The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Information Technology giant Microsoft have collaborated to launch the Imagine Cup 2019. A ceremony in this regard was held at the Commission Secretariat on Tuesday.

Imagine Cup is among Microsoft’s various efforts to transform skill development, nurture budding technologists and foster collaborative and innovative spirit. The global technology competition boasts several success stories emerging from the competition and is an enticing platform to innovate, get recognised and eventually get enabled to bring about a positive change.

HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri was the chief guest at the occasion, which was also attended by HEC Executive Director Lt Gen (R) Muhammad Asghar, Microsoft Country Manager Abid Zaidi, a number of vice chancellors, faculty members and students.

During the ceremony, the HEC also signed a memorandum of understanding with five universities for collaboration in functioning of HEC EduTV. The signees included Lahore Garrison College, Riphah International University, Islamabad, Shaheed Zulfiqat Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Sindh Madrasatul Islam, Karachi, and University of Gujrat.

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup has for years fostered innovation among students and enabled them to transform their ambitions into reality. The winning team will represent Pakistan at the upcoming worldwide finals and compete for prize of $100,000.

During the ceremony, Dr Banuri said imagination was the real essence of education as well as human life and spirit. “Imagination enables the mankind to design other possible worlds. Imagination is not about technology, but it is all about the human beings.” He stressed that imagination and curiosity played a vital role in solving problems and the development and use of technology was pivotal to materialising imaginations.

Banuri praised NUST SEECS (School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) who won the Imagine Cup 2018 national finals. He said the youth of Pakistan had great potential and imagination skills. “We need your brain power to solve our problems and transform the challenges facing our country into opportunities,” he emphasised.

Microsoft’s Abid Zaidi said the organization strived to bring the right set of tools and technology to students so that they could change the work for the better. He observed that Pakistani students were the agents of change and they needed the right set of tools to succeed. He stated that as a technology company, Microsoft wanted to empower students and enable them to shape the future.

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