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    Pakistan IT Policy

    This was sent to me by a friend, what are your thoughts?

    IT Education Policy for Pakistan

    A White Paper


    Salal Humair
    Farhan Rana
    Bilal Zuberi

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 02139

    We recommend directions and specific policy initiatives for IT education in
    Pakistan within the framework of the "Recommendations for National IT
    Council" proposed by Dareecha. We endorse the value of IT education as the
    core focus in the framework, but recommend a policy that focuses more on
    providing education in the fundamental engineering principles and the basic
    sciences, rather than on providing training in IT specific tools and
    programming languages. We describe the objectives of the IT education
    policy, the motivating factors that underlie our policy recommendations,
    also briefly mention various strategies that may be adopted to accomplish
    the desired objectives.

    1. IT Educational Policy Objectives

    The goals of the national IT education policy should be to produce an
    educated workforce that is:

    1. Globally competitive, skilled, flexible and well poised to take
    advantage of the rapidly evolving global IT environment and the
    opportunities available therein.
    2. Capable of building and maintaining the IT infrastructure of Pakistan.
    3. Capable of earning foreign exchange and worldwide recognition for their

    2. Motivating Factors and Guiding Principles

    The motivating factors and the guiding principles underlying our
    recommendations are stated below. These are based upon the personal
    experiences of several members of our group, many of whom have held
    positions in IT related companies and firms in USA, and many have also been
    educated in Pakistani institutions like UET and NED. The experiences of
    Techlogix Inc., a software company founded by MIT graduates and based in
    Lahore, have also helped us in formulating our arguments.

    1. The value of a trained IT workforce is in its problem solving abilities,
    and not in its knowledge of the various software tools or the different
    programming languages. Problem solvers who can continually reinvent
    themselves in the rapidly evolving global market, who possess the required
    skills and the knowledge to come up with creative and ingenious solutions,
    and thereby provide much more valuable services to their clients should be
    the ultimate goal of an IT education policy.
    2. An IT trained workforce with the required problem solving abilities can
    only be produced by a core education stressing heavily the fundamentals of
    engineering and the basic sciences, in addition to computer science and IT
    related software and hardware tools.
    3. Universities should cultivate an environment in which technically
    innovative ideas and entrepreneurships are encouraged among the student
    and the faculty.
    4. Students graduating from the computer science programs offered in
    management institutes, such as IBA and LUMS, do not normally possess the
    required analytical and technical skills to spearhead technology based
    ventures in the complex and highly technical global IT industry.
    5. The present structure of the universities leads to apathy among the
    students as well as among the faculty, and begs for the creation of the
    right incentives to motivate the faculty to teach and the students to
    6. Hiring good world-class faculty, especially in IT related areas, has
    become an acute problem for even the premiere institutions of the country.
    In addition to the lack of academic culture and maladministration that
    plague the academic institutions, the salaries offered to the faculty
    members are almost an order of magnitude lower than what is offered by IT
    related businesses and companies.
    7. The government does not have the resources to provide financial support
    for research in the universities. The growth of the IT industry in the
    country presents the possibility of increased industry-university
    cooperation and increased capital flow from the industry to the
    universities. The universities must be restructured to take advantage of
    this window of opportunity.

    3. Strategy Recommendations

    Our proposed IT education strategy also encourages:

    1. University research in the emerging trends and technologies.
    2. IT entrepreneurship by exposing the students and the faculty to
    problems and business opportunities in local and global markets.
    3. Establishment of private-public partnerships for creating an IT
    infrastructure for the country.

    3.1 Short term Strategies

    To produce an IT workforce that meets the market requirements in the short
    term, we propose the following recommendations:

    1. In the short run, two year Masters level degree programs should be
    introduced in the major universities, and these programs should offer IT
    related software and hardware courses to the students who must already have
    undergraduate degrees in engineering or applied sciences. However, in the
    long run the desired objectives stated above can only be effectively
    achieved by improving the overall quality of the undergraduate education in
    the major universities as discussed below.
    2. The government should not interfere in the working of institutions that
    provide basic IT training, such as BCCI Fast, and whose curricula are
    dictated by market needs. However, in the long run a limited government
    might be useful in urging such institutions to modify their curricula and
    adopt a problem solving approach to IT education rather than pursuing a
    tools learning approach.

    3.2 Long term Strategies

    In the longer term, the government has no choice but to focus on improving
    the quality of the undergraduate and graduate education in the universities
    in order to accomplish the objectives stated above. In this regard we make
    the following proposals,

    3.2.1 Restructuring the University System

    1. The eventual goal of university restructuring is to create autonomous
    institutions not under the control of the federal or the provincial
    governments. The administration of universities should in the hands of
    competent academicians and educationalists.
    2. A university-industry partnership must be created where universities
    actively seek funding from industry and are prepared to provide creative
    solutions to their clients in the industry. Specific policy initiatives to
    achieve this could be the following :

    2.1 The government should act as a facilitator and as an arbitrator to
    encourage the flow of capital from the industry to the universities. This
    will enable the faculty to do research and provide consulting services to
    the industry, and in addition expose the students to research and applied
    problem solving.
    2.2 To benefit from the industry sponsored research, the universities must
    be restructured into matrix organizations with research laboratories and
    departments. These research laboratories, along with the individual
    members, would solicit research funding from industry. This will create an
    environment where the faculty is provided with incentives to carry out
    research, and compete for research funding.
    2.3 The universities must have internal transparent procedures and
    mechanisms for the elimination of corruption and for ensuring the fair and
    just allocation of funds.

