Saturday, March 2, 2013

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

A 12-year-old Pakistani girl is taking advance online classes offered by Stanford University. The youngest Microsoft certified professional is a Pakistani. Young Pakistanis are setting records with straight A's on O level and A level Cambridge courses. These frequent reports offer anecdotal evidence of Pakistan's growing human capital. Such evidence is also supported by data reported by various researchers and organizations.

With nearly 16% of its population in 25-34 years age group having college degrees, Pakistan is well ahead of India and Indonesia, according to Global Education Digest 2009 published by UNESCO Institute of Statistics. UNESCO data also shows that Pakistan's lead is growing with younger age groups.


Source: Global Education Digest
By comparison, a little over 12% of Indians and 9% of Indonesians in 25-34 years age group have completed tertiary education. In 35-44 years age group, 11% of Pakistanis, 9% of Indians and 8% of Indonesians have completed college education. The report shows that 3% of Pakistanis and 1% of Indians have completed tertiary education abroad.

Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jhong-wa Lee offer similar insights into educational attainment in Asia and the rest of the world.    As of 2010, there are 380 (vs 327 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis age 15 and above who have never had any formal schooling. Of the remaining 620 (vs 673 Indians) who enrolled in school, 22 (vs 20 Indians) dropped out before finishing primary school, and the remaining 598 (vs 653 Indians) completed it. There are 401 (vs 465 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis who made it to secondary school. 290 (vs 69 Indians) completed secondary school  while 111 (vs. 394 Indians) dropped out. Only 55 (vs 58 Indians)  made it to college out of which 39 (vs 31 Indians) graduated with a degree.


 Another important point to note in Barro-Lee dataset is that Pakistan has been increasing enrollment of students in schools at a faster rate since 1990 than India. In 1990, there were 66.2% of Pakistanis vs 51.6% of Indians who had no schooling. In 2000, there were 60.2% Pakistanis vs 43% Indians with no schooling. In 2010, Pakistan reduced it to 38% vs India's 32.7%.

Pakistan's human capital development has been driven over the years starting with the Green Revolution technologies in 1960s to nuclear development program in 1980s and information and telecom revolution in 2000s.  More recently, there has been growing interest in biotechnology and robotics. Completion of  the first human genome project has spawned more than 200 life sciences departments at Pakistani universities.  US drones have angered and fascinated many in Pakistan to go into robotics at 60 engineering colleges and universities in Pakistan. These revolutions have inspired large numbesr of young Pakistanis to study courses in business and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields and swell the ranks of scientists and professionals.

Graduation Day at NEDUET For 1300 Graduates in 2013


Clearly, both India and Pakistan have made significant progress on the education front in the last few decades. However, the Barro-Lee dataset confirms that the two South Asian nations still have a long way to go to catch up with the rapidly developing nations of East Asia and the industrialized world. Huge investments made in higher education during Musharraf years helped hundreds of thousands of students to benefit from the doubling of the number of universities from 71 in 2002 to 137 now. It's now the responsibility of Pakistan's civilian leadership to sustain that momentum.

Faster economic growth requires BOTH skilled manpower and investment of dollars as Pakistanis saw during Musharraf years. Regardless, the growth of human capital is a good thing to build a foundation for Pakistan's future. It'll contribute to economic growth when the security situation improves and FDI returns to Pakistan. The country's large diaspora too will be helpful in accelerating Pakistan's growth and development with money and skills. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Biotech and Genomics in Pakistan

India & Pakistan Comparison Update 2011

India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010
 
Eating Grass-The Making of Pakistani Bomb
 
Educational Attainment Dataset By Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee

Quality of Higher Education in India and Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Pakistan's Story After 64 Years of Independence

Pakistan Ahead of India on Key Human Development Indices
 

59 comments:

HopeWins Junior said...

This is good.

This human capital (better than India and Indonesia) will ensure a bright future for our country.

Kadeer said...

We have the right tools but when does that get translated to higher economic growth? We, as the Pakistani diaspora benefitted from the education but how many of us will go back and make a meaningful impact.

This brain drain may be why the country lags behind in growth? The human capital is being generated but some of the best tend to benefit other countries

Riaz Haq said...

Kadeer: "We have the right tools but when does that get translated to higher economic growth? We, as the Pakistani diaspora benefitted from the education but how many of us will go back and make a meaningful impact."

Economic growth requires BOTH skilled manpower and investment of dollars as we saw during Musharraf years.

In any event, the growth of human capital is a good thing to build a foundation for Pakistan's future. It'll contribute to economic growth when the security situation improves and FDI returns to Pakistan. The diaspora too will be helpful in this.

gp65 said...

You have completely misinterpreted BArro Lee data and reached conclusions that they certainly have not provided.

The data breakdown is within the country and not across the country:

Education Attainment for Total Population


India Pakistan
------------------------
No school(total) 32.7 38.0
Primary (total) 20.9 21.8
Secondary (total) 40.7 34.6
Tertiary (total) 5.8 5.5
----------------------
Total~ Total~ =100 =100

Thus 32.7+ 20.9 = 53.6% Indians above the age of 25 have either only primary education or no scholing. The comparable number for Pakistan is 38 + 21.8 = 59.8%. By no means can this be interpreted that Pakistan has better human potential than India.

These facts have been brought to your notice by other posters but you continue to misrepresent their findings.
Also since tBArro Lee only looked at people above 25, the relatively low to stagnant investments in Pakistan vs. steep investments by India in the education sector are not reflected in the numbers which would tilt the picture even more in India's favour.

India went from 21 million out of school kids to 2.3 million in a decade from 2000 to 2010 while Pakistan in 2010 had 5.3 million out of school kids. In other words, Pakistan has more than double out of school kids than India despite having one sixt the school going population.

IDo you think that by distorting facts and promoting complacency instead of facing problems is a service to your home country? Carry on if you do. In India we will continue to face our problems (and we have many) and eventually solve them be it violence against women or defecating in the open.

Riaz Haq said...

gp65: "Do you think that by distorting facts and promoting complacency instead of facing problems is a service to your home country?"

I do acknowledge in my post that India has a higher enrollment rate than Pakistan....and it needs to do better.

It's not me; it's you who's distorting the facts and promoting complacency about the problems India faces in terms of very high drop-out rates.

1. The Barro-Lee data deals with age 15+, not 25+ population.

2. You are simply adding up the total percentages entering each level while ignoring the key point about how many actually complete each level.

The fact is that the Barro-Lee data shows that more Pakistanis complete secondary and tertiary levels as percent of population than their Indian counterparts.

So the bottom line of Barro-Lee is as I state in my post:

As of 2010, there are 380 (vs 327 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis age 15 and above who have never had any formal schooling. Of the remaining 620 (vs 673 Indians) who enrolled in school, 22 (vs 20 Indians) dropped out before finishing primary school, and the remaining 598 (vs 653 Indians) completed it. There are 401 (vs 465 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis who made it to secondary school. 290 (vs 69 Indians) completed secondary school while 111 (vs. 394 Indians) dropped out. Only 55 (vs 58 Indians) made it to college out of which 39 (vs 31 Indians) graduated with a degree.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an AFP story on Pakistan's rising middle class consumption:

In a smart corner of Karachi, a new mall offers wealthy clientele the chance to lunch on an American burger, buy French cosmetics, shop for cocktail dresses, sip an afternoon cappuccino or wolf down a cinnamon roll.

Female sales assistants dressed in jeans and T-shirts buck the idea that “service industry” jobs are unsuitable for women, even if many of them commute into work heavily veiled to avoid being harassed or insulted.

“It is time when Pakistanis are getting branded. It is a new phenomenon,” says Samiullah Mohabbat, the chief executive who brought American franchise Fatburger from Beverly Hills to Karachi, a city troubled by shootings and kidnappings.

“The world has just started coming to Pakistan and this trend will grow.”

---
...the middle class has grown over the last decade. Karachi, the country’s financial hub, Lahore and the capital Islamabad have all seen a surge in Western-style coffee shops, fast-food franchises and new malls.

Karachi’s Dolmen Mall is the newest and flashiest.

There is Spanish fashion favourite Mango, US beauty and home firm Crabtree and Evelyn and British high street staples Mothercare and Debenhams.

---

Mohabbat has invested $7 million in opening Pakistan’s first Fatburger restaurant last month on the second floor of Dolmen Mall, with plans for another in Karachi, two in Lahore and a fifth in Islamabad.

Far from seeing the country’s troubles as a bar to business, Mohabbat says a $5.50 burger is the perfect antidote.

---
At lunch time, his 130-seat restaurant is buzzing. In Beverly Hills, there may be nothing exciting about going out for a burger, but in Karachi the novelty and the relative expense make it a sought-after privilege.

The walls are plastered with large notebook papers scribbled with the experiences of the clients. “Yummilicious,” screeches out one.

There is a scrum at the counters as customers wait their turn. A dozen workers cut and cook imported American beef, slathering it with spices and vegetables, shoving it in a bun and handing it to the waiters.

“It’s certainly quite expensive for the average Pakistani, but I prefer it because I can afford it,” says businessman Masroor Afzal, 44, who works round the corner and says he frequently pops over.

“The beauty of Karachi is that it has everything for everyone. There are many people who can’t afford to eat or shop here, but they have other bazaars.”

Analysts say there is enormous potential in Pakistan as a market for global consumer goods, despite the structural problems in the economy.

According to the finance ministry, 104 million people are aged 15 to 59 and by 2030, 30 percent of the population will be younger than 30.

Khurram Schehzad, head of research at investment firm Arif Habib Securities in Karachi, says consumer spending has grown 26 percent in Pakistan since 2010, compared to seven percent for Asia as a whole.

Business mogul Abid Umer says there is “tremendous potential” for retail.

His Al-Karam Group brought its first foreign franchises – Babyshop from Bahrain and Splash from the United Arab Emirates – to Pakistan in 2005. Today his portfolio has extended to Mango.

“Pakistan is full of aspirational customers,” said Umer.

“Sure, Pakistan has its share of issues but in most cases, day to day life is not affected, plus the tremendous customer response and low cost of operations makes it worthwhile.”

---

Helen Lacey, Debenhams’ senior PR manager, told AFP the company had carried out extensive market research and had “no current security concerns”.

“International brands in Pakistan in general are performing strongly. This is a large and growing market and there is a clear appetite for British brands here and growth potential with a rapidly growing middle class,” she said....


http://dawn.com/2013/03/03/pakistans-middle-class-defies-conservative-stereotype/

Iqbal Singh said...

Actually the Barro-Lee data set deals with 15+ AND 25+ years. Here is the link : http://www.barrolee.com/data/full1.htm

Barro-Lee research was done to facilitate intra country resources to be effectively allocated. For example, in India's case higher percentage of funds goes to the primary and secondary school areas rather than tertiary schooling. UN has number of schemes in lower literacy areas to combat this problem.

Research indicates that by increasing primary and secondary enrollment has far greater impact in an emerging economy than allocating the same funds to tertiary education. Obviously though one needs to invest in tertiary education as well.

As some one posted here, Barro-Lee is not about the Western concept of "drop-out" rates but more about using the data to allocate funds.

Therefore, using Barro-Lee to make comparisons across developing countries is a futile exercise. Broad markers such as literacy and schooling years are used by UN to make cross country analysis for their HD index which is due shortly.

Thank you

Vijay said...

UNESCO data shows that out of school children at primary level in India is 2,278,322 (2008) and the drop-out rate for that group to be 31.5% (2006). In the last few years, many NGOs and influential persons like Premji(Wipro) and Ratan Tata have pushed the government to focus on primary and secondary education.

The Budget of 2014 has increased allocation in that area. Let us hope for the best!

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on State Bank Governor Yaseen Anwar's assessment of Pak economy:

KARACHI: Pakistan’s economy has the ability to navigate through choppy waters and the economic potential this country holds encourage all to become a part of the country’s future.

The Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Yaseen Anwar at Pakistan Navy War College Lahore said while our current economic situation was less than optimal and it was also very far from what might be described as an economic calamity.

