Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) organized All Punjab Universities Innovation Expo 2022. As many as 259 projects from 37 public and private sector universities across Punjab were put on display. The projects were placed in eight categories encompassing social sciences, business, economics, engineering, technology, emerging sciences, computer and information technology, agriculture, health, and medicine.

The opening ceremony was attended by Chairperson PHEC Dr Shahid Munir, the Secretary Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab Mr Ahmad Raza Sarwar, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce (LCCI) Kashif Anwar, Chairman Chief Minster Task Force on Higher Education Mian Imran Masood, Chief Advisor on Research and Academic Excellence UMT Dr Mujahid Kamran, former chairperson PHEC Dr Nizamuddin, and Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid, faculty members and students.

While addressing on occasion, Chairperson PHEC Dr Shahid Munir said that Pakistan is a country with 54 percent of its population under 30. Our youth is blessed with huge potential; we need to tap into their creativity. Industry experts need to be included on the boards of studies of our universities to design our curriculum congruent with the needs of the local market. This will minimize the gap between industry and academia.

He said that the World Economic Forum had listed the future trends for socio-economic development, innovation, technology, and digitalization were top amongst those. “It is high time to integrate these trends into our curriculum to produce a skilled human resource that enables us to match the pace of global economic development” he stressed.

Chairperson PHEC further said that the All-Punjab Universities Innovation Expo 2022 provided an opportunity for universities to showcase the talent, innovations, and research productivity of their students and faculty and get their potential harnessed” he contended. He maintained that the one-page synopsis of the displayed projects in the expo would be shared with the local industry to boost the commercialization potential.

He further said that the PHEC was making the exhibitions of research projects a permanent feature of its activity calendar.  He elaborated that initially, PHEC received more than 700 entries from universities; however, 259 quality projects were shortlisted for the expo. “This is a joint effort by PHEC and the universities, we want the industry to be a part of it. We are determined to increase the projects up to 500 for the next year” he added.

Addressing this occasion, the Secretary HED Punjab Mr Ahmad Raza Sarwar emphasized improving the quality of higher education saying that universities were not meant for jobs, but rather for knowledge creation. “Universities need to ease the creation of knowledge through emphasizing attainment of core technical skills and cultivating opportunities for students to express their ideas”

Chairman Chief Minister’s Task Force on Higher Education Mian Imran Masood, former chairperson Dr Nizamuddin, and Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid also expressed their thoughts on higher education. Besides this, on the sidelines of the expo, seminars on higher education and innovation were also organized on the sidelines where the speakers emphasized the exigency of serious steps towards improving the standards of higher education and tendered their suggestions.

Later the best two projects in each of the eight categories were awarded a cash prize of one lac rupees and fifty thousand rupees, respectively.

Related: PHEC celebrates THE Rankings achievement of universities

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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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