Over A Million Pakistani University Students Enrolled in STEM Fields

Over a million students, about a third of total 3 million students (1.4 million women, 1.6 million men) enrolled in Pakistani universities and degree colleges, are currently studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM Education), according to data released by the country's Higher Education Commission (HEC). Of these students, 415,008 are studying natural sciences and mathematics, 276,659 are in information and communication technologies (ICT), 178,260 are in health sciences and 166,457 are in engineering. Pakistan produced 157,102 STEM graduates last year, putting it among the world's top dozen or so countries. About 43,000 of these graduates are in information technology (IT).  

Student Enrollment By Field of Study at Pakistani Higher Education ...

Nearly half a million Pakistani women are currently enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses at universities, accounting for nearly 46% of all STEM students in higher education institutions in the country. 

Clockwise From Top Left: Nergis Mavalvala, Maria Abrar, Maheen Adamson, Tasneem Zehra Husain, Sundas Khalid, Asifa Akhtar

Acceptance rate in Pakistani universities and degree colleges was just 13.5% last year. Only 541,043 students were accepted from 4,085,185 students who applied. The country produced 471,306 university graduates in 2020-21. Of these, 157,102 were in STEM fields, including 43,000 graduates in information technology (IT). 

Pakistan Higher Education Admission and Graduation Statistics. Sour...

In absolute terms, Pakistan probably ranks among the top dozen or so nations producing university graduates in STEM and IT fields. However, the country lags significantly behind its lower middle income peers in terms of percentage of students enrolled in universities. Only 12% of young people in the 18-25 age group are currently enrolled in higher education institutions. This is about half of the 25% average for South Asia. The data from the World Bank shows that the higher education enrollment rate was extremely low in Pakistan until 2000 when late President Musharraf decided to significantly boost investment in building universities and hire faculty to rapidly increase access to higher education in the country. 

Tertiary Education Enrollment Rates. Source: World Bank

As Pakistan struggles with multiple serious crises,  these young men and women now studying in the nation's universities and colleges offer hope for its bright future. In fact, the vast majority of Pakistanis feel that they have better lives than their parents did, and they think their children will have even better lives than theirs, according to a Gallup International Poll of 64 countries conducted from August to October last year. The poll asked two questions: 1) Do you feel your life is better, worse or roughly similar to that  of your parents? and 2) Do you think your children will have a better, worse or roughly the same life as you? The answers to these questions reveal that Pakistanis are among the top 5 most positive nations among 64 countries polled by Gallup International. Anecdotal evidence in terms of packed shopping malls and restaurants in Pakistan's major cities confirms it. Such positivity augurs well for Pakistan's prospects of successfully dealing with the current crises. It will drive the nation's recovery. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on May 9, 2023 at 9:26am

#Indian #Muslims in higher #education: Enrollment of Muslims in #India fell by 8% in 2019-20, while that of #Dalits, #Adivasis & #OBCs rose by 4.2%, 11.9% & 4% respectively. Upper caste #Hindus saw highest growth rate of 13.6%. #Islamophobia #Casteism https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/lower-in-higher-e...

The recently released All India Survey on Higher Education 2020–21 shows some contrasting trends. On the one hand, enrollment of Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs in higher education has increased by 4.2 per cent, 11.9 per cent and 4 per cent respectively compared to 2019-20. The upper castes, whose share in enrollment had been declining with the implementation of Mandal II since the late 2000s but who have come back with the highest growth rate of 13.6 per cent. On the other hand, the enrollment of Muslim students dropped by 8 per cent from 2019-20 – that is, by 1,79,147 students. This level of absolute decline has never happened in the recent past for any group.

UP accounts for 36 per cent of that total decline followed by Jammu and Kashmir, which accounts for 26 per cent, then Maharashtra (8.5 per cent), Tamil Nadu (8.1 per cent), Gujarat (6.1 per cent), Bihar (5.7 per cent) and Karnataka (3.7 per cent). Except in Tamil Nadu, Muslims alone witnessed an absolute decline in their enrollment. While the states that have a larger share of the Muslim population account for the higher share of decline, small states too show similar trends. For instance, between 2019-20 — 2020-21, Delhi lost about 20 per cent of its Muslim students while J&K lost about 36 per cent.