Anwar said in 65 years, Pakistan has never gone through an episode of hyperinflation, Pakistan has never defaulted on its international and domestic debts, in fact our economy has grown consistently, but not spectacularly, over the past six decades.

This has been despite periods of international alienation and sanctions, three expensive wars, two hostile fronts, regular political upheaval, social unrest, sharp increases in the price of oil, and much, much more, he added.

State Bank has always ensured that the financial system of the country remains safe and stable. The robustness of our financial system is a direct consequence of the reforms process and the State Bank’s constant vigilance, he said.

There is a lot that can be improved in our financial system. He called for the development of efficient debt markets, even better regulatory and reporting practices and the broadening of the financial sector’s scope to include largely unbanked sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, small and medium enterprises and housing.

‘Despite this wish-list, the fact remains that our financial system is, by design, secure and does not pose any threat to the economy as a whole,’ he added.

The size of Pakistan’s undocumented economy is by some estimates, as large as the formal economy. The informal economy does not file taxes and while it does absorb a significant chunk of the labour force, it also evades corporate and labour laws, he said.

Although close informal relationships do make the economy more resilient, they do so at a cost to the overall economy, by eroding the ambit of the regulators.

He stressed the need for the greater integration of country’s domestic market with global markets but observed it does not mean that we should not have proper controls and mechanisms in place to safeguard our own interests. ‘Greater integration with financial markets will mean that capital will flow more quickly through our borders. It’s definitely something that will boost the national economy, but, as most East Asian countries learned in the 90s, it can be a double-edged sword.

Therefore having some capital controls in place, which reduce the volatility of capital flows, is a necessary regulation in this day and age, Anwar added.

More effective regulation is the need of the hour for our own economy, he said, adding it is an essential part of what is needed today to get the economy on a track for steady and sustainable growth.

He said the government’s footprint in some sectors of the economy was very large and quite negligible in other sectors.

Such divergence is unhealthy. Effective regulation is sorely lacking in other sectors. The tax machinery can be tightened considerably. One of the country’s most challenging problems today is the size of the fiscal deficit-and a large part of the solution lies in increasing our tax base by enacting regulation that encourages tax compliance, and punishes tax evasion, he added.

The government will need to borrow less money from the central bank. Borrowing from the central bank is popularly known as printing money, he said, adding if government borrowing from the central bank falls, inflation will follow suit.

Therefore, better tax collection is a necessary condition for faster economic growth. And for that we need to have more effective tax regulation, he added.

....


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\06\story_6-3-2013_pg5_1

Riaz Haq said...

Here's ET on Freelancer.com launch in Pakistan:

KARACHI: With a self-employment boom and double-digit growth in internet subscriptions, Pakistan has become the third highest user of freelancer.com, the world’s biggest online marketplace in terms of user base, it was revealed at the launch of the website’s local version on Tuesday.

“Pakistan is the third largest country using the website [freelancer.com], closely following India and the United States,” said Adam Byrnes, International Director at freelancer who joined the ceremony through a video call from the company’s headquarters in Sydney, Australia.

“Pakistani freelancers have already earned more than $13 million from the platform,” he said.

Freelancer’s decision to launch the local website comes on the back of strong growth in subscriptions by Pakistani freelancers. The website presently has 240,000 Pakistani users.

According to a report prepared by freelancer, self-employed Pakistanis surged from 33.3% to 39.9% between 2009 and 2012. The report attributes this surge in subscriptions to the rise in internet use in Pakistan, which saw double-digit growth in the past five years. In terms of internet growth, Pakistan stands second in the Saarc region, the report said.

“I am excited about the launch of freelancer.pk because of the potential Pakistan represents for the platform,” said Byrnes who is responsible for expanding freelancer across the world. “This [Pakistan] is a high value market for employers abroad.”

With more than 30 million internet users, five million plus broadband users and a population approaching 200 million, according to Byrnes, it makes sense to have a presence in Pakistan.

“Going forward, we want to provide self-employment for a billion people, a significant portion of that is going to come from Pakistan,” he said.

Freelancer just hit seven million users globally and 4.2 million projects were facilitated by the website, Muhammad Umer Farooq, company director responsible for managing the freelancer website told The Express Tribune on the sidelines of the event.

“An amount of $150 million has been spent so far by users of freelancer.com,” he said, adding they make money by charging commission from both the employers and the freelancers who get projects.

Interestingly, Farooq pointed out, it is not only foreigners hiring Pakistani freelancers, but Pakistani companies are also giving contracts to Pakistani freelancers registered on the website. United States is the top country awarding 38% of total projects on freelancer while Pakistan stands fifth for it awards 4% of the projects.

The idea is to enable rupee transactions for Pakistani members for which the company is in talks with local banks, both Farooq and Byrnes said. “Secondly, we are soon going to have an Urdu version of the website,” Farooq said.

IT and graphic designing (logo design) are the top two categories at freelancer. Freelancers can bid for the projects posted by employers through a simple method, he said. Given that it is one of the top countries on the website, Pakistani freelancers can benefit from exposure to the international job markets – the UK, North America, Australia and Canada.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/516239/pakistan-3rd-highest-user-of-freelancer-as-self-employment-rises/

http://www.freelancer.com/work/paid-freelance-projects-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Top four online outsourcing sites Elance.com, oDesk.com, reelancer.com, and Guru.com report that Pakistan ranks number 3, after US (#1)and India (#2), in terms of freelancers doing outsourced IT work on contract. Bangladesh ranks fourth.

It also shows US, Australia and the UK as the top hiring countries.

All of the above-mentioned websites work in a similar fashion: companies post job requirements on these sites. Next, freelancers or IT-companies offer their skills and price for the project listed on the website. Finally, the company chooses the best type of bid for its job requirements.

http://swproposal.com/Blog/Topic/How_to_work_with_Elance_oDesk_Freelancer_and_Guru

Riaz Haq said...

Forget the BRICs; Zambia, Estonia and Pakistan are the place for alpha investors, argues former Golaman Dachs executive Dambisa Moyo in a piece on Quartz.com :

The search for superior, uncorrelated risk-adjusted returns continues, and savvy investors such as endowments and family foundations are turning their attention to the frontier markets. Such markets exclude the BRICs, many of which posted sizable equity returns of over 30% last year, including Nigeria, Estonia, Pakistan, and Kenya. The MSCI Africa sub index posted one-year returns of over 60%. By comparison, the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) grew slower and sluggish—for example, around 4% on the Shanghai index and -2% on Brazil’s Bovespa.

A set of well-known factors bind these seemingly random countries. Solid debt and deficit dynamics; attractive labor trends, favorable demographics and upward mobility; and important productivity gains all make for a compelling economic growth story. However, there are two areas where perceptions of frontier economies are really changing: risk and liquidity.

In regards to risk, investors are beginning to better understand the significant benefits of delineating between risk, measurable and possible to calculate, and uncertainty, which is not. Like anywhere else, investors who can tap into on-the-ground networks and relationships have an advantage with risk management. But thankfully meaningful, the task of risk assessment has gotten easier with increases in transparency around economic and political information, data flows and widely available regulations over jurisdictions. The transition to western-styled democracy and fully transparent and liquid capital markets will be bumpy, but the uncertainty arising from these growing pains should be viewed in the context of an upwardly sloping trend line of progress which will almost certainly occur over a relatively short time line.

Correlations between frontier and developed stock market returns are around 0.75, compared to roughly 0.90 between developed and emerging economies such as the BRICs. Country risk premiums are close to those of the broader emerging markets. With proper risk management tools, this implies that investors can garner significant diversification benefits. The lower correlation between frontier and developed markets points to risk factors that are orthogonal to the global risk-on, risk-off theme that has captivated markets over the past five years. Frontier markets provide opportunities to step away from the global macroeconomic themes and focus on the micro stories on the ground, thus providing a better environment to identify unique investment opportunities. Smart investors are looking for great opportunities that are driven by company-specific issues from which they can analyze and profit.

In terms of liquidity, both equity and debt markets – international and local – have grown considerably over the last five years. Today, with a market cap of more than $1 trillion, the universe of stock markets boasts more than 8,000 listings across broad sectors with notable risk/reward profiles in financials such as banking and insurance, consumer goods, and telecommunications companies. A number of commentators erroneously believe investing in frontier markets is simply expressing a commodity trade. To assume this would be miss out on some of the more significant opportunities in these burgeoning markets such as in the logistics and telecommunication sectors. Moreover, to put a finer point on this, today Africa has almost 20 stock exchanges, with just over a thousand listed equities; more than 85% of these stocks are non-commodity related businesses....


http://qz.com/61403/forget-the-brics-frontier-markets-like-estonia-and-pakistan-are-the-place-for-alpha-investors/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on academia promoting entrepreneurship among students:

LAHORE: Government College University Lahore’s Economics Department, in collaboration with Entrepreneurial Development and Advisory Services (EDAS), Pakistan, organised a one-day seminar, on the “Role of educational institutions in entrepreneurship ecosystems”.

The seminar was attended by academia, entrepreneurs, public sector representatives and students. Speakers included renowned academics, notable business personalities and organic entrepreneurs of Pakistan. SPEL Group CEO Almas Hyder, a founding member of EDAS, introduced the topic of the seminar and spoke succinctly about the need to bridge the gap between industry and academia to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. He stressed the role of government as a facilitator of knowledge-based interaction between the university and business so that research and ideas could flow seamlessly and become economic value by means of the market. He highlighted the role EDAS had played in collaboration with GC University’s Economics Department in the introduction of the Master’s programme in Entrepreneurship and SME Management. The purpose of the course of study, he shared with the audience, was to inculcate entrepreneurial spirit in students and underscore the role played by SMEs in fostering innovation in Pakistan. Fifteen percent course graduates went on to become entrepreneurs, he said, and the goal was to turn ten percent of Ravians into entrepreneurs every year.

Amer Hashmi, himself a successful entrepreneur with global experience in business creation and management and currently the Adviser to Rector National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) and President, NUST Global Think Tank Network (GTTN), delivered the keynote address. His address presented a comprehensive kaleidoscope of various successful initiatives taken by NUST to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. NUST’s Corporate Advisory Council (CAC), he informed the audience, was the key body in the university for consolidating the triple helix interaction and collaboration between university, business and academia.

CAC had played a key part in bridging different NUST schools with relevant industries through a unique organisational structure that ensured two-way flow of feedback and information between NUST and industry centred on industry-commissioned R&D at NUST. CAC partners included top domestic and international business and corporate entities like Indus Motors, Millat Group, Huawei Technologies, Oracle, Microsoft, Allied Bank, Interactive Group, etc.

Hashmi explained GTTN was a key initiative of NUST aimed at establishing policy research and knowledge partnerships with renowned academic and non-academic think tanks in China, US, Russia, Asia-Pacific and Middle East. The first of the planned series of think tank collaborations with Tsinghua University, Beijing, had been successfully functioning since early 2012. The vision of GTTN was to create a pool of viable policy options in critical sectors of national socio-economic development which were also regionally and globally applicable with the potential to create peace, prosperity and harmony in the region.

NUST Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was actively helping commercialise technology produced from university research and had established an advanced business incubation centre that housed companies involved in cutting edge technology business market globally. NUST had recently completed the pre-feasibility for its National Science and Technology Park (NSTP), the first proper university-hosted science park in Pakistan ...


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\13\story_13-3-2013_pg13_6

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a APP report on a traveling science expo:

Travelling expo on ‘Energy for a Sustainable World’ continues

ISLAMABAD: A two-month travelling exhibition titled ‘Energy for a Sustainable World’ is currently touring Pakistan after its launch on March 7.

French Ambassador to Pakistan Philippe Thiebaud, the Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology Akhlaq Ahmad Tahar and the Chairman of the Pakistan Science foundation Prof Dr Manzoor Soomro launched the expo.

The expo is intended to raise awareness among the Pakistani population, especially the young generation, about the importance of access to energy for emerging countries like Pakistan, a statement of the French embassy said.

