Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) have signed a wide-ranging MoU to strengthen industry-academia collaboration geared towards skill development, job placement, industry-driven curriculum, and research.

While Pakistan has over 300,000 IT professionals and its universities are producing over 25,000 IT graduates annually, the industry struggles to recruit skilled graduates as IT companies hire only 10% of the applicants. The partnership with LUMS is a major step in addressing this gap through reskilling and upskilling initiatives by relevant stakeholders.

The signing ceremony was attended by Dr. Arsalan Khalid, Provincial Minister for IT, Punjab, who expressed his enthusiasm to support this initiative. He outlined the Punjab government’s vision for IT to create a government-industry-academic framework for revamping skills-based criteria that graduates can bring to Pakistan’s growing market.

Dr Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, LUMS, said this partnership could provide an excellent collaborative model of curriculum development that will eventually position the IT industry to compete regionally and beyond. He said, “It is time to lay the foundation for one of Pakistan’s growth sectors that will have a huge impact in opening doors for our youth who are keen to participate”.

Badar Khushnood, Chairman of P@SHA, echoed the need for stronger linkages and a robust human resource development ecosystem in the country. He said, “This partnership will ensure innovative, market-oriented, evolving and internationally aligned IT skills development and training programs that can support diverse capabilities and business verticals including finance and banking, e-commerce, retail and distribution, healthcare services, agriculture, food processing, learning technologies, and large-scale manufacturing”.

This collaboration will usher activities, including seminars, training workshops, exhibitions, conferences, trade fairs, placement, and internships. Pakistan’s IT industry can position itself as a major driver of economic growth, having achieved $2.62 billion in exports over the last year. According to one source, digital transformation could add over $59.7 billion in annual economic value by 2030, equivalent to almost 19% of the country’s GDP.

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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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