Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should focus on research, application of technology, and strengthening industry-academia linkages to bridge the industry-academia gap. This was said by Secretary HED Mr Najaf Iqbal while addressing, as chief guest, on the occasion of the launching of the Engineering Capstone Expo (ECE-2022) at the University of the Punjab, Lahore.
The ceremony that was organized by Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) was attended by Chairman Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Prof Dr Shahid Munir, Vice Chairman PEC, and former Vice-Chancellor University of Punjab Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar, Vice-Chancellor University of the Punjab Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar, Vice-Chancellor Punjab Tianjin University of Technology (PTUT) Prof Dr Abdul Sattar Shakir, Chairman Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) Mr. Abdur Razzaq Gauhar, Chief organizer of CEC-2022 Punjab chapter Dr Mansoor Ahmad Baluch, Convener of PEC Pakistan Development Committee Engr Mir Masood Rashid, governing body members of PEC, and the organizing committee members attended the ceremony.
Addressing this occasion, Secretary HED Mr. Najaf Iqbal said that Pakistan was having the best brains but, unfortunately, lacked proper trajectory. Due to the limited opportunities and incongruence of our degrees with the industrial needs, our graduates were either unaware of the modern industrial problems and their solutions or find few chances to prove their potential. There was a need to patronize their talent and provide them opportunities to showcase it to the industry. This Expo would catch the attention of the local industry and would provide an opportunity to see the potential of our students and help bridge the widening gap between industry and academia.
He further said that it was encouraging that our academia had realized the dilemma and was committed to mending the fissures between academia and industry. Higher education regulatory and accreditation bodies were also working in tandem for skills development and encouraging industry-academia linkages. He stressed that the graduating engineering students needed to seek the guidance of their seniors already working in the industry to get the problems and demands of the industry.
On this occasion, the guest of honor, Chairman PHEC Prof Dr Shahid Munir emphasized the practical exposure of the students along with theoretical knowledge. “Practical exposure should be made part of the engineering curriculum. We need to focus on the applied aspects of the profession” he added. PHEC is soon going to initiate an indigenous fellowship in applied subjects.
He stressed that we were facing a new kind of challenge, “Novel challenges require smart solutions; societal problems cannot be handled without integrating technology. Engineering Capstone EXPO has provided students and faculty members a platform to offer tech-driven solutions to the societal and industrial problems” he added.
Vice-Chairman PEC Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar, while addressing this occasion said that PEC, to support graduate students in their early career and job hunting, has announced a bursary of Rs. 40000/- for the first six months after getting a degree. He further said that PEC has decided to make the engineering entry test mandatory across Punjab to get admission into public or private universities.
Dr Niaz further said that the PEC, through its arduous efforts recognized the Pakistani engineering degrees for Washington Accord. “Now Pakistan is among the 20 nations whose engineering degrees are accepted all over the globe. He pledged every support of PEC to the HEIs in improving the quality of engineering education in Pakistan.
Engr Mir Masood Rashid also addressed the event, saying that the Engineering Capstone EXPO competition would also provide a platform to the participating students and higher education institutions for commercialization of their research technologies/productivity not only locally but also internationally. He added that it would encourage the youth with entrepreneurial minds to jump into new start-ups and join the emerging freelance global market.
Chairman Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) Mr Abdur Razzaq Gauhar also assured his fullest support to the HEIs in the form of internships, scholarships and industrial exposure to the students.
Dr Saleem Mazhar, Vice-Chancellor PU lauded the effort of PEC and stressed on equal focus on social sciences for the engineers.
Engineering Capstone Expo (ECE-2022) is a series of competitions, organized by the Pakistan Engineering Council, among the engineering students of public and private sector universities across Pakistan to showcase their research skills, technologies, and Final Year Design Projects (FYDPs) focusing on industrial solutions and societal problems.
More than 5000 thousand students would participate in these competitions organized at each of the four provincial capitals and federal capital. The winners of the competitions would be recognized with rewards and certificates both from the PEC as well as the industry.