It explained crucial ideas such as energy efficiency, the science of maximising benefits from energy sources and renewable energy at the local, regional and international levels.

The exhibition consists of 13 free standing panels and 12 interactive experiments dedicated to various themes such as energy and development, climate change and the diversity of energy sources.

The travelling expo is the result of a tripartite partnership, which started five years ago between the French Embassy in Islamabad, the Centre Sciences of Orleans and the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF).

It started in 2008 with the first expo dedicated to ‘Mathematics’, different themes have since then been explored by the partners such as ‘The Environment’ in 2009, ‘Biodiversity’ in 2010 and ‘Chemistry’ in 2012.

This year the exhibition on ‘Energy’ will be presented in six different cities in Pakistan (Islamabad, Muzzafarabad, Peshawar, Gujrat, Larkana and Quetta).


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\24\story_24-3-2013_pg5_10

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on graduation at Rawalpindi's Arid University which specializes in promoting in farming on rain-fed land:

1580 students were awarded degrees, while 39 were decorated with medals in the 14th convocation of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) here on Thursday.
28 graduates got gold medals, seven silver medals, four bronze medals, while 14 students got PhD degrees. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission was the guest of the day while His Excellency Choongjoo Choi, Ambassador of South Korea was the Guest of Honor. Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Vice Chancellor of PMAS-AAUR was the chief guest on the occasion.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission, said in his address that the Universities’ faculties have great potential and HEC is trying its best to provide all opportunities to facilitate them. He said HEC would continuously support institutions of higher learning. Dr. Mukhtar congratulated the graduates and expressed the views that the students are the future of Pakistan and “can make Pakistan prosper through the art of education andtechnology. It is the dire need of the time to promote education at higher level in the country and universities are source of creation of new dimensions in the field of research &knowledge.” He emphasized that students must contribute for the development of country. He also lauded the efforts of the University administration for research based education.
Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, PMAS-AAUR in his address said that University stood 7th in HEC ranking out of a 116 universities of Pakistan whereas among agriculture universities PMAS-AAUR achieved 2nd position. He further said that last year the university started two new degree programs BS Forestry and Ph.D. Computer Science, in addition to this various short-term training courses were also arranged for the farmers of the area to strengthen the ties between the university and the community at large. Dr. Ahmad also asked the gathering to create favourable environment for research, brace cooperation with national and international R & D organisations. While sharing the future plan, Vice Chancellor said the university administration is going to establish a new Faculty of Agriculture Engineering and Pak-Korea Capacity Building Centre for Agriculture & Livestock Technology with the help of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The total cost of the project is US $ 3.5 million, he concluded.
His Excellency Choongjoo Choi, Ambassador of South Korea, offered assurances that the Korean Embassy would do its best to enhance the development of Pakistan. While discussing agriculture and livestock he said that these are the backbone of a country and students must play their role in the agricultural development of Pakistan.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\29\story_29-3-2013_pg11_3

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story about a new industrial automation school in Pakistan:

LAHORE: Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) aims at establishing Pakistan Institute of Industrial Automation (PIIA) in order to render a training platform to consummate the shortage of skilled manpower in the local automation industry.



A company spokesperson on Thursday said that a pervasive baseline assessment has revealed the dearth of formally trained workforce for equipment maintenance, troubleshooting, installation and programming of equipment.



The PIIA will not only act as an ordained institute for manpower training but will also steer the planning and implementation of programmable logical controller (PLC) and industrial automation projects in the country. The institute will extend consultation and advisory services acting as an adept solution provider for industrial automation problems faced by the industry. The spokesperson said that PIIA will also substantiate the concept of industrial incubation under which, infrastructural support and consultancy will be extended to the automation equipment manufacturers or suppliers for setting up or upgrade their own labs and production units.



Figures from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reveal that the import of modern machinery and equipment during 2010-11 was worth $6,547 million, which then rose to $7,167 million in 2011-12.



The accelerating figures indicate that the mounting demand of PLC-based systems in Pakistani industry. Besides a large number of factories and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in various sectors are shifting towards programmable logical controllers to manage their operations.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-168011-Tusdec-aims-to-establish-Pakistan-Institute-of-Industrial-Automation

Riaz Haq said...

A recent UNESCO report shows that Pakistan had 162 science and tech researchers per million people in 2009, a 2X increase from from 80 in 2005.

http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=3587&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=5860&BR_Region=40535

By contrast India had 152 S&T researchers per million inhabitants in 2009, up from 136 in 2005.

http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=3587&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=3560&BR_Region=40535

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a blog post from Scientific American:

Our class was recently asked whether or not we felt particle physics research should receive public funding. The majority of us were opposed, our reasons being that such research has no practical value. An instrument as sophisticated and expensive as a particle collider is surely a waste of a nation’s resources.

So it might come as a surprise that plans to build a synchrotron particle collider in Jordan have received overwhelming support from countries in the Middle East, including Iran, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Scientific discovery is not the only goal being pursued. Those involved hope that this installation, appropriately dubbed SESAME (for Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), will open lines of communication between countries that would not normally work together, and possibly inspire peace.

In John Horgan’s The End of War, he argues that war can be eradicated by simply choosing peace. To support his argument he cites Muzafer Sherif’s famous Robbers Cave Experiment, in which twenty-two fifth-grade boys in a camp were divided into two groups, Rattlers and Eagles, and kept apart for a week, each group growing suspicious of the “others.”

When brought together to compete in games, the groups were alarmingly violent toward one another, having been “manipulated into hating and fighting.” However, once the groups were presented with problems that could only be solved by cooperating with one another, the violence ceased, and they eventually became friends. Sherif saw these interactions as evidence that “traditionally hostile groups can overcome their differences if they are bound together by [a common goal].”

This idea inspired Stanford University physicist Herman Winick more than a decade ago to suggest the synchrotron being dismantled in Germany be sent to the Middle East instead of being scrapped. In the same way that the boys in Sherif’s experiment could only rent a movie if everyone contributed money, a project as expensive as SESAME can only be achieved with funding from multiple countries.

As of 2012, Iran, Israel, Jordan and Turkey have agreed to make contributions of $5 million each to fund the project, which will be based in Jordan and is expected to open in 2015. Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority are willing to give $5 million and $2 million respectively, and Egypt and the United States are both considering making contributions. The project has also been donated spare parts from a number of countries following Germany’s example, and has received funding from the European Union (Science Diplomacy).


http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2013/04/08/synchrotron-project-brings-together-unlikely-partners-in-middle-east/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on US Davis involvement in develop ag tech in Pakistan:

UC Davis is taking the lead on the graduate education component of an innovative project to modernize agriculture in Pakistan.
The four-year, $30 million Agricultural Innovation Project will work to improve management practices and productivity of the livestock, horticulture and grains grown in Pakistan, in turn improving the economy and creating a brighter future for its people.

"It's a fantastic project," said Jim Hill, associate dean for international programs with the UCD College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "I'm thrilled that UC Davis will head the human capacity development, educating the agricultural leaders Pakistan needs to advance its agriculture sector."

The project was launched recently by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council.

UCD will receive $5.2 million, $4.5 million of which will fund placing some 14 Pakistani master of science and and doctorate students in U.S. land-grant universities where they are best suited. With its expertise in agriculture, UCD will likely land many of those students.

UCD will also work to improve horticulture production in Pakistan by helping farmers grow more high-quality perennial crops and by creating better postharvest technology. UCD will also help Cooperative Extension specialists in Pakistan develop electronic systems for delivering agricultural information to farmers.

Agriculture is vital to Pakistan's economic development. With more 187 million people, Pakistan is the sixth-most populated country in the world.
"Higher education in agriculture is dismally low in Pakistan and the recent turmoil hasn't helped," Hill said. "Pakistan's agricultural issues are very similar to those in the western United States, such as the impact of climate change on irrigation and other water issues, which is another reason UC Davis is so well suited to provide the agricultural education they need."

In addition to the education component, USAID will sponsor research to encourage adoption of new technologies such as laser land leveling, zero tillage, residue management and introducing short-duration legumes into rice-wheat cropping systems.

UCD and PARC will form a committee in May to select students who will begin graduate studies in the United States as early as 2014.


http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_23125530/uc-davis-leads-education-program-aid-agriculture-pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Thane Richard, a Brown University student who did a semester abroad at St. Stephens College in India:

“Wait, what?! You are studying here for three years just so you can go do it again for four more years?” I could not grasp the logic of this. What changed my understanding was when I started taking classes at St. Stephen’s College. Except for one, they were horrible.
This was not an isolated incident — all my fellow exchange students concurred that the academics were a joke compared to what we were used to back home. In one economic history class the professor would enter the room, take attendance, open his notebook, and begin reading. He would read his notes word for word while we, his students, copied these notes word for word until the bell sounded. Next class he would find the spot where the bell had interrupted him, like a storyteller reading to children and trying to recall where he had last put down the story. He would even pause slightly at the end of a long sentence to give us enough time to finish writing before he moved on. And this was only when he decided to show up — many times I arrived on campus to find class abruptly cancelled. Classmates exchanged cell phone numbers and created phone trees just to circulate word of a cancelled class. I got a text almost daily about one of my classes. My foreigner peers had many similar experiences.
---------------
To pause for a moment, here is the problem with me talking about this topic: right now many Indians reading this are starting to feel defensive. “Nationalist” is a term I have heard as a self-description as they defend Mother India from the bigoted, criticising foreigner. They focus on me rather than the problem. I have had people unfriend me on Facebook and walk out on meals because I politely expressed an opinion on politics or history that went against the publicly consented “Indian opinion.” For a nation that prides itself on the 17 languages printed on its currency, I am greeted with remarkable intolerance. Even after living in India for close to three years, attending an Indian college, working for an Indian company, founding an Indian company, paying taxes in India, and making India my home, I am not Indian enough to speak my mind. But in a nation that rivals all others in the breadth of its human diversity, who is Indian enough? Because if loyalty and a feeling of patriotism were the barometers for “Indianness,” rather than skin colour or a government document, then I would easily be a dual U.S.-Indian citizen. This Indian defensiveness is false nationalism. It is not a stance that cares about India, it is one that cares about what others think of India, which is not nationalism. That is narcissism.
My voice should be drowned out by the millions around me who are disappointed with how they have been short-changed by the Indian government — their government. Education is one of the most poignant examples of this and serves as great dinner conversation amongst the elite:
“The Indian education system is lost in the past and failing India.” Everyone at the table nods, mumbles their concurrence, and cites the most recent Economist article or Pricewaterhouse Cooper study on the matter in order to masquerade as informed....


http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/an-indian-education/article4683622.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's India West on the lack of quality of human capital in India:

Three years after India launched the “Right to Education” act, more than half of the nation’s primary school students cannot read a second grade book, revealed Pratham, India’s largest non-profit education organization, in its annual ASER survey.

About 96 percent of India’s children are enrolled in schools, but educational standards have been declining since 2010 — when the RTE was implemented — noted the 2012 ASER report, which surveyed almost 600,000 children in 28 states in India. The ASER survey revealed that only a quarter of Indian students in third grade can do a simple two-digit subtraction problem, down from more than one-third in 2010.

In the country that produced the renowned mathematician Srinivas Ramanujan, less than one-quarter of 5th grade students surveyed could do a simple three-digit by one-digit division problem, down from more than one-third in 2010.

The Right to Education act guarantees an education to all of India’s children, from ages six to 14. Private schools must reserve a quarter of their seats for low-income children and schools must be built in rural areas, according to the mandates of the act, which also state that adequate toilet facilities and clean drinking water must be made available for every student.

“We have got a lot of children into schools, but we must now take a re-look of how we teach and what we teach,” Madhav Chavan, founder of Pratham, told India-West before an Apr. 22 Pratham “Meet and Greet” event in New York, where supporters of the organization, including many Indian Americans, were invited to share their views on Indian education.



