The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan and Microsoft signed the Education Transformation Agreement (ETA) in Pakistan with the announcement of the Imagine Cup Initiative and 100,000+ free Technology certifications for university students across Pakistan. Microsoft and HEC collaboration reimagines the education landscape, empowers the next generation of students and bridges the gap between knowledge and employability.

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) Rana Tanveer Hussain was chief guest on the occasion. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Ms Shaza Fatima, Chairman HEC Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Jibran Jamshed, Microsoft Country Lead, Executive Director HEC Dr Shaista Sohail, Vice-Chancellors, faculty and students attended the ceremony. Moreover, hundreds of students and faculty members attended the ceremony from their universities through online mode.

The goal of this academic alliance is to train our young generation in cutting-edge technologies including, but not limited to, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, Business Applications, Office Automation / Productivity tools, etc. Microsoft will provide several services to all Higher Education Institutions in leveraging new technologies to make learning inclusive, personalized, and student-centric through knowledge transfer workshops and training on trending Microsoft technologies.

The event also included the announcement of the launch of this year’s highly acclaimed Imagine Cup Initiative in Pakistan. All students under the HEC’s umbrella have been offered to register at https://imaginecup.com/Pakistan and submit their novel tech ideas to avail the chance to win USD 100,000, and a global trophy along with a mentoring session with Microsoft’s CEO himself.

Speaking on the occasion, Rana Tanveer said that “Such partnerships with companies like Microsoft empower the students to use their creativity in addressing real societal problems using Modern Technology and help us bring them at par with the rest of the world. The future of our economy does not lie in just plans and politics; it lies in the hands of a well-educated and prepared workforce.”

SAPM on Youth Affairs Shaza Fatima said that “68% of our population is young and it can either be an asset or a challenge depending on how well we prepare them for the future. With partnerships like this, I appreciate HEC for taking great measures to ensure our youth turns out to be an asset for the country.”

Chairman HEC Pakistan Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said, “Microsoft has been very helpful in nurturing creative minds through its Global Competition of Imagine Cup where the participants practically implement their ideas into successful startups and turn it into companies. It is a proud moment for HEC that our talent gets the exposure at such Global platforms. Our students do not only get the opportunity to present their ideas at an international level, but they have successfully brought laurels for Pakistan as well”.

Jibran Jamshed, Microsoft Country Lead “Today technology is the key to fuel economic development, increase workforce competitiveness, transition to a knowledge-based economy and help drive job creation. The single most important use of technology is to improve education and yet in many countries in the world we have not yet seen digital transformation in education. We are proud to partner with HEC who share the same vision and understand how critical it is to pace up with the Digital Transformation of Education happening across the globe.

Related: MoFEPT appreciates HEC performance, ensures support

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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