to change. The thinking changes the world.” He appreciated the HEC, NBEAC and other entities for holding the conference. In the session on ‘the future of business education’, moderator Dr. Naveeda Kitchlew, associate dean of SBE at the University of Management Technology, Lahore, gave an introduction of business education in Pakistan and asked the speakers to share their view regarding ROIs in business education and its future.

Dr. Idrees Khawaja, Dean, Air University, Islamabad, talked about the differences that exist in theory and practice. He went on to address the issue of irrelevant curriculum that doesn’t go well with the market needs.

Syed Najmul Hussain, Council Member, ICAP, spoke about the structure of business education in Pakistan, and shared some root challenges in field like irrelevancy of curriculum with business practices of market.

Sajjeed Aslam, Head ACCA, Pakistan, said the curriculum relevance with the market requirements was the foremost challenge of the time. We can measure the quality of business education by checking output.

Professor of LUMS Jawad Syed said the future of business education depended on the quality that we give to our faculty members.

The speakers stressed on establishing linkages between academia and industry.

Dr. Nagina Gul of Management Sciences Department of the Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University, Quetta, believed the higher management and faculty members should work together to shape the future of business education.

Dr. Sajjeed said it was the responsibility of business schools to work towards the enhancement of business education because if the business education is weak, we cannot expect economy and industry to flourish.

The speakers stressed upon the promotion of entrepreneurship in Pakistan. They said business schools could play an indispensible role in this aspect and they could encourage students to bring innovative ideas for new businesses. In the session on ‘the impact of digital transformation at workplaces’, moderator Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO, Telenor Pakistan, talked about the importance of technology in achieving sustainable goals.

He said young generation making a significant portion of population had great potential to utilize technology for development.

Dr. Shaukat Brah, founder rector of KSBL said technology was important in building networking and communication.

He said research development highly relied on technology. “Digital transformation can provide us more interactive platforms. We can also address various challenges by improving technological grounds.”

Dr. Muhammad Laeeq ur Rehman Khan, Associate Professor, Digital Marketing, NUST, Islamabad shared his views on the impact of digital transformation. He believed we need to start at the micro-level. He believes digital media literacy can help to transform economy.

“We need to adapt new media technologies to compete at global level. He also talked about data science and analytics.”

He said data was the oil for business education and industry development.

“Problem solving, creativity and innovation are required to deal with big data that can ultimately help us find unique business opportunities. With research, we can enhance the quality of business education and industry,” he said. Ali Sarfaraz, CEO, Karandaaz Pakistan, believed data should be accessible so that businesses and researchers can make the most out of it. Panelists agreed that we need to provide enabling environment for new businesses and entrepreneurs.

Dr. Shaukat further added it is okay to be a follower when it comes to learning from developed nations.

“We need to set reference points where we enable the students to face and overcome the challenges in business.” The panelists had consensus that students are more aware and have better communication skills due to digital revolution but we still need to inculcate leadership skills and creativity.

NBEAC vice-chairman Dr Naukhez Sarwar appreciated the efforts of education sector and industry.

“It is not a simple task to enhance inclusivity without compromising the quality. Private and public, rural and urban schools somehow share the similar challenges. We need to focus more on the excellence of academia. We need to appreciate people and stakeholders who are engaging in this endeavour,” he said. Chairman of the NBEAC Dr Farrukh Iqbal appreciated universities, enterprises who helped in the entire process of the conference.