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Ahsan Iqbal asks engineering universities to reform curriculum as per market demand, global competitiveness

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Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives (MoPD&SI) Prof Ahsan Iqbal urged the Vice-Chancellors of Pakistan’s engineering universities to reform their curriculum keeping in view the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution and the market demands of the country.

Minister made these remarks while chairing a meeting with Vice-Chancellors of the country’s engineering universities, representatives of the engineering industry, the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) and the Institution of Engineers Pakistan (IEP). The meeting aimed at formulating a comprehensive plan of action to review the curriculum of engineering universities and modernizing teaching methodology bringing our engineering education on the path with the global competition, and establishing the linkages between industry and university.

Mere degree-based education doesn’t mean anything but it’s the skill set and the skill-based education, our universities impart to the students.  Today’s world values skilled human resources more than mere armchair scientists or degree holders, hence, it’s imperative especially for the engineering universities to equip students with modern-day technology and accustom them with the technical knowledge and skills”, maintained the Planning Minister.

We need to break “ego-systems” and instead create “eco-systems” of innovation in our universities, remarked the Minister. It was decided that a task Force comprised a representation of the VCs of the engineering universities, officials from the HEC, PEC, IEP and the engineering industry. The Task Force after its thorough review and expert-level extensive deliberations would give its recommendation and overall implementation strategy to modernize engineering education in Pakistan.

It is noted that since the government came into power in April last year, the Planning Minister has been conducting such reviews and reassuring his resolve to keep higher education as one of the top priorities.

The federal government since it assumed last year had been funding the HEC and the universities for the improvement of higher education programs and upgrading the education and the infrastructure of the public sector universities despite the acute financial crunch. In this regard, the Ministry has recently approved a project worth Rs 650 billion to equip laboratories of engineering universities with state-of-the-art apparatus as well as to improvise

During a long session with the stakeholders, the Minister said that in the future funding of engineering, universities would be done based on their research quality and their overall performance.

While highlighting the significance of laboratories in varsities, the Minister added, “survival of the nations will depend on their capacity in classrooms and laboratories, hence, the Vice-Chancellors have to work hard to make their universities a global brand for the education of and academics in engineering. The minister reiterated to continue the provision of all necessary resources to higher education especially in the field of engineering and technology despite all challenges.

Related: Ahsan Iqbal visits St John’s Innovation Centre at Cambridge

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