AISHE 2020-21: Enrolment of Muslim students for higher education decreases to 4.6%
The Education Ministry data showed that the number of Muslim students decreased to 19.21 lakh in 2020-21 from 21 lakh in 2019-20.


Professor Sukhdeo Thorat, emeritus professor, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawahar Lal Nehru University and former chairman, University Grants Commission(UGC) said that financially weak Muslims may go for higher studies if they are helped through scholarships.
Speaking on a lecture ‘Where do the Muslims lag behind in higher education?: Lessons for policies’ on the occasion of the 25th Foundation Day of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (Manuu), Thorat said, “There are internal disparities among Muslims in attainment of higher education based on income level, gender and medium of education and institutions like Manuu must give preference to such groups through scholarships, differential fee structure, hostel facility and remedial coaching classes.”
He reiterated that Muslims have the lowest Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at 16.6% in higher education among all the communities in the country (national average is 26.3%). He also pointed out that Muslim students depend highly on government institutions (54.1%) as compared to other communities (national average 45.2%) and only 18.2% Muslim students go to private aided higher education institutions and 27.4% go to private unaided higher education institutions against a national average of 24.4% and 30.1%, respectively.


Comment by Riaz Haq on May 26, 2023 at 10:56am

Pakistan aims to produce 1M AI-trained IT graduates by 2027

The policy framework showcases Pakistan’s willingness to integrate AI for public and national betterment. The country has set 15 targets with timelines ranging from 2023 to 2028.


Just days after announcing that cryptocurrencies will “never be legalized” in the country, Pakistan’s Ministry of IT & Telecom drafted a policy to spur the growth of artificial intelligence.

With the national AI policy, Pakistan aims to evolve into a knowledge-based economy by upskilling human capital on AI and allied technologies, among other investments and initiatives.

The policy framework showcases Pakistan’s willingness to integrate AI for public and national betterment. The country has set 15 targets with timelines ranging from 2023 to 2028. To support these initiatives, Pakistan intends to establish a National AI Fund by using the Ministry of IT & Telecom’s “underutilized resources and funds.”


A snippet of Pakistan's national AI policy draft. Source: Ministry of IT & Telecom
Some of the intended use cases for AI in Pakistan include predicting the weather, agriculture supply chain optimization and health services transformation, to name a few.

The Pakistani government has taken an inclusive approach toward building AI policies as it remains open to feedback from the general public until June 16.

The primary reason for Pakistan’s ban on cryptocurrencies was due to the requirements set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). In return, the country remains excluded from FATF’s gray list.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, while FATF does not have the authority to impose sanctions on non-compliant countries, it can likely influence government and corporate policies worldwide.

By complying with FATF, Pakistan holds a higher possibility of getting a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 30, 2023 at 8:26am

Google and Pakistan collaborate to drive IT education, 45,000 scholarships announced - Global Village Space


Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Syed Aminul Haq, announced a groundbreaking agreement with Google during the Startups for Industries and IT Exports conference held at the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI). The agreement entails 45,000 scholarships to be provided by Google, with the aim of increasing the number to 450,000 in the following year. Notably, at least 40 percent of these scholarships will be reserved for women. This initiative marks a significant step forward in promoting IT education and fostering the growth of Pakistan’s digital industry.

Expanding Educational Opportunities
The collaboration between Pakistan and Google sets out to address the pressing need for skilled IT professionals in the country. The allocation of 45,000 scholarships signifies a remarkable increase from the previous year’s 15,000 scholarships. By targeting women, the government aims to bridge the gender gap in the tech industry, empowering more female individuals to pursue careers in IT. This initiative recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation and technological advancements.