Read more at http://www.indiawest.com/news/10782-india-s-education-crisis-more-than-half-of-5th-graders-can-t-read.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a PakistanToday report on Pak students' competition to build fuel-efficient car:

RAWALPINDI - Top universities from Pakistan unveiled their hand-built fuel-efficient vehicles for the Shell Eco-marathon Asia at a launch ceremony held at NUST in Rawalpindi. The event has put Pakistani teams on track for the competition at the Sepang F-1 track in Kuala Lumpur in July 2013. There, they will compete with over 130 teams from 16 countries to see whose vehicle can go the farthest on one litre of fuel.
Teams from NUST, UET-Peshawar, UET-Jamshoro, NED, Air University, GIK, PNEC and FAST are registered to compete in the event at Malaysia. Some of these teams were present at the NUST launch event to showcase a range of new and improved vehicles, running on a variety of fuels.
On the occasion, Shell Pakistan Limited Managing Director Omar Sheikh said, “Pakistan and the world face an energy challenge, and Shell is well positioned to help people meet their energy needs through efficient and performance-driven products. Competitions like the Shell Eco-marathon are opportunities for students to be a part of the dialogue and the solution to our energy challenges.”
A panel of judges from academic, media, industry and government sectors inspected the vehicles at the launch event. Awards were given for Safety to UET-Peshawar for their Prototype vehicle; for the best mileage to NUST for their Urban Concept vehicle; GIK’s prototype vehicle won an award for reducing their ecological footprint the most, while the innovation prize was awarded to UET-Peshawar’s Urban Concept vehicle. Two novelty awards were given to AIR University and HITEC for their out-of-the-box designs.
Major General Obaid Bin Zakria, commandant NUST College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering added, “Today’s event is a chance for Pakistani teams to test their vehicles and ensure they are well-prepared for a tough competition at the Shell Eco-marathon in Malaysia this year. The students have already displayed a great deal of drive and creativity in transforming innovative ideas into reality, and we hope they continue to display the same enthusiasm as they represent Pakistan and their universities.”
Pakistan was the first country from the subcontinent to represent teams at the Shell Eco-marathon in Berlin 2009, followed by 20 teams in the 2010 Kuala Lumpur competition, the highest from Asia. In 2012, for the first time, two Pakistani teams were top performers; a team from NED came at fourth position in the Ethanol Prototype category, while a team from NUST came eighth in the Urban Concept gasoline category. In 2013, 13 teams from Pakistan will participate in the Kuala Lumpur event.


http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/05/21/news/profit/pakistani-universities-showcase-fuel-efficient-vehicles/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story on college degrees in America:

Last year, 33.5 percent of Americans ages 25 to 29 had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 24.7 percent in 1995, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 1975, the share was 21.9 percent. The number of two-year college degrees, master’s degrees and doctorates has also risen recently.

The increases appear to be driven both by a sharp rise in college enrollment and by an improvement among colleges in graduating students. The trends could bring good news in future years, economists say, as more Americans become qualified for higher-paying jobs as the economy recovers.

College attendance has increased in the past decade partly because of the new types of jobs that have been created in the digital age, which have increased the wage gap between degree holders and everyone else. The recent recession, which pushed more workers of all ages to take shelter on college campuses while the job market was poor, has also played a role.

“Basically, I was just barely getting by, and I didn’t like my job, and I wanted to do something that wasn’t living dollar to dollar,” said Sarah O’Doherty, 24, a former nail salon receptionist who will graduate next month from the County College of Morris in New Jersey with a degree in respiratory therapy. “After I had my son, I wanted to do something I felt passionate about, to have a career.”

The attainment of bachelor’s degrees has risen much faster for young women in the past decade than for young men. It has also risen among young whites, blacks and Hispanics, though relatively little among Asians, who already had the highest rate of college completion. The share of people with a college degree also varies tremendously by state, with 48.1 percent of people ages 25 to 34 in Massachusetts holding a bachelor’s degree, but just 20.4 percent in Nevada, according to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, a research and development center founded to improve management at colleges
--------
The unemployment rate for graduates of four-year colleges between the ages of 25 and 34 was 3.3 percent in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For high school graduates in the same age group who had not attended college, it was 11.8 percent.

Today’s premium for college degrees is caused partly by increasing selectiveness among employers about whom they hire and screening based on education even for positions that do not require higher skills. But jobs themselves have changed, too.

“Think about jobs 15 years ago that didn’t need any college education,” said Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education. Many of them now do, she added.

“Maybe you don’t need a bachelor’s to change bedpans,” Ms. Baum said, “but today if you’re an auto mechanic, you really have to understand computers and other technical things.”
....


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/education/a-sharp-rise-in-americans-with-college-degrees.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Riaz Haq said...

The latest 2012 IQ data published by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen puts mean IQ of Pakistanis at 84 and of Indians at 82.2, and Bangladeshis at 81.

Each country has big std deviations and large positive outliers.

The highest IQs are reported for East Asia (100+) and the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (just over 70).

https://lesacreduprintemps19.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/intelligence-a-unifying-construct-for-the-social-sciences-richard-lynn-and-tatu-vanhanen.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Nation report on Pakistan's rising research publications in international journals:

Pakistan has witnessed, an impressive 50 per cent increase in the number of research publications during just the last two years, going up from 3939 to 6200 in the higher education sector of Pakistan.

This has been the second highest increase worldwide. Scimago, the world's leading research database, forecast that if this research trend from Pakistan continues, then by 2018, Pakistan will move ahead 26 notches in world ranking, from 43 to 27, and for the first time ever, will cross Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand in Asia. Today Pakistan is publishing more research papers per capita than India.
The number of PhD faculty at our public universities has also increased by almost 50%, from 4203 to 6067 in just the last 2 years alone. This is the result of the HEC PhD scholars that have started returning back and joining universities. These scholars are being selected for pursuing studies at leading universities of the academically advanced countries through a well-defined open, transparent and merit based mechanism.
About 10 to 15 scholars are completing their PhDs every week and are being placed by HEC at the universities under Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs Programme (IPFP). Other HEC incentives include a 0.5 million research grant to every returning scholar. Currently, there are hundreds of fresh foreign PhDs currently inducted into various universities across the country.
The number of PhD students enrolled at the universities has increased by over 40% in just the last one year, from 6937 to 9858 students, while over 28122 students are registered for MPhil/MS, up from 16960, an increase of 65% in just two years.
The increase in the number of PhDs awarded is again very similar, from 628 to 927 in the last 3 years, and will surge exponentially in the future as more PhD faculty and students join the universities.
Commenting on these developments, Dr. Javaid R. Laghari Chairperson HEC said that Universities are the single most important producers of knowledge and research that leads to innovation and entrepreneurship.
By introducing innovation, creativity and interdisciplinary research as a vital component of teaching, and with knowledge exchange programs, the university contributes more directly to the economy and the society than many other institutions in the country.


http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/islamabad/24-Jun-2013/pakistan-becomes-major-player-in-world-research

http://www.scimagojr.com/


http://www.scimagojr.com/countryrank.php?area=0&category=0&region=all&year=all&order=it&min=0&min_type=it

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from Time magazine's story (titled The Original Genius Bar) of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton which captures the history of R&D in America:

Founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner, an educational theorist, and siblings Louis Bamberger and Caroline Bamberger Fuld, department-store moguls who provided the initial endowment of $5 million, the institute was meant to counteract a trend in the U.S. toward applied science. Dubbed an "intellectual hotel" by one director, J. Robert Oppenheimer, it was a magnet during World War II for mathematicians and physicists, including Einstein, who were fleeing the Nazis. The early decades of the institute's history, just before and after the war, coincided with a formative period for science in the U.S., when MIT morphed from a technical school into a place for ambitious research and AT&T's Bell Labs invented the transistor. Men like von Neumann, who created game theory, Oppenheimer, the chain-smoking father of the atomic bomb, and Kennan, an architect of U.S. foreign policy toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War, turned the institute into a hub for academics who had a direct line to Washington. When historian George Dyson was growing up there in the 1950s and '60s--his father Freeman Dyson was working on, among other things, a way to propel spacecraft by exploding nuclear bombs beneath them--he recalls, "If you spilled your food at the table, you were going to hit somebody who could go to the telephone and call the President of the United States."

Today the institute employs 28 permanent faculty members in schools of history, math, social science and natural sciences, along with roughly 200 visiting members who are selected for research fellowships of one to five years. Some 80% of the institute's operating expenses are funded by income from its endowment, which has been supplemented since the Bamberger days by donors including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former trustee. (The campus now includes a Bloomberg Hall.) The rest of the operating budget comes from grants from private foundations and the government, mostly the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and NASA. As director, Dijkgraaf answers to a board of trustees that includes former Harvard dean Benedict Gross, Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein and Google's Eric Schmidt. The chairman of the board is Charles Simonyi, the billionaire philanthropist and former Microsoft executive who became a space tourist in 2007....


http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,2147285,00.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Texas TV reporters' story on visit with some high-tech Pak graduates of UT Austin in Lahore:

LAHORE, Pakistan (KXAN) - It was a beautiful late winter day in Pakistan. The Zacky Farms outside of Lahore was busy with visitors taking advantage of the national holiday to visit the countryside.

Kids squealed with delight as they clambered onto the back of a hay truck offering free rides in front of the farm. Just inside the white washed front gates framed by butter-cream yellow walls accented with ceramic mosaics in shades of blue, tables were set for an outdoor feast.

Our delegation of was visiting Zacky Farms to learn about the sustainable agriculture trends becoming popular in Pakistan. Zacky was a model for turning biogas into power the growing operation that produces organic dairy products, vegetables, and wheat along with free range chickens.

Here, cutting-edge science and technology were being used to rethink how farms are run. I guess it should have come as no surprise I’d run into University of Texas Longhorns using their knowledge and expertise to plant the seeds for a stronger workforce to power Pakistan’s emerging tech industry.

Longhorns in Lahore

“We have really high-powered engineering teams here in Lahore,” said Abbas Yousafzai, CEO of Conrad Labs. a Lahore company specializing in engineering and development support for high tech start-up companies.

Conrad launched in 2009 as the research and development arm for Conformity -- now known as Iron Stratus -- an identity management and internet based single-sign-on startup in Austin.

Yousafzai, a University of Texas at Austin graduate with more than a decade of experience launching successful startups in Austin and California’s Silicon Valley says returning to his native Pakistan was a strategic that allows his company access to a vast network of untapped talent.

“The dedication the intelligence, the amount of talent here, commitment experience, it’s fantastic. You can’t find that anywhere else,” Yousafzai said.

Babar Ahmed, a fellow Longhorn, and CEO of Mindstorm Studios agreed.

“There are a lot of these pockets of brilliance that really come to life in Pakistan that just do these amazing things,” Ahmed said pointing to his company’s success creating games like Mafia Farm, Whacksy Taxi and Cricket Revolution for mobile devices and PCs as proof.

“Our games have hit No. 1 n the United States sitting in Lahore.” said Ahmed. "We did it all out of a room on our own.”

Mindstorm developers also created Cricket Power, The Official Game of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. A high-profile coup that validated what some saw as Ahmed’s risky decision to leave a successful career in the United States to launch a business in Pakistan in 2006.

“If you were to say: ‘Hey, how is it coming back to Pakistan is it all a bed of roses?’ Of course it’s not,” admitted Ahmed, who believes the challenges are worth the reward not only for his company but the growing software, gaming, and animation community in Pakistan.

“Giving people that opportunity, to provide them that chance to try and compete and succeed globally that’s really fulfilling,” he added with a wide smile....


http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/austin-to-pakistan-the-tech-connection

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a National Geographic story on sustainable farming in Pakistan:

Zacky Farms, just outside Lahore, is the brainchild of Zafar Khan, a Caltech-educated software engineer who runs one of the most successful information technology companies in Pakistan named Sofizar. What started off as a recreational venture is now a side-business supplying sustainably produced organic milk, vegetables and meat to nearby Lahore suburbs. The farm is modeled on a cyclical model of minimal wastes and multiple product usage. The cows are fed pesticide-free oats, clover and grass and their manure is used to fuela biogas plant which runs the dairy facility. In an era of electricity load-shedding, such an alternative source of energy at a local industrial scale is immensely valuable to replicate as a development path. The residue of the biogas is used to fertigate the fodder fields and vegetable tunnels, which along with green manuring obviates the use of fertilizers. Free-range chickens grace the fields and there is even a fish farm on site. Zafar and his Ukrainian-born wife are committed to sharing their experiences with other farming entrepreneurs in the country.

