President Dr Arif Alvi has emphasised upon the need to accelerate efforts to adopt new technologies in every field of life, while addressing the closing ceremony of HEC-Huawei ICT Skill Competition 2018-19 held here at HEC Secretariat on Friday. The ceremony marked the announcement of winners who will compete in the Global Final to be held in China the coming month.Congratulating the Higher Education Commission and Huawei for successfully conducting this ICT competition for students, he said there was a huge potential of exports and employment generation in Pakistan’s IT and Telecom industry, adding that this actually holded the key for any country’s development. “Such competitions will prepare our younger generation to effectively contribute for country’s socio-economic development,” he added.
Huawei ICT Competition Pakistan 2018-19 was launched in September last year. Roadshow and workshops were held in 53 universities and academic institutions across Pakistan. More than 5000 students attended the examination conducted on Huawei’s learning platform. Top 300 students were invited to attend the second round, of which 171 students passed HCNA Certification.
The top 100 students took part in the National Final and the most competitive top six students were selected for the Middle East International Final in China. In May 2019, the top three students Zohaib Anwar, Jawaria Abbas and Asim Fareed shall participate in the Huawei ICT Competition Global Final in China with other regional winners from all over the globe.
Speaking to the audience, the President stressed the need to realize the swiftly increasing scope of the information age, and implementation of right strategies to bring in relevant technologies in different fields. He gave various examples of education, health and agriculture sectors, and underscored the fact that a proactive approach is required to identify and incorporate IT solutions in every single field.
Dr Alvi also highlighted the role of the State to ensure that the younger generation was provided with every opportunity to unleash their talent and played an active part in this age of rapid transition and application of technologies. He narrated how he had been trying to bring in IT solutions for his political activities not only in his constituency but also in the election processes at the party as well as national levels.
He talked about the gaps in our university education and demand in different markets. “Though in some areas, we see a very relevant output of graduates but overall we have to make more concerted effort to ensure that a person graduating from a higher learning institution has the relevant and updated skills and knowledge. Relevant research is inevitable if Pakistan has to progress and stand tall in the comity of nations.”
The President mentioned how China had emerged as a global leader, particularly in the development and adoption of the latest technologies. He also acknowledged the tremendous achievements of Huawei in a short span of time.
Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood congratulated the students who won at the national level and wished them luck for the Global Final. He advised students to stay firm and committed in their efforts. “As our Prime Minister always says that if you don’t accept defeat, nobody can defeat you.”
The minister informed the audience that the Government was focusing on the areas where technology could help them leapfrog. “Efforts are afoot to link the skill development of our youth to the country’s future requirements, and to ensure that an environment is created where ideas can flourish. I appreciate HEC for taking a number of initiatives for this purpose. And I further assure that the Government’s full support is for innovation and technology,” he said.
Commending Huawei for its rapid progress in record time, he acknowledged how the company had invested in various technological projects for the youth of Pakistan. “There is no doubt that the friendship of China and Pakistan is deeper and stronger, which is clearly reflected in such joint initiatives in various fields.”
HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri thanked the president for taking out time for the event, and for his continuous support to the cause of education. Giving two examples from news stories that appeared on Friday, one related to the selection of five Pakistanis in Forbes’ 30 under 30 and the other about an attempt to build a small aircraft in Pakpattan, Dr Banuri highlighted Pakistan’s potential to grow, taking the upcoming technological challenges head-on. “The only thing we need to step up is to unleash this imagination and creativity of our people, particularly youth.”
The chairman emphasised that “technology is input in the development process, the real source is imagination. And I am pleased to say that HEC is trying to create an environment where our youth is enabled to do so.” He particularly mentioned Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN) which connected universities and research institutes at national as well as global levels, enabling them to keep pace with the world. Describing HEC-Huawei partnership, Dr Banuri said this collaboration will help in the development of ICT setups in Pakistan. He said Huawei had taken different ICT initiatives jointly with HEC.
In his remarks, China’s Ambassador Yao Jing said the global economy was dependent on the development of ICT, which was a pivotal element for the nation’s progress. He congratulated students who won the competition and wished them good luck for the final competition in China. He said Pakistan and China enjoyed cordial relations and the two countries were committed to working together to cope up with the future challenges.
Huawei Pakistan CEO Saif Chi said they would continue their work, as the digital and physical world were merging with emerging technologies that were now playing a greater part in our lives. “In order to welcome the arrival of the intelligent world, Huawei has always focused on R&D. In Pakistan, Huawei established its office in 1998. Since then it has been playing a vital role in making Pakistan go digital”, he said.