Empowering the IT Industry
Minister Aminul Haq emphasised the government’s commitment to the growth of the IT sector by announcing the construction of a dedicated building at NED University, with an investment of $1.6 million. The facility will serve as a hub for gaming and animation, nurturing local talent and further propelling the industry forward. These efforts align with the government’s vision of promoting startups, gaming, and animation within the country, leading to increased employment opportunities and economic growth.

Supporting Startups and Innovation
The conference brought together industry experts, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to discuss the importance of startups and innovation in the IT sector. Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan highlighted the crucial role that research and development play in driving industry growth. He also emphasised that startups today no longer require massive investments, thanks to the conducive environment and government support. With the increase in the number of incubation centres from five to eight in just three years, Pakistan is nurturing a vibrant ecosystem for startups to thrive.

Boosting IT Exports
Deputy Patron of KATI, Zubair Chhaya, lauded the efforts of Minister Aminul Haq, acknowledging the significant growth in Pakistan’s IT exports. From a modest $1 billion in exports, the sector has witnessed a remarkable surge to $2.6 billion at the end of the last financial year. This growth places Pakistan on a promising trajectory, showcasing its potential to compete with neighbouring countries. To further bolster the IT industry, Nighat Awan, the Senior Vice President of KATI, called for the abolishment of duties on machinery and IT-related products, fostering an environment conducive to expansion and innovation.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 3, 2023 at 9:53am

US envoy pledges commitment to education initiatives in Pakistan


US DCM Andrew Schofer also met the 24 students and the teachers who will go to the NASA Space Camp this summer through a US government grant to the Dawood Foundation (TDF).

TDF received a $250,000 US Consulate Karachi-funded grant to promote STEM education in low-income and underserved schools. Through this grant, 100 teachers from 50 schools were trained in teaching STEM education and 1,200 students from these schools visited the MagnifiScience Centre to encourage interest in STEM education and careers.

A STEM competition was held among the participating schools, through which students from the top three winning schools will participate in NASA’s Space Camp in the United States this summer.

To emphasise the US government’s commitment to education, DCM Schofer gave remarks at the closing ceremony of the US government-sponsored Karachi English Works! Programme.

English Works! provides bright, economically disadvantaged students with an opportunity to develop English language proficiency and 21st-century employability skills.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 5, 2023 at 6:41pm

The Education Ministry data showed that the number of Muslim students decreased to 19.21 lakh in 2020-21 from 21 lakh in 2019-20.


AISHE 2020-21: Enrolment of Muslim students for higher education decreases to 4.6%
The Education Ministry data showed that the number of Muslim students decreased to 19.21 lakh in 2020-21 from 21 lakh in 2019-20.

The number of Muslim students enrolling for higher education in India has dropped in the 2020-21 academic year compared to the previous year, according to a report by the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-21.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 6, 2023 at 6:59pm

It is for the first time that the enrolment of Muslims in higher education has declined on year on year basis. Until 2019-20, their numbers had been increasing, though at a varying rate, and had gradually gone up from 6.97 lakh, (or 2.53% of the total enrolment in higher education) in 2010-11 to 21.01 Lakh (5.45%). The rate of growth in Muslim enrolment has, however, been declining lately. During the 2010-11 to 2014-15 quinquennial, the enrolment of Muslims in higher education grew by 15.03% per year which slowed down to 3.56% during the 2015-16 to 2020-21 sexennial. A decline in Muslim enrolment in higher education by a whopping 8.53% in one year is simply inexplicable.


The latest edition of the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE), as published by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, reports that the number of Muslims in higher education declined from 21.01 Lakh in 2019-20 to 19.22 Lakh in 2020-21. Thus 1.79 Lakh Muslim students are missing from the higher education system of the country. As a result, the share of Muslim students in higher education has come down from 5.45% to 4.64% during the corresponding period.