    3.2.2 University Curriculum

    1. The universities must periodically revise their curriculum to keep it
    abreast of the rapidly changing technologies.
    2. The examination system must be revamped so as to emphasize
    problem-solving approaches.
    3. We have already suggested as a part of the short term strategies the
    introduction of two year Masters level degree programs in the major
    universities to provide IT related education in both software and hardware.
    In the long run, these degree programs must modify their curriculum to
    include the time invariant fundamental principles related to IT, and offer
    courses that cover the structure and design of the hardware and software
    related to IT in depth.

    3.2.3 Attracting World-Class Faculty for the Universities

    Attracting competent world-class faculty will perhaps be the biggest hurdle
    in improving the quality of university education in the country. In fact,
    the whole plan of restructuring the university system rests on the presence
    of competent faculty. It is therefore extremely important that the
    government take all the necessary steps to attract world-class faculty for
    the universities. We make the following recommendations in this regard:

    1. The salaries of the university faculty need to be increased, otherwise
    universities will not be able to attract and retain competent individuals,
    especially in IT related areas, because of competitive offers from the
    industry. Research funding mechanisms such as outlined above could
    significantly help by providing opportunities for the faculty to supplement
    their income.
    2. World-class faculty can be attracted and retained by providing
    intellectually challenging research environments in the universities and
    motivated students.
    3. Universities need to create their own talent pool by forming competitive
    Ph.D. programs that can produce faculty for the future.
    4. The universities must develop and nurture academic environments free of
    unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and which is suitable and comfortable for

    4. Further work

    The Holy Grail of any policy initiative is in implementation and in the
    availability of resources. In order to arrest the vision above and maximize
    the chances for its success, we recommend a more thorough investigation of
    the policy initiatives suggested above.

    5. Acknowledgements

    We would like to acknowledge helpful and stimulating discussions with
    Khurram Afridi, Tahir Mahmood, Mohsin Naqvi, Jalal Khan, and Kashif Khan.
    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.

    Fools, you cannot have any IT or other technology because you don't have any base or foundation.

    Don't tell me that an athelete can sprint without his legs.

    Sarfraz Khan


      Atif/Sarfraz whoever you are...

      Even I'm not a Paki lover. But the wellbeing / development of Pakistan (atleast upto the basic level) is good even for people outside pakistan.

      So when some ex-pakis are trying to do you some good, listen without any prejudice.

      Who knows, some good may come out of it !


        Thanks Kamal bhai for posting this here

        I know that the Gov. is working on an IT policy, I’m not sure when they were going to announce it (I haven’t been following the developments ehh!) Anyway, a few things that I have noticed are that they are making a separate ministry for this (making it one of our top priorities) many steps have been taken to encourage IT related education. One being low price high quality Internet connection – software houses (or something similar), they are talking about 24 hours free net access from Uni. etc. Which fits into this ” 3. Universities should cultivate an environment in which technically innovative ideas and entrepreneurships are encouraged among the student body and the faculty.”

        I wish I had our Governments policy re. IT, to see how well they match. If you guy’s are interested in a serious discussion on this topic, I’m sure I can get details about Gov.’s plans from Pak embassy here.

        Atif, why are you being so rude? Koi shikayat hai to bol kioN nahiN dette?


          If the situation regarding primary and secondary education is as miserable as was wriiten in Hodoolbhoy's article, it is difficult to have an IT policy. IT needs some background in mathematics an logic.


   day my mom asked me to teach her computer...she even can't write her own name in urdu.

            In Pakistan, if here and there some well-to-do people have bought comps+internet connection, that doesn't mean we have IT policy...a nation of 134½ million with 13.000 internet connection...LOL

            Use more rationale and less rehtoric. Every policy they announce, I am hearing them since day 1...cliché. Alas, we don't go beyond the announcements because we are not made of the stuff to go beyond rethoric.

            Sarfraz Khan


              Atif what do you suggest then?

              One more thing, I know I support CE, but I’ve noticed that you do the same – if you don’t believe in their policies what exactly do you support?

              As for +/-13000 Internet connections, having Internet connection does prove that you are good or bad Systems
              Developer or does it? But yeah 13000 connections are not enough.

              ZZ could you plz post that article here? I have pretty good idea of how bad things are in some areas – but it would be interesting to see what he is saying and why?


                I posted it. This is a thread by name 'jihadi education system in pakistan'. it is an article on chowk. you can/should also read his other articles on chowk. give a dismal picture. some of features are true in education/reasearch fields in India too in some places. but some states are doing well.


                  Liking CE doesn't mean I should not exercise positive and constructive criticism on him or the government...

                  Sarfraz Khan