Further south in a more rural and remote part of Punjab, famed writer and erstwhile lawyer, Daniyal Mueenudin, maintains a mid-size farm which is exemplifying other kinds of innovations. The farm does not boast ecological farming practices, apart from tunnel farming that can help with land conservation and humidity control. However, Daniyal has changed the social landscape of his area through implementing a “living wage” for all his employees. Noting the high level of inequality in Pakistan’s hinterland, the Yale-educated former director of the university’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, is practicing what he preached. He also owns a farm in Wisconsin and could have a comfortable life in the States but his social obligations keep him ensconced in Pakistan for most of the year.

Raising the wage several-fold for works and farm manager, and also offering bonus incentives for performance, has led to positive competition that can help to erode the feudal levels of income disparity which exist in this part of Pakistan. At the same time, Daniyal is also committed to providing new livelihood paths for the agrarian workers as automation reduces farm employment in some areas. He has has fully funded a school and provided a merit-based scholarship for advanced degrees to students from the nearby village. One of the children from this school (the first in her family to even go to school) is now making his way through medical school in Lahore!

Zafar and Daniyal’s stories of commitment to constructive farming for social and ecological good may appear to be outliers but they are catching on and provide hope to a country which is all too often shadowed by despair. In the suburbs of Islamabad, tax incentives and planning rules to encourage farming by urbanites are leading to a growing culture of reconnecting with the land in residential farms. In rural areas, the disaster caused by the floods of 2010 brought forth numerous aid agencies with new ideas for sustainable farming. The Pakistani diaspora, often known in the West for professions ranging from taxi-driving to engineering, may well find opportunities for reconnecting to their land in far more literal ways. With growing commitment from land-owners it just might be possible to use the existential shock of recent natural disasters that have befallen the country into a proverbial opportunity for positive change.


http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/23/farming-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story of a Pakistani tech entrepreneur recognized at MIT:

Farhan Masood, who has been recognised among the world’s brilliant minds by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Enterprise Forum earlier this year for his product – world’s fastest retina and face scanner algorithm called SmartXS.
Masood’s dream – to build a Pakistani product and turn it into a global one – came true this year after he won the MITEFP Business Acceleration Plan contest, a highly competitive annual event that lasts for 4 months to handpick and select one among hundreds and there is one such brilliant mind produced every year by BAP from Pakistan. The objective of BAP is to help Pakistani IT, ITES, telecom and new media companies improve their business.
Of the 165 participants that compete in this contest, some members of top teams also get a chance to attend an entrepreneurship development programme at MIT in Cambridge, USA.

After a winning performance in the contest, Masood joined the list of MIT alumni. He has just returned after attending a course at MIT, one of the world’s best educational institutes. Those who attended this programme previously had benefited a great deal.
According to Pakistan Software Export Board’s website, some of the companies that participated in this programme saw their revenues grow by 5 to 10 times and valuation increase by 15 times. Giving the example of Sofizar, the PSEB’s website stated that the company’s revenue increased from less than $1 million to $30 million in two and a half years.
Masood, too, seem to benefit from the programme as his product has been well received by both MITEFP and the industries worldwide. “MIT Enterprise Forum has done tech evaluation of SmartXS, which is a big achievement,” Masood told The Express Tribune. “When your product is recognised by MIT, there is not much you can ask for.”
Interestingly, the man behind this technology is a college dropout who hated math for he was weak in the subject. “I have got all of this achievement because of my passion,” the 36-year-old Lahorite said.
Masood is the CEO of Solo Smart that’s based in Lahore and has offices in the UK and USA, represented by its subsidiaries namely Solo Tech and Solo Metrics respectively. It also has an office in Australia.
“We are trying to bring all these companies under one name – Solo Metrics. It is a high-tech company that deals in Mechatronics – a combination of software, electrical and mechanical engineering,” he said.
SmartXS is a biometric verification system that uses human face and eye to verify his identity, Masood said, and works mainly in two spaces – workforce management and security access control.
“Our algorithm is very fast,” he said while claiming it is the world’s fastest retina and face scanner algorithm.
The product was first brought to life in 2005 and its hardware was as big as a refrigerator, but now it’s smaller than a PC, Masood said. It has started to get worldwide recognition.
He said his product is currently used by the National Database and Registration Authority, the Pakistan Army and many multinational groups including Pepsico, Nestle and Tetra Pak. These companies are in talks with Masood for the implementation of the technology in their global operations....


http://tribune.com.pk/story/576597/mit-recognises-pakistani-as-one-of-worlds-brilliant-minds/

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan to launch Science TV channel, reports Daily Times:

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Science Club (PSC) has launched beta version of Pakistan’s first science, technology, innovation and educational television, Techtv.pk, which will be fully functional by August 14.
Pakistan PSC President Abdul Rauf told APP that with the launch of this channel, people would be able to access significant amounts of information with reference to any topic in a short time through different programmes.
He said today television has become an important part of people’s life as a source of information, entertainment, a great tool for learning and education, and communications.
Many different programme genres have been used to address diverse audiences for a variety of formal and non-formal learning purposes with scientifically measured results, he said.
Abdul Rauf said the channel would air educational programmes in all subjects, including physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and zoology, offering an excellent opportunity for young people to learn.
“In remote villages, it will help spread education to willing students through distance learning. Educational television will educate masses on hygiene, literacy, childcare and farming methods or on any topic related to day to day happenings,” he said.
PSC President said Techtv.pk would cover all events from Pakistan related to science and technology and educational activities.
It will also offer free online courses of web application development, DIY (do it yourself) projects, project management and other science and technology topics.
He said Techtv.pk also has an entertainment category with science fiction movies, cartoons and science entertainment programmes.
The channel will cover science and technology educational activities in addition to popularising the subjects through disseminating the relevant information and latest progress to students and common people.
Rauf said this television channel can prove to be very useful, easy to access at anytime from anywhere and users can access a significant amount of information with reference to any topic in a short time regardless of geographic barriers, allowing them to consult different points of view as well as hands-on experience through different DIY (do it yourself) projects.
The channel will use interactive and innovative programmes for this purpose that cover topics of science, chemistry, physics, education, technology, DIY projects, e-learning, documentaries, news, interviews, events, experiments and entertainment.
“The main objective of this web TV is to promote scientific culture and the youth’s interest in science, technology and innovations. The channel would also popularise science for laymen and students, seeking to cultivate the spirit of scientific inquiry and the love of learning in its audience,” said Abdul Rauf.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013%5C08%5C07%5Cstory_7-8-2013_pg11_4

Anonymous said...

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_HumanCapitalReport_2013.pdf

Human capital ranking

India:78
Bangladesh:110
Pakistan:112

Your comments?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Human capital ranking India:78 Bangladesh:110 Pakistan:112
Your comments?"

To see my assessment, please read my post "Human Capital Growth in Pakistan"

http://www.riazhaq.com/2013/03/human-capital-growth-in-pakistan.html

Here are a few excerpts:

With nearly 16% of its population in 25-34 years age group having college degrees, Pakistan is well ahead of India and Indonesia, according to Global Education Digest 2009 published by UNESCO Institute of Statistics. UNESCO data also shows that Pakistan's lead is growing with younger age groups.

By comparison, a little over 12% of Indians and 9% of Indonesians in 25-34 years age group have completed tertiary education. In 35-44 years age group, 11% of Pakistanis, 9% of Indians and 8% of Indonesians have completed college education. The report shows that 3% of Pakistanis and 1% of Indians have completed tertiary education abroad.

Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jhong-wa Lee offer similar insights into educational attainment in Asia and the rest of the world. As of 2010, there are 380 (vs 327 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis age 15 and above who have never had any formal schooling. Of the remaining 620 (vs 673 Indians) who enrolled in school, 22 (vs 20 Indians) dropped out before finishing primary school, and the remaining 598 (vs 653 Indians) completed it. There are 401 (vs 465 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis who made it to secondary school. 290 (vs 69 Indians) completed secondary school while 111 (vs. 394 Indians) dropped out. Only 55 (vs 58 Indians) made it to college out of which 39 (vs 31 Indians) graduated with a degree.

Pakistan's human capital development has been driven over the years starting with the Green Revolution technologies in 1960s to nuclear development program in 1980s and information and telecom revolution in 2000s. More recently, there has been growing interest in biotechnology and robotics. Completion of the first human genome project has spawned more than 200 life sciences departments at Pakistani universities. US drones have angered and fascinated many in Pakistan to go into robotics at 60 engineering colleges and universities in Pakistan. These revolutions have inspired large numbesr of young Pakistanis to study courses in business and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields and swell the ranks of scientists and professionals.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News report about access to Ivy League school courses in Pakistan:

Any student sitting in Pakistan within the comfort of his bedroom or the ease of his armchair having a smartphone or a personal computer and an internet connection will now be able to access courses taught in the classrooms of Harvard, Yale, Stanford and MIT universities.

The Latif Ebrahim Jamal National Science Information Centre of the Karachi University (KU) launched a website, which will connect students in Pakistan to video lectures of professors at Ivy League universities of the world.

The web portal called the LEJ Knowledge Hub will hold thousands of full courses (0.5 lecture hours), skill development modules, research-based lectures and online mentoring lessons for school and university levels. All of this will be for free.

“Pakistan is among the first few countries of the world to launch such an initiative. History is being written right now,” said Dr Iqbal Chaudhry, the director of KU’s International Centre of Chemical and Biological Sciences, at a ceremony hosted at the Governor House on Thursday. President Mamnoon Hussain was the chief guest.

Students who log onto the website can choose if they want to be accredited for these courses or not. “I ask all educationists in the public and private sector universities to use this facility and include these internationally recognised courses in their curriculum,” Chaudhry said.

Schools can also access the portal as video tutorials from the Khan Academy have also been accommodated in the website.

Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, a former chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC), said the website would bring about a new paradigm for Pakistan. “Universities are not about beautiful buildings, they are about beautiful minds,” he said. “Education is the only means of survival and our country has 40 percent children out of school.”

He shared a presentation titled “Higher Education: an Imperative for Social Development”, in which he highlighted what was lacking in Pakistani universities. At MIT, he claimed, graduates have started 4,000 new companies which employ 1.1 billion people. In Korea, only 5 percent of youth had university degrees till the 1960, but by 2010, 95 percent of its youth had attained higher education. Their imports increased over 350 times.

He was also hopeful that the status of the HEC would be restored, as in all countries higher education was a federal subject.

Philanthropist Aziz Latif Jamal, whose father established the LEJ centre, said: “We are one of the first countries to launch a website like the LEJ Knowledge Hub, but Pakistan has a lot of challenges ahead. Our literacy rate is a sorry 56 percent, we have untrained teachers and professors and a single digit education budget. If we are not ready to address these challenges then we are merely paying lip service to the cause of education at a time when our youth bulge is drifting towards militancy and crime.”

The president advised educational institutions to increase their pace of development so that it quenches the thirst for knowledge present in the youth of Karachi. “There was a time when business families of the city tried to outdo each other in their service to education. That is why we had the Ayesha Bawani Academy, Adamjee College and Dawood Engineering and Technology College. I pray those times return to Karachi.”

The government, he added, would resolve the pending status of the HEC and “salvage it from being ruined”.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-219774-Harvard-Yale-MIT-All-are-now-just-a-

Riaz Haq said...

In addition to the economic revival, Musharraf focused on social sector as well. Pakistan's HDI grew an average rate of 2.7% per year under President Musharraf from 2000 to 2007, and then its pace slowed to 0.7% per year in 2008 to 2012 under elected politicians, according to the 2013 Human Development Report titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”.


Overall, Pakistan's human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent. Going further back to the  decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP,  the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.