This is when the total enrolment in higher education in India has gone up from 3.85 crore to 4.14 crore during the same period. This is also when, the enrolment of all other social groups – the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) has gone up. The only groups that have seen a decline are Persons with Disabilities, Muslims and Other Minorities.

Disquietingly, the share of Muslim students has declined across all higher educational institutions: central universities, from 8.41 to 8.24%; institutions of national importance, 1.92 to 1.87%; public-funded state universities, 5.29 to 4.30%; self-financed private universities, 4.25 to 3.87%; government deems universities, 1.10 to 1.03%; government-aided deemed universities, 14.55 to 11.84%; self-financed private deemed universities, 3.47 to 3.04%; colleges of central universities, 4.68 to 3.58%; and colleges of state universities from 6.05 to 5.09%.

What is all the more perturbing is the fact that Muslim enrolment in higher education has declined in 22 out of 36 states and Union Territories. In absolute numbers, the decline has been in UP (58,365), Jammu & Kashmir (47,334), Maharashtra (15,424), Tamil Nadu (14,593), Gujarat (10,909), Bihar (10,208), Andhra Pradesh (9,644), Jharkhand (9,263), Karnataka (6,153), Assam (5, 424), Delhi (5,271), Madhya Pradesh (2,862), Haryana (2,432), Manipur (2,049), Odisha (1,359), Rajasthan (1,193), Puducherry (785), Tripura (768), Chhattisgarh (691) and Himachal Pradesh (588), Arunachal Pradesh (57) and Meghalaya (16).

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2023 at 5:11pm

Ministry of Education releases All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-2021


Enrollment in higher education increases to 4.14 crore (41.4 million), crossing the 4 crore mark (40 million) for first time; increase of 7.5% from 2019-20 and 21% from 2014-15

Female enrollment reaches 2 crore mark, increase of 13 Lakh from 2019-20

Significant increase of 28% in enrolment of SC students and 38% in enrolment of Female SC Students in 2020-21, compared to 2014-15.

Substantial increase of 47% in enrolment of ST students and 63.4% increase in the enrolment of Female ST Students in 2020-21, compared to 2014-15.

Significant increase of 32% in OBC Student enrolment and 39% in Female OBC Students, since 2014-15.

Notable increase of 29% in Student Enrolment and 34% in Female Student Enrolment in the North Eastern Region in 2020-21 since 2014-15.

Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has improved from previous year for all social groups

Enrollment in Distance Education has increased by 7% in 2020-21 from 2019-20

Number of Universities has increased by 70, number of Colleges has increased by 1,453, in 2020-21 over 2019-20

Gender Parity Index (GPI) has increased from 1 in 2017-18 to 1.05 in 2020-21

Total number of faculty/teachers increases by 47,914 from 2019-20
Posted On: 29 JAN 2023 7:20PM by PIB Delhi

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 9, 2023 at 7:17pm

One metric of note is gross enrollment ratio (GER), which measures total enrollment in education as a percentage of the eligible school-aged population. India’s GER of 27.1 percent in 2019–20 seems poised to fall below the Ministry of Education’s target of achieving 32 percent by 2022.


India’s higher education landscape is a mix of progress and challenges. Its scope is vast: 1,043 universities, 42,343 colleges, and 11,779 stand-alone institutions make it one of the largest higher education sectors in the world, according to the latest (2019–20) All India Survey of Higher Education Report (AISHE 2019–20).

The number of institutions has expanded by more than 400 percent since 2001, with much of the growth taking place in the private education sector, according to a major 2019 report from the Brookings Institution, Reviving Higher Education in India. This growth continued through 2019–20, according to the 2019–20 AISHE report.

Capacity is growing rapidly to serve India’s large youth population and burgeoning college-aged cohort. One metric of note is gross enrollment ratio (GER), which measures total enrollment in education as a percentage of the eligible school-aged population. India’s GER of 27.1 percent in 2019–20 seems poised to fall below the Ministry of Education’s target of achieving 32 percent by 2022. It is also significantly behind China’s 51 percent and much of Europe and North America, where 80 percent or more of young people enroll in higher education, according to Philip Altbach, a research professor at Boston College and founding director of the Center for International Higher Education.

