Pakistan Launches NUTech to Prepare 21st Century Workforce

As technology begins to permeate every aspect of life in Pakistan, the country needs a balanced mix of highly skilled workers, technicians, mechanics, technologists, engineers, researchers and development scientists to meet the challenge.  Recent launch of National University of Technology (NUTech) is part of Pakistan government's response to this challenge.

21st Century Workforce:

Pakistan's economy is rapidly transforming from traditional agriculture to modern business and industry.  Accelerating penetration of smartphones, personal computers, flat screens, mobile broadband, indoor plumbing, motorized vehicles, home appliances, air-conditioners, tractors, tube-wells, advanced construction machines and  solar and other technology-based products and services requires a highly skilled workforce to design, manufacture, market, sell, operate and service.

Building this new highly skilled work force must begin with designing curricula and facilities. It also demands a new crop of trainers and educators and closer collaboration between academia and industry.

National University of Technology (NUTech) Campus in Islamanad

NUTech Launch:

National University of Technology (NUTech) has just been launched as a federally chartered institution of higher learning.  It is enrolling students now for its first academic semester starting in September 2018.

NUTech will not only produce hands-on engineers and scientists but it will also serve as an umbrella organization for training skilled technicians and tradespeople to build, service and maintain advanced technology-based plant and equipment.

NUTech will work with a national network of technical and vocational training institutes to produce skilled workers.  It will include representatives of business and industry in design of curricula to ensure these workers meet the needs of the industry.

Specialized Institutions:

Pakistan Air Force's Air University, established in 2002, is an example of a specialized institution aimed at developing human capital in the aviation sector.

Development of a new advanced fighter is a wide-ranging effort that will encompass building human capital in a variety of fields including material science, physics, electronics, computer science, computer software, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, avionics, weapons design, etc.

Air University has added a new campus in Kamra Aviation City. The university already offers bachelor's master's and doctoral degrees in several subjects. Pakistan Air Force Chief Sohail Aman told Quwa Defense News that the campus will “provide the desired impetus for cutting-edge indigenization programs, strengthen the local industry and harness the demands of foreign aviation industry by reducing … imports and promoting joint research and production ventures.”

Higher Education in Pakistan:

There are over 3 million students enrolled in grades 13 through 16 in Pakistan's 1,086 degree colleges and 161 universities, according to Pakistan Higher Education Commission report for 2013-14.  The 3 million enrollment is 15% of the 20 million Pakistanis in the eligible age group of 18-24 years.  In addition, there are over 255,000 Pakistanis enrolled in vocational training schools, according to Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA).

Graduation Day at NED Engineering University For 1300 Graduates in 2013

Pakistani universities have been producing over half a million graduates, including over 10,000 IT graduates, every year since 2010, according to HEC data. The number of university graduates in Pakistan increased from 380,773 in 2005-6 to 493,993 in 2008-09. This figure is growing with rising enrollment and contributing to Pakistan's growing human capital.

Source: UNESCO's Global Education Digest 2009

Higher education in Pakistan has come a long way since its independence in 1947 when there was only one university, the University of Punjab. By 1997, the number of universities had risen to 35, of which 3 were federally administered and 22 were under the provincial governments, with a combined enrollment of 71,819 students. A big spending boost by President Pervez Musharraf helped establish 51 new universities and awarding institutions during 2002-2008. This helped triple university enrollment from 135,000 in 2003 to about 400,000 in 2008, according to Dr. Ata ur Rehman who led the charge for expanding higher education during Musharraf years. There are 161 universities with 1.5 million students enrolled in Pakistan as of 2014.

Former Chairman of HEC summed up the country's higher education progress well in a piece he wrote for The News in 2012: "Pakistan has achieved critical mass and reached a point of take-off. For this phenomenal growth to continue, it is important for the government and other stakeholders to support and further strengthen the HEC as a national institution and protect its autonomy. If this momentum continues for another 10 years, Pakistan is certain to become a global player through a flourishing knowledge economy and a highly literate population".

Here's an introductory video about National University of Technology (NUTech) Pakistan:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

10 Pakistan Universities Among Top 300 in Asia

Pakistan's Growing Human Capital

History of Literacy in Pakistan

Education Attainment in South Asia

Dr. Ata ur Rehman Defends HEC Reforms

Biotech and Genomics in Pakistan

Business Education in Pakistan

Armed Drones Outrage and Inspire Young Pakistanis

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  • Riaz Haq

    Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government’s flagship project, Pak-Austria Fachhochschule University completed in Haripur

    Pak-Austria Fachhochschule University, Haripur will offer specialised courses like artificial intelligence, railway engineering, mineral resource engineering and agriculture food technologies and others. It is pertinent to note that construction work on university was launched by the current government last year.

    PAF-IAST said,” PAF-IAST is nestled in natural mountains that flank its campus from all sides, offering one even the ravishing view of snow-capped peaks of Nathiagali and natural winding trails. To its north-west is Tarbela Lake, a journey of only a few kilometers from the campus.”

    “Set in middle of the campus is natural lake, fed by the springs of surrounding mountains. The campus is just a 3-kilometer drive from the Hazara Motorway,” PAF-IAST said.

    The major cities like Islamabad and Abbottabad, are just an hour’s drive, while small towns like Wah, Hasanabadal, Taxila and Swabi can be reached in just half an hour from the campus.