Acceleration of HDI growth during Musharraf years was not an accident.  Not only did Musharraf's policies accelerate economic growth, helped create 13 million new jobs, cut poverty in half and halved the country's total debt burden in the period from 2000 to 2007, his government also ensured significant investment and focus on education and health care. The annual budget for higher education increased from only Rs 500 million in 2000 to Rs 28 billion in 2008, to lay the foundations of the development of a strong knowledge economy, according to former education minister Dr. Ata ur Rehman. Student enrollment in universities increased from 270,000 to 900,000 and the number of universities and degree awarding institutions increased from 57 in 2000 to 137 by 2008. In 2011, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the various PSUs including Pakistan Steel and PIA, both of which  continue to sustain huge losses due to patronage-based hiring.


http://vimeo.com/84504051

http://www.riazhaq.com/2014/01/musharraf-accelerated-financial-and.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on educating Pakistani workers on value added agriculture:

The scope of corporate farming in Pakistan is growing, showing even greater potential for this sector in the coming years, mainly due to product diversification from many local and multinationals in food, beverages and dairy segments. But are the human resources of Pakistan related to this particular sector ready to convert threats in to opportunities, in terms of technology, innovation, researches.
For local companies and corporate farmers, finding such human resources might be a little tough, unlike multinationals which can rely on the transfer of knowledge from their global headquarters. Take for example the recent diversifications in the juices and dairy sectors in the past few years, from local and multinational consumer goods and food companies. Although these companies are now making profits, they are perturbed by the increasing gap of knowledge and human resources.
A few universities and government/NGO-supported institutions are working in this sector, providing basic and slightly advanced education and field training to students and farmers.
“There are basically two groups at the business level in this sector, corporate farmers who don’t know how to improve productivity and make greater financial gains; and those who know about business but don’t know much about practical farming,” said Magdi Batato, Nestle Pakistan’s Managing Director, while talking with The Express Tribune. Pakistan as an agrarian economy needs to develop a class of professionals educated and trained in the relevant discipline, he added.
One such initiative however has already been taken by Lahore university of Management Sciences (Lums) with collaborations of Nestle Pakistan. Economic development, poverty alleviation, enhancing productivity, managing supply chain issues, and research for further innovations through agribusiness is what the market wants. The success of the initiative taken by Lums and Nestle might force other business schools to introduce similar or more up to date courses.
“Such courses/certifications will have a cascading effect on the market as more entrepreneurs will be formed which will deliver much better then now”, said Doctor Arif Nazir Butt, Dean Suleman Dawood School of Business, Lums.
Companies related to dairy segments like Nestle, Engro Foods, Haleeb Foods are all contributing positively in rural economy by involving local dairy farmers in their network. Many locals have started successful modern dairy farming, JDW dairies among which is a prominent example.
Companies have now started projects of modern orchard farms for their survival. This once again is providing opportunities for locals to start modern orchard and tunnel farming. This portfolio would benefit low line farmers in future in terms of technical assistance, education, innovation, though the high price factor which the end consumer will pay to buy such products, as in case of dairy segment, is another story.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/663433/agri-business-educating-executives-key-towards-growth/

Riaz Haq said...

A group of 80 scholarship winners, bound for the United States to pursue masters degrees, gathered for a pre-departure orientation on Friday evening. The event was hosted by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) at a private hotel.
While congratulating the students, USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar said, “The USEFP is pleased to be able to help talented Pakistani students like you, achieve admission to US colleges and universities. US colleges and universities welcome Pakistani students as they add to the already-rich diversity in the classroom.”
The event was a networking platform designed to prepare the students for their educational experience. Since its beginning, the USEFP has helped thousands of Pakistani students achieve their dreams of US higher education through its scholarship programmes and free-of-charge advisory services.
Education USA Advising Manager Umair Khan offered some tips to the students. He explained that professor-student relations were less formal in the United States than in Pakistani universities.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/734928/all-my-bags-are-packed-eighty-pakistani-students-all-set-for-their-voyage/

Riaz Haq said...

Around 10,000 Pakistani students will be awarded scholarships to study in different universities of Europe in the year 2015 by the European Union Education Foundation (EUEF). The first entries to the programme will be from Sindh, The Express Tribune has learnt.
“We are waiting for the final proposal from the provincial [Sindh] government,” revealed the EUEF director of scholarships programme, Yvonne Hunter. “The government is interested [this time] and I hope the plan will materialise soon.”
During her visit to Karachi last week, Hunter explained that the EUEF was established to promote higher education in developing countries. “Our aim is help in community development through self-sufficiency in the education sector by providing students from developing countries easy access to higher studies in Europe.”
The scholarship programme is not new to Pakistan. According to Azfar Bukhari who is the project manager and media co-ordinator for EUEF, they had tried to launch the programme two years ago but had been unsuccessful. “This time, however, the government is more interested,” said Bukhari hopefully.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Hunter said that her team has been assured of full cooperation by the Sindh government to make the programme a success. “Apart from the Sindh government, the government of Balochistan as well as the federal government are keen to participate,” she said. “In Pakistan, everything is very easily politicised so we want to ensure our efforts are not used as part of an electoral campaign by some political party.”
In response to a query regarding the level of interference and assistance required of the government, Hunter said: “Of course we need their assistance, but not at the cost of transparency and credibility.” She maintained that the government will only be brought on as stakeholders if they assure the EUEF of unbiased work. “We want to make the programme a success without making it controversial.”
According to the director, the foundation will award scholarships to up to 10,000 eligible students every year. These scholarships will be honoured in universities and colleges already affiliated with the EUEF across Europe. “Not to forget these scholarships will be valid till the end of the study programme, not just for the first term.”
The students will be given ample choice to select from both graduate and postgraduate degrees and higher national diplomas. The eligibility to apply to the programme is HSC or GCE A level, without a gap of more than a year during the candidate’s regular studies.
The applicants have to appear for a simple aptitude test that will be conducted by the National Testing Service. This is to test basic knowledge and English language skills. The first 10,000 high scorers will be awarded the scholarships. “We have kept the selection procedure simple and transparent to avoid any controversies. We want to accommodate as many students as possible.” Hunter explained.
According to the EUEF office bearers, the programme aims to enable Pakistani students to study abroad so that they can gain exposure of developed countries making them less vulnerable to volatile issues in their home country. “We are offering 10,000 scholarships every year for the next five years, which makes it 50,000 by the culmination of our project.” The programme will ultimately provide Pakistan with 50,000 highly skilled professionals by the time it concludes.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/744354/study-abroad-10000-pakistani-students-to-be-given-scholarships-to-study-in-europe-in-2015/

http://www.eueducationfoundation.eu/

Riaz Haq said...

From The News on Global Talent Index:

Pakistan was ranked 54 out of 60 economies in the Global Talent Index (GTI) prepared by Economist Intelligence Unit for 2015 with India occupying the 35th spot - 19 places above Pakistan. Experts cite country’s poor compulsory and university education for the dismal score.

The ranking is based on a score of 1-100 in which demographics have 11.1 percent weight compulsory education 30.8, and university education 22.2 percent, quality of the labor force 22.2 percent, talent environment 11.1 percent, openness 11.1 percent and proclivity to attracting talent 11.1 percent.

United States with a score of 74.5 percent ranks number one Global Talent Index (GTI) – a position it has been enjoying since 2007 and 2011.

Pakistan’s score in GTI 2015 was 30.8 which improvement 3.8 points over its score in GTI 2011. This increase in score has helped Pakistan climb up two positions from 54 to 56.

The GTI 2015 report says that talent remains an important component of countries’ and businesses’ long-term competitiveness. How they develop, attract and retain talent should therefore remain high on the agenda of policymakers and business leaders for the foreseeable future.

The Global Talent Index Report: The Outlook to 2015 seeks to inform their thinking by assessing talent trends around the world on two dimensions: at the international level through a benchmarking index of talent environments in 60 countries

It further pointed out that the US lead is almost one full point (on a 1-10 scale) in 2011 and 2015 over the next best performers. The country’s foremost strengths are the excellence of its universities, the high overall quality of its existing workforce and a meritocratic environment that is relatively unencumbered by restrictive labor regulation.

China rises to 31st place in the GTI in 2015 from 33rd in 2011, but more notable is the five-point improvement in its score – the largest increase in 2015 of any country in the index.

Unsure of the local availability of skilled staff, companies in Asia often recruit individuals with potentials and try to hone their skills. Creativity in overcoming challenges is the most serious shortcoming identified by executives in new and potential hires – most keenly felt in Asia

In demographics, Pakistan’s score was 56 percent, which was lower than 75.8 percent score of India and 72.8 percent of China but higher than 39.6 percent that of United States. In compulsory education, Pakistan obtained a paltry 5.9 percent compared with 81.3 percent by the US, 66.9 percent by China and 30.5 percent by India. Similarly in University education Pakistan’s score was low at 6.7 percent while it’s was 82 percent in US, 32.1 percent in China and 15.7 percent in India.

In quality of labor force Pakistan scored 34.4 percent, India 64.2 percent, China 41.2 percent and the United States 89.6 percent. In ‘talent environment,’ Pakistan’s score was 45.8 percent, India 50.4 percent, China 59.7 percent and the US100 percent. In ‘openness,’ Pakistan’s score of 51.1 percent was much better than US score of 34.1 percent and India’s score of 34.7 percent.

China’s score of 51.5 percent was slightly better than Pakistan under the head of openness. In proclivity to attracting talent Pakistan’s score was 35.8 percent which was higher than 20 percent in China and 29.9 percent in China but it was almost half of the US score of 79.1 percent.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-280240-Pakistan-ranks-54th-in-Global-Talent-Index
http://www.economistinsights.com/sites/default/files/downloads/GTI%20FINAL%20REPORT%205.4.11.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan-born Imran Aftab was traveling in 2004 when an AOL Time Warner colleague posed a rude question.

“Imran, you’re from Pakistan, yet you seem normal,” Aftab recalled. “What is the problem with the rest?”

Aftab, then director of global outsourcing at AOL, spent half an hour explaining that there was more to the millions of Pakistanis than the public perception after the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy.

“People see all bad news. I thought, ‘How can I change things even at a small scale through business?’ ”

After that trip, the chemistry major decided to use his knowledge of outsourcing at AOL to start his own business that could make money while also helping his fellow citizens in Pakistan.

The business he created is called 10Pearls, a profitable custom software company based in Herndon, Va., and Pakistan. The company has more than 150 software experts supervised by Aftab’s brother in a 33,000-square-foot office in Karachi. Only about 15 employees work in Herndon.

Aftab creates customized software for all kinds of interfaces, including mobile platforms, kiosks and Web sites. Clients include NVR, Time Warner Cable, Discovery Education, National Geographic and Zubie, a spinoff of Best Buy.

For Zubie, 10Pearls helped develop an Android and Apple application that allows people to see where their cars are located, diagnose auto repair issues and track historical routes.

Although 10Pearls is relatively small, with revenues of less than $10 million, Aftab said it has been profitable since it began 11 years ago making Web pages for handyman businesses.

The company, which Aftab calls a social experiment, reminds me of the “double bottom line” businesses that Washington sports mogul Ted Leonsis espouses. That refers to business that earns profits while accomplishing some social good.

“I see that business causes positive impact,” said Aftab, who makes three visits a year to his native country. “It can change things even at a small scale. Business is a good way for people to learn about each other.”
-----------
“I see that business causes positive impact,” said Aftab, who makes three visits a year to his native country. “It can change things even at a small scale. Business is a good way for people to learn about each other.”

The enterprise isn’t all about altruism.

Pakistan is a good candidate for outsourcing because of its large English-speaking population — 180 million or so — that is tech-savvy, has mathematical skills and whose labor costs are far below that of the United States and other developed countries.

----------
He knew the bigger money was in developing software applications, but he had to build experience first. He quit AOL Time Warner in 2005 and worked as a consultant while he grew 10Pearls.

Bigger contracts started coming in, including one from a big telecommunications firm that needed help. During the Great Recession that started in 2008, business stagnated and 10Pearls pivoted to mobile applications.