The number of institutions has expanded by more than 400 percent since 2001. ...Capacity is growing rapidly to serve India’s large youth population and burgeoning college-aged cohort.

India has produced many noteworthy higher education institutions, including those specializing in sciences and business, though none of them take the top spots in global rankings. Its highest-ranked institution, the Indian Institute of Science, was in the 301–350 range among institutions worldwide in 2022, according to the Times Higher Education 2022 World University Rankings. China, by contrast, has 16 institutions in the top 350, including six ranked in the top 100 and two in the top 20. However, much is different about India—its central government is less efficient and empowered, there’s enormous variation between India’s 36 states and territories, there’s less affluence, and the country has a democratic political system.

Across India, there is an enormous variation in quality institutions between states. For instance, according to the National Institutional Ranking Framework of India 2021, the best colleges in the country are concentrated in 9 of India’s 28 states: Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal. The colleges in these states are all in the ranking’s top 100 institutions, notes Eldho Mathews, deputy advisor at the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration. In states with fewer resources, offering quality education is more of a challenge.

Other difficulties that hobble the sector include lack of sufficient funding at both the national and state levels; inefficient structure; massive bureaucracy; and corruption. An additional, formidable hurdle is to bridge the gap between graduates and jobs, as many employers have doubts about the quality of Indian graduates’ skills. In a recent survey by Wheelbox, Taggd, and the Confederation of Indian Industry, respondents rated graduates of higher education institutions below a 50 percent employability level, according to the resulting Indian Skills Report.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 14, 2023 at 6:54pm

Best universities for Artificial Intelligence in Pakistan

National University- FAST. ...
National University of Science and Technology. ...
Quaid-e-Azam University. ...
Lahore University of Management Sciences. ...
Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences. ...
University of Karachi. ...
Air University.


Comment by Riaz Haq on June 15, 2023 at 1:31pm

Lahore’s Tech Renaissance: From Astrolabes To AI
Amir Husain


Amir Husain is the Founder & CEO of the global AI company, SparkCognition, and the CEO of SkyGrid.

Zaib and I just concluded a fascinating visit to Lahore, Pakistan. We were joined on this trip by Prof. Bruce Porter, former Chairman of UT Austin Computer Science and Chief Science Officer of SparkCognition, along with colleagues from SparkCognition, SkyGrid, and Navigate.

Lahore is an ancient and vibrant city, once one of the largest manufacturing centers of mechanical computers, called Astrolabes. Built by Muhammad Muqim and his family in the 16th century, these computers came hundreds of years before the Jacquard Loom or Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. The city is now busily reinventing itself as a modern hub for entrepreneurship and academia. Our journey unveiled numerous innovative startups, cutting-edge research projects, and the thriving connections between the city’s entrepreneurial and educational ecosystems.

Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

Our first public event was at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), a prestigious institution renowned for its research and entrepreneurial spirit. Prof. Porter and I had the opportunity to deliver talks on entrepreneurship and artificial intelligence (AI) to an enthusiastic audience of students and faculty members.

Prof. Porter's talk focused on the three generations of AI, tracing its development from search algorithms to expert systems and the Generative AI explosion. The lecture provided insights into AI's potential to transform industries and our daily lives.

After the talks, we connected with professors and students, learning about their innovative startups and groundbreaking research projects. It was inspiring to see the passion and drive on display at LUMS.

IoT, EVs, and Quantum, Oh My!

We encountered three standout teams pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation. The first was the quantum computing group at LUMS which has developed and indigenously built an experimental quantum information processor. I was told by Dean Anwar of the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE) that this device has two entangled physical qubits based on single photons from a heralded source. This effort lands LUMS on a short list of global quantum computing research organizations. Applications of quantum computing may eventually revolutionize materials science and much more. It was quite impressive to see a cutting-edge effort like this underway at the school.


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