    PAF-IAST said the university wanted to contribute to the development of sound industrial economy in Pakistan and to strive and achieve the goals of effective higher education in engineering, science, and technology.


    Skilling Pakistan
    A Vision for the National Skills Strategy, 2008-12” seeks to achieve three main objectives in the context of defining technical education at policy level: 1) providing relevant skills for industrial and economic development; 2) improving access, equity and employability; 3) assuring high standards in skills development. These objectives are consistent with the policy of government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa towards poverty alleviation through skill training and human resource development. Underpinning these prime objectives is our prime focus on meeting workforce demands in key growth sectors such as industry, IT, information and communication technologies, medical technologies, electrical and mechanical as well as mineral resource development, extractive metallurgy and construction fields.

  • Riaz Haq

    This is how #Pakistan is closing its #skills gap. Parwaaz has identified 6 priority sectors to fuel future growth: #ICT, #FinancialServices , #Textile , #Hospitality, #Retail & #Services , #Manufacturing & Light #Engineering and #Agriculture & #Livestock

    A multistakeholder approach takes flight
    In the local context, Parwaaz means ‘’to take flight”. Standing true to the spirit of the name, with the guidance of the most influential public and private-sector leaders, Parwaaz is developing a futuristic approach to reskilling the nation.

    Parwaaz is a multi-stakeholder alliance representing both the public and private sector. It focuses on three areas: lifelong learning and upskilling, future-readiness and youth employability, and innovative skills funding models.

    It has identified 6 priority sectors to fuel Pakistan’s future growth: ICT, Financial Services, Textile, Hospitality, Retail and Services, Manufacturing and Light Engineering and Agriculture and Livestock. 42 of the largest employers in Pakistan are working together with the Punjab Skills Development Fund through Parwaaz to establish 6 sector-level incubators to identify reskilling, upskilling and new-skilling roles that are emerging today or that will appear in the future.

    Parwaaz business leaders are providing support to the platform in form of funding (full/partial), training facilities, guidance and support in designing course curriculum, providing instructors or any other form of support. Working closely with experts appointed by each of these businesses from within their own companies, the training courses for each role under each industry incubator are being standardized to meet market needs. This will not only be a proof of concept but allow the model to be scaled up quickly and attract a larger pool of employers in each of the 6 sectors across Pakistan.

    Real people, real skills, real impact
    Parwaaz is already making a difference to people’s lives and futures. Three different skills, pilot incubators have been established and the work underway will ultimately result in approximately 1,000 young people graduating by June 2021 with improved and market relevant skills for the labour markets of tomorrow. These pilot programmes are owned and supported by the companies taking part in Parwaaz and are focusing on the following sectors and skills:

    An ICT sector incubator is upskilling 500 young individuals for roles including, Contact Centre Agents to service international clients, Full Stack Developers, Data Scientists and E-commerce professionals.
    A Financial Services sector incubator is equipping 200 young people with the skills they need for roles including, Information/cyber security experts, Data Analysts and Digital Compliance Experts.
    A Textiles Sector incubator is preparing 300 young people for roles including, Data Analysts, 3D and CAD Designers.

    Bridging the gap
    The Accelerator is raising awareness and urgency not only among the employers and private sector at large but also the young people around the importance of skilling and reskilling and nurturing a proactive mindset despite of the challenging times. At the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, the Co-Chairs of Parwaaz participated in a number of open virtual activities to provide guidance to young Pakistanis and share their advice on how to navigate this time and prepare for the bounce back of the economy.

    Ultimately, the Accelerator is bridging a crucial disconnect. With the Government working closely with the private sector, an opportunity for public-private partnership in the skills sphere has been ignited, which didn’t exist before, and can result in new, forward-looking policies and strategies, and a brighter future for Pakistan’s young and growing workforce.

  • Riaz Haq

    Netsol Announces to Establish Its Own IT University
    Posted 8 hours ago by ProPK Staff

    This is encouraging news from the industry for software houses, professionals, and students alike. A university to be set up based on industry and academic coordination could serve the entire IT sector, which is always looking for graduates having skills in advanced fields of IT sector.

    Presently, a majority of local universities except a few institutions do not produce graduates that meet the requirement of the local and foreign markets. Hence, a serious shortage of human resources always prevails in the sector.

    According to industry estimates, as many as 25,000 graduates graduate from various universities per year in Pakistan. However, merely 5,000 graduates can meet the requirements of the industry regarding the needed skill sets and other practical qualifications.

    Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) had previously planned to set up an authority on IT education last year under the then minister. However, there is no update on the continuity of the plan under the present minister.

    Stakeholders of the IT industry said that professionals of various software houses could impart their knowledge at various institutions to bring reforms in IT education. However, they said that the universities are not willing to pay them competitive salaries.

    Therefore, inexperienced teachers continue to teach various subjects of computer science to students through an outdated curriculum and obsolete methodologies.

    Some big names in the IT industry usually set up their in-house training departments to meet the demand for human resources. However, this is not a long-term solution as far as the entire industry is concerned.

    At present, the demand for the IT industry is exceeding 15,000 professionals every year, with over 5,000 highly-skilled professionals required in the latest technologies.

    Companies have no choice but to pick up professionals from competing companies at higher offers of salary packages.

    It is hoped that setting up an IT industry by a reputed IT company could make a difference in meeting the demand of the country’s IT companies in the future rather than money-making and degree-printing institutions.