Microsoft and HEC collaborat to Empower Future Tech Leaders
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Microsoft and HEC collaborat to Empower Future Tech Leaders

Microsoft and HEC collaborat to Empower

In a move to enhance the synergy between academic institutions and industry, Microsoft Pakistan convened a distinguished gathering of leaders from both sectors at the event “Bridging the Academia-Industry Gap.” Held at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Headquarters Auditorium, the event focused on fostering collaboration and equipping graduates with the skills required to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving job market.

The event kicked off with a welcome address by Dr. Zia Ul-Qayyum, Executive Director of the HEC, followed by a keynote speech from Jaye Richards Hill, Microsoft’s Director of Education Industry for Central Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Hill emphasized the critical role of technology in bridging the gap between academia and industry, stating, “At Microsoft, we believe that technology can be a powerful bridge between academia and industry. By equipping students with the latest tools and technologies, and fostering collaboration with industry leaders, we can prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Microsoft’s Jibran Jamshad then highlighted the company’s latest AI offerings, drawing on insights from a recent World Talent Initiative survey. The survey showed a significant uptick in AI adoption, with 75% of knowledge workers now using AI tools in their daily tasks. Notably, 46% of these workers adopted AI tools in the past six months, illustrating the rapid acceleration of AI integration. While concerns about AI-induced job losses persist, the survey also identified a growing demand for skills in cybersecurity, engineering, and design. To address this, platforms like LinkedIn Learning are offering new AI skilling frameworks and over 50 free learning courses to help professionals stay competitive.

Innovation was a key theme of the event, exemplified by the showcase of projects by Team Sign Saathi, a group of students from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI) who reached the global semi-finals of the Imagine Cup. Their project, along with other top Imagine Cup initiatives, was presented to an audience of dignitaries, underscoring the creative potential of Pakistan’s youth.

The event also featured remarks from Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman of the HEC, and the Chief Guest, Mr. Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Youth Program. Mr. Rana Mashhood underscored the importance of technological proficiency for Pakistan’s youth, noting, “Equipping our graduates with the latest technological skills is paramount to ensuring their success in the competitive global landscape. Events like this pave the way for a more collaborative and future-proof education system. A big kudos to Microsoft for organizing these events.”

A significant highlight was the launch of Microsoft Copilot, Microsoft Learn for Educators, and Microsoft for Startups – Founders Hub, in the presence of esteemed Vice Chancellors from various Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This initiative signifies Microsoft’s commitment to supporting academic institutions in Pakistan and empowering the next generation of tech leaders.

The event concluded with a networking session, reinforcing the connections between academia and industry leaders and setting the stage for future collaboration.

Related: HEC Launches Pre-Service Faculty Training Programme in Peshawar

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