“I could see that mobile was going to grow explosively,” he said.

The company’s big break arrived in 2011, when it won a highly competitive contract to build a mobile application for Social Radar, a Washington company started by Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen. A key part of Social Radar’s business is that the app allows users to interact with people in the immediate vicinity.

The deal with Chasen helped establish 10Pearls’ credibility. That led to more and larger mobile app contracts....


http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pakistan-native-tries-to-demystify-his-native-country-with-software-start-up/2014/12/20/c897fc30-8499-11e4-b9b7-b8632ae73d25_story.html

Riaz Haq said...

(Reuters) - As one of America's top forensic scientists, Mohammad Tahir uncovered evidence that helped jail boxer Mike Tyson for rape, convict serial killer John Wayne Gacy and clear doctor Sam Sheppard of murdering his wife.

Then Tahir took on his toughest assignment yet – applying his skills in Pakistan, a poor nation of 180 million people beset by crime and militancy.

But catching criminals is not Tahir's biggest problem. It's working with the country's antiquated criminal justice system.

The very notion of producing evidence is a newfangled concept for many involved in law enforcement in Pakistan. Cases often rely on witnesses who are easily bribed or intimidated. Terrorism and murder suspects usually walk free.

So Tahir, a softly spoken man whose passions are reading and gardening, set out on a quest: to promote forensic science.

"Physical evidence does not lie, it does not perjure itself as humans do," said the dapper 65-year-old. "It is a silent witness ... We make it speak in a court of law."

Tahir, a dual Pakistani and U.S. citizen, has his own forensics lab in the Unites States. He spent 36 years working with U.S. police and helped write the FBI handbook on forensics.

In 2008, with militant attacks rising in Pakistan, Punjab's chief minister called Tahir and asked for help: to design a new $31 million forensics lab in the city of Lahore, handpick its scientists and try to enforce new standards of crime solving.

The lab was finished in 2012 and at first, business was slow. But now the lab, which is funded by Punjab state, takes around 600 cases a day, Tahir said. It could easily handle twice that if more police start sending in evidence or suspects.

"The police are not educated, they don't know our capabilities. We have to teach them," he said.

PROBLEMS WITH POLICE

The gleaming new lab quickly discovered only a tiny fraction of police knew how to secure crime scenes and collect evidence. DNA samples were moldy. Guns arrived for analysis, smeared with officers' fingerprints.

"If garbage comes in, garbage goes out," explained one scientist at the lab during a recent Reuters visit, as his masked colleague unwrapped a bone from a woman's body found in a canal.

To change that, Tahir set up localized crime scene investigation units and began training police. Now the DNA department says around half the samples they receive are packaged correctly.

"They are getting better," Tahir said. So far 3,100 police out of a force of 185,000 have been trained.

But progress is slow. Punjab Police Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera said police still secure "very few" crime scenes.

One detective was even found fingerprinting himself instead of the suspects for dozens of cases, an official working with the judicial system said.

Some police try to game the system. A prosecutor and a scientist told Reuters that police sometimes plant bullets at the crime scene and the gun on the suspect.

Courts usually treat police as unreliable. Any confession made to them is legally inadmissible because suspects are frequently tortured. Police argue they are becoming better at playing by the book.

"It used to be - you can say - a quick method of getting disclosure from the accused," said Sukhera. "(But now) I think very rarely the police torture."

Tahir has banned police from entering the lab to make sure they do not interfere with the process.

When Reuters visited the lab, police waited patiently in the basement, some clutching white cloth packages sealed with twine and red wax.

A dozen of them held bottles that were to be tested for alcohol, which is illegal in Pakistan. One had brought a pistol. Another held a box of body parts.

COURT CRISIS

Once the lab makes a report, it goes to the prosecutor. But judges, lawyers and witnesses are often threatened or killed. Courts have a backlog of more than a million cases.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/25/us-pakistan-crime-forensics-idUSKBN0KY0Z320150125

Riaz Haq said...

New Chief Executive Officer of the British Council Ciar?n Devane has visited Higher Education Commission (HEC), here to participate in the orientation event "The UK and Pakistan: Increasing Investment in Research for Higher Education."
The programme aimed to provide an opportunity to beneficiaries of the HEC-British Council collaborative education and research initiatives to meet the new CEO and benefit from his international experience and proficiency.
Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, Peter Upton, Country Director, British Council Pakistan and Dr. Mansoor Akbar Kundi, Acting Executive Director were also present, besides senior and junior level researchers from Pakistan's higher education sector.
British Council has been working with HEC Pakistan since 2004 with the launch of joint Higher Education Links programme and later on with Phase II of the same programme in 2006.
The programme has been funded by the HEC and managed by the British Council in Pakistan. To date, the British Council has built 50 research and capacity-building links between higher education institutions of Pakistani and UK.
So far, over 160 partnerships under various schemes have been funded in Pakistani universities. Some of the programmes on which HEC and British Council have cooperated include Research Partnerships, Leadership, Knowledge Exchange, Capacity Building of Senior Management of Higher Education Sector in Strategic Management, Transnational Education, Quality Assurance for Pakistani HEIs, Scholarships, Policy Dialogues, Talented Research Exchange, Split-site PhDs, and Transforming English Language Skills for Higher Education.
Speaking at the occasion, Devane said,"I am delighted to meet the academic and researcher community of Pakistan. I am grateful to HEC for inviting me to speak and to meet so many partners doing such good work together to strengthen research and higher education in Pakistan.
Its really impressive to see the great work presented by senior researchers which shows how you are bringing together some most important sectors of the society, including academics, industry, students, media, and civil society."
He said that the universities can play a very important role in stimulating and contributing to innovation and social and economic growth of any country.
This role is in addition to core missions of teaching and research, complimenting and enhancing these. "It is very promising to see that the Government of Pakistan has expanding access to higher education and has worked substantially at policy level to improve scientific research activities in Pakistan.
It is not simply about commercialization of science through creation of spin offs, licenses etc. It is so encouraging to see how British Council Pakistan and HEC have worked together to make the Pakistani universities as 21st century universities."

http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/general-news/220437-hec-british-council-to-increase-investment-in-research-for-higher-education.html

Riaz Haq said...

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has produced 8,161 PhD scholars up till 2012. As many as 10 to 15 scholars are currently completing their degrees each week, HEC Media Project Manager Murtaza Noor said on Tuesday.
As many as 1,039 scholars have completed PhDs in agriculture and veterinary sciences, 1,211 in arts and humanities, 1,692 in biology and medical science, he said. As many as 1,978 scholars have been awarded PhDs in social sciences, 1,810 in physical science, 288 in engineering and technology and 143 in business education.
“Pakistan is publishing more research papers per capita than India,” he said.
The scholars completing their PhDs are placed in different universities under the Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs Programme (IPFP), said Noor.

The HEC provides several incentives to these scholars, including a Rs0.5 million research grant to each returning scholar, he said.
“Hundreds of fresh PhDs from foreign universities are being inducted into universities across the country,” Noor said, “The number of PhD faculty in public universities has increased by almost 50 per cent…from 4,203 to 6,067 over the last two years.”
“Scholars are also being sent abroad to pursue studies in leading universities,” said Noor.
The number of PhD students enrolled in universities has increased by over 40 per cent [from 6,937 to 9,858 students] in the past year.
More than 28,122 students are registered for the MPhil/MS. The number of MPhil/MS students has increased by 65 per cent [from 16,960 to 28,122] over the past two years, he said.
The number of PhDs awarded has increased from 628 to 927 in the last three years. The number is expected to surge exponentially in the future as more PhD faculty and students join universities, Murtaza said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2013.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/577780/intellectual-boom-pakistan-is-publishing-more-research-papers-per-capita-than-india/

Riaz Haq said...

Services Trade Development Council (STDC) during its maiden meeting noted that Pakistan is the fourth largest IT service provider to the overseas clients ranked only behind US, India and Philippines with over 200,000 Pakistani professionals working in this field.
First meeting of the Services Trade Development Council took place in the Ministry of Commerce, which was chaired by the Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Commerce. The Minister said that Ministry of Commerce would put in place the regulatory framework necessary for enhancing the exports of services from Pakistan. The Council will consult the State Bank of Pakistan to devise a suitable mechanism to facilitate these IT professionals to bring the wages of their work to Pakistan directly.
In order to effectively market the Pakistani Technology industry, the Ministry of Commerce will enhance the participation of Pakistani IT companies in the international trade fares and exhibitions. The Government will also take measures to enhance the capacity of the free lancers working from their homes and small offices providing IT services to foreign clients. The Minister said that the Ministry will train its trade officers abroad to effectively market the Pakistani Technology industry.
The meeting also agreed to take necessary steps to enhance tourism especially religious tourism in the country as Pakistan hosts remains of various ancient civilisations and religions for example Indus Valley Civilisation, Gandhara, pertaining to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and other religions. The Council suggested taking measures to enhance intra-SAARC trade of services which is currently very low.
Meeting was also attended by the representative of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, Secretary Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, representatives of Pakistan Software Houses Association for Information Technology, Pakistan International Freight Forwarders Association, Travel Agents Association of Pakistan, Insurance Association of Pakistan and Constructors Association of Pakistan.

http://nation.com.pk/business/21-Jan-2015/pakistan-ranks-fourth-in-world-as-it-service-provider-to-overseas-clients

Riaz Haq said...

The second meeting of the Scholarship Management Committee, held at the HEC Secretariat on Wednesday, approved the cases of 300 shortlisted students from 11 institutions for Pakistan-US merit and needs based scholarships.

Chairing the meeting, Executive Director HEC Dr. Mansoor Akbar Kundi appreciated the collaborative efforts made by USAID for the education sector of Pakistan. He appreciated how USAID has supported HEC’s efforts to establish high-class educational centres, to build university-industry-government linkages, and internationally ranked universities, with trained faculties for increased research capacity.

Adviser Research and Development (HEC) Dr. Tariq Mahmood informed the members that the merit and needs based scholarship programme was started in 2004 in collaboration between HEC and USAID, which till date has provided 1,807 scholarships to talented and needy students. “Of these, 1400 students have completed their education and are working at local and multinational companies. In the first scholarship management committee of phase-II, 221 scholarships were awarded to meritorious students,” he said.

He further said, “The programme has been expanded to 31 universities, in the second phase it will help capture youth from low income households, who come under the net of higher education on a wider scale, thus increasing access and providing adequate opportunities to the less privileged youth.”

USAID Director Thomas Le Blanc told the members that the US government is committed to taking necessary steps to ensure that the country comes out of the challenges it faces.

“Under the second phase, the programme would provide financial assistance to approximately 3,000 needy youth in the next five years along with fully funded scholarships to the students of agriculture, medical, business, engineering in top universities of Pakistan. Fifty per cent of the scholarships are reserved for female students,” he said.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/02/12/city/300-students-approved-for-pakistan-usaid-scholarships/

Riaz Haq said...

As one of America's top forensic scientists, Mohammad Tahir, pictured above, uncovered evidence that helped jail boxer Mike Tyson for rape and convict serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Then Tahir took on his toughest assignment yet - applying his skills in Pakistan. But catching criminals is not Tahir's biggest problem. Rather, it's working with the country's antiquated criminal justice system.
So Tahir, a softly spoken man whose passions are reading and gardening, set out on a quest: to promote forensic science.
"Physical evidence does not lie, it does not perjure itself as humans do," said the dapper 65-year-old. "It is a silent witness ... We make it speak in a court of law."
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Members of an investigation unit collect evidence from a possible arson attack at a shoe factory that burned down in Lahore.
Crime scene forensics is a new concept for many involved in law enforcement in Pakistan, a poor nation of 180 million people beset by crime and militancy.
Cases that are brought to court often rely on witnesses who are easily bribed or intimidated. Terrorism and murder suspects often walk free.
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Tahir, a dual Pakistani and U.S. citizen, has his own forensics lab in the United States. He spent 36 years working with U.S. police and helped write the FBI handbook on forensics.
In 2008, with militant attacks rising in Pakistan, Punjab's chief minister called Tahir and asked for help: to design a new $31 million forensics lab in the city of Lahore, handpick its scientists and try to enforce new standards of crime solving.

The lab was finished in 2012 and at first, business was slow. But now the lab, which is funded by Punjab state, takes around 600 cases a day, Tahir said. It could easily handle twice that if more police start sending in evidence.
"The police are not educated, they don't know our capabilities. We have to teach them," he said.

The gleaming new lab quickly discovered only a tiny fraction of police knew how to secure crime scenes and collect evidence. DNA samples were mouldy. Guns arrived for analysis, smeared with officers' fingerprints.
"If garbage comes in, garbage goes out," explained one scientist at the lab.

To change that, Tahir set up localised crime scene investigation units and began training police. Now the DNA department says around half the samples they receive are packaged correctly.
"They are getting better," Tahir said. So far 3,100 police out of a force of 185,000 have been trained.
But progress is slow. Punjab Police Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera said police still secure "very few" crime scenes.
Once the lab makes a report, it goes to the prosecutor. But judges, lawyers and witnesses are often threatened or killed. Courts have a backlog of more than a million cases.
As a result, conviction rates are low. Anti-terrorism courts convict around a third of cases — about half of those are overturned on appeal. Fewer than a quarter of murder suspects are convicted.

http://widerimage.reuters.com/story/csi-pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

Haaretz: Israeli lecturer takes part in Pakistan conference

The fact that he (Prof Ramzi Suleiman )is an Israeli Arab drew a positive response from many of the Pakistani scientists, who were interested developments in Israel and the Palestinian Authority and spoke about the importance of cooperation in the field of science. ....Participating in the conference were some 200 physicists and mathematicians from various countries, including China, England, Japan, Switzerland and the U.S., in addition to researchers from a number of Pakistani universities.

Suleiman represented the University of Haifa and Al Quds University, where he teaches.

Suleiman, who was among the speakers invited to the conference, spoke about the Newtonian Theory of Relativity, which he proposes as an alternative for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

He focused on the implementation of the proposed theory to understand the dynamic of the universe, including the dynamic of dark energy, black holes in the centers of galaxies and the evolution of chemical elements in the universe.

http://www.haaretz.com/.premium-1.644835

Riaz Haq said...

Four Pakistani and three United States universities will undertake collaborative research under the project of `Centres for Advanced Studies’ (CAS) to harness applied research to find innovative solutions in water, agriculture and energy challenges for Pakistan.

A $127 million US investment is being executed by the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the US-Pakistan Centres for Advanced Studies to support Pakistan’s economic development by strengthening universities.

This was revealed by officials of US Embassy and USAID during a roundtable discussion with media held here on Monday.

Participating universities in this programme include University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and University of California, Davis in agriculture sector and National University of Science and Technology (NUST), University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar and Arizona State University in energy sector.

While Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro and University of Utah will collaborate in water sector.

The participants were informed that the project was structured as three partnerships in the fields of energy, water and agriculture between three US and four Pakistani universities.

Each CAS would form public-private partnerships and interest specific networks by bringing together leaders in academia, government and the business community to identify the applied research solutions in the agriculture, energy and water sectors.

The project would prepare around 1000 graduates for employment in the private and public sectors and provide them opportunities of limited resources or from disadvantaged groups to pursue higher education.

The CAS project would support self-sustaining applied research through an enhanced working relationship between universities and industry-producing graduates and research conducive to Pakistan’s economic growth and raise the quality of faculty.

The project would assist in several areas including providing curricula, financial management, governance, teaching and other reforms to make university education and research more relevant to the needs of industry and government.

The project would help develop scholarship programmes, leading networking activities, developing strong links with private sector and facilitating relevant policy dialogues and reforms.

The meeting was also informed that a high level US delegation and Pakistani government officials would hold inaugural session of the newly established US-Pakistan Education, Science and Technology Working Group on June 3 (Wednesday).

This session would underscore the ongoing long-term cooperation between the United States and Pakistan in the fields of higher education, science and technology.

The officials who spoke during the roundtable included Assistance Coordinator, US Embassy, Brian Aggeler, Counsellor for Economic Affairs, US Embassy, Daniela Ballard, Cultural Affairs Officer, US Embassy, Judith Ravin, Director, USAID Education Officer, Tom LeBlanc and Deputy Director, USAID Education Office, Garth Willis.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/02-Jun-2015/us-pakistani-universities-to-undertake-joint-research

Riaz Haq said...

From Higher Education Commission of Pakistan:


Total graduates at universities (including affiliated and Private/External students) were 380,773, 360,807,448,988 and 493,993 during the years 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.

http://www.hec.gov.pk/insidehec/divisions/qali/others/pages/graduatedata.aspx

Riaz Haq said...

At the time of its independence in 1947, the nascent nation of Pakistan had 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. There were also 10 private universities. The universities are responsible for graduate (postgraduate) education leading to master's and doctoral degrees in a variety of fields. Most universities have their own faculty in the various departments but many use senior faculty from the colleges to participate in the teaching program at the master's level as well as for supervising students at the doctoral level. The trend is, however, to concentrate all postgraduate work in the university departments in order to maximize the benefits of teacher-student interaction on a daily basis. This has tended to limit the college faculty exclusively to undergraduate education, which serves as a disincentive for them to conduct higher-level research or writing.

Read more: Pakistan - Higher Education - Universities, Colleges, Students, and University - StateUniversity.com http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1146/Pakistan-HIGHER-EDUCATION.html#ixzz3gG4rjO2H

Riaz Haq said...

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).


Pakistani universities have been producing over half a million 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.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2015/07/pakistans-rising-college-enrollment-and.html

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan, the Next #software Hub? 1500 registered #informationtechnology companies, 10,000 IT grads every year. http://nyti.ms/1P0Yfdu

Pakistan’s I.T. sector is carving a niche for itself as a favored place to go for freelance I.T. programmers, software coders and app designers. There are now 1,500 registered I.T. companies in Pakistan, and 10,000 I.T. grads enter the market every year. Energetic members of the middle class educated in Pakistan’s top universities, they have honed their skills at the many hackathons, start-up fairs and expos, digital summits and entrepreneurial events at campuses, software houses and I.T. associations across the country.

Next comes showcasing their skills to a global market in order to grow businesses. So Pakistani freelance programmers flock to global freelance hiring sites such as Upwork, or fiverr.com, where digital employers in the United States, Australia or Britain bid to hire programmers for small software and app projects. On these platforms, hiring someone from Pakistan becomes as easy as hiring someone from Ireland or India, because traditional concerns about security, corruption and invasive bureaucracy in Pakistan do not apply.

The formula is working: the Pakistani programmers market ranks as the No. 3 country for supplying — freelance programmers — behind only the United States and India, and up from No. 5 just two years ago. It ranks in the upper 10 to 25 percent on Upwork’s listing of growth rates for top-earning countries, alongside India, Canada and Ukraine. Pakistan’s freelance programmers already account for $850 million of the country’s software exports; that number could go up to $1 billion in the next several months, says Umar Saif, who heads the Punjab I.T. Board and previously taught and did research work at M.I.T.

The optimism one hears in Karachi and Lahore even withstood a scandal last May, when news broke that Axact, one of Pakistan’s largest I.T. companies, was operating as a fake degree mill. Members of the tight-knit I.T. community reacted at first with fears for Pakistan’s chances to become a major player on the world’s I.T. stage. Perhaps those fears acted as a spur to the authorities, who arrested Axact’s chief within weeks after the scheme was laid bare.

In any event, three days after investigators raided Axact’s offices, Naseeb Networks International, a Lahore-based company that runs the online job marketplace Rozee.pk, announced that it had won a third round of investments, worth $6.5 million, from the European investment firms Vostok Nafta and Piton Capital, bringing the company’s total venture capital funding to $8.5 million. It was the latest in a series of large venture capital investments in Pakistan over the last year and a half.

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It’s now also faster and easier for foreign companies to acquire the apps these programmers create, in contrast with negotiating traditional service contracts, and Mr. Saif anticipates that such start-ups will themselves become targets for acquisition by overseas companies.

According to him, venture capital is the one missing ingredient in an enabling environment that the government, universities and software associations are building. Per Brilioth, the managing director of Vostok Nafta Investment, agrees. “The macro indicators and demographics are very strong,” he said, “and the country doesn't seem to get a lot of investor attention, so valuations are reasonable."

Those factors — and the rapidity with which Pakistan’s 200 million people are embracing the Internet on sub-$50 Chinese 3G smartphones — are markers on which Pakistan’s entrepreneurial leaders pin their hopes for the future. They see problems like Axact as bumps in the road as Pakistan builds a haven for I.T. development.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/opinion/bina-shah-pakistan-the-next-software-hub.html?_r=0

Riaz Haq said...

#chemistry Olympiad 2016 to be held in #Karachi #Pakistan http://www.dawn.com/news/1199665

KARACHI: Pakistan will host the 48th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) next year at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University (KU).

This was announced at a press conference held at the H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, KU on Monday.

Around 300 young chemists and 150 experts from 75 countries are expected to participate in the international chemistry competition to be held from July 20 to 29, 2016.

The event will be jointly hosted by ICCBS-KU and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan.

“Holding this prestigious global event in the country is an honour for the nation. The event will be held under foolproof security,” said president of the IChO 2016, Prof Atta-ur-Rahman.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan teenage student wins second prize at #NASA contest http://tribune.com.pk/story/943287/pakistani-boy-wins-second-prize-at-nasa-contest/ … A Pakistani boy secured second prize at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Space Settlement Design Contest 2015.

Shah Mir Aizaz, a student of O’ Levels, participated in the annual design competition for students from grade 7 to grade 12, sponsored by the NASA Ames Research Center and the National Space Society NSS. He won second prize for his design titled, ‘Beyond Infinity – Eros Outer Atmosphere Settlement’.

Riaz Haq said...

Sixteen-year-old Raffay Ansari is a self-taught programmer. He’s been an iOS developer for over three years and has now graduated into full-stack, meaning he’s comfortable working with a number of different languages as well as both back-end and front-end technologies. The teenage prodigy from Pakistan has earned several thousand dollars freelancing online, coded games that have attracted about 8 million cumulative downloads, and is now on the brink of launching his own start-up....Raffay has Ataxia, which means he has difficulty walking, speaking clearly, writing, reading, and other activities that require fine motor control. Raffay tells Tech in Asia that his muscles continue to weaken, even after his diagnosis over two years ago.

“The disease is more of a gift to me. As I can’t sleep much at night, I utilise the time learning new things instead. People treat me differently and are always willing to help. It’s a huge advantage,” he beams.

------------

The internet became Raffay’s teacher. He taught himself how to code through free online courses, primarily from Code Academy. His parents were initially reluctant to encourage his sudden interest in programming, but warmed up to the idea once they saw his passion for it. By the age of 13, he had successfully bid for and completed his first freelance assignment – coding the iOS game Mr Flap.

Raffay is now on the brink of launching his own start-up, Odyssy, which he describes as a data-driven content management system (CMS) targeted at bloggers and publishers who aren’t very technologically savvy and who don’t want to spend time coding in HTML. He reveals Odyssy is on the brink of closing its seed funding round – $20,000 from an angel investor based out of Islamabad.


http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/meet-the-16-year-old-self-taught-coder-from-pakistan-115083100538_1.html

https://www.techinasia.com/this-self-taught-coder-probably-has-more-entrepreneurial-experience/

Riaz Haq said...

US envoy inaugurates new building at Education University

LAHORE (Staff Report) – Erik Martini, acting US Consul General in Lahore, inaugurated a new Faculty of Education building at the University of Education on Tuesday, highlighting long-term commitment to education in Pakistan.

The building has been funded by the United States Agency for International Development. Education University Vice Chancellor Dr Rauf-i-Azam, Punjab Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Nizamuddin and Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashood joined him at the university.

“The United States government is investing in quality education because we recognise that progress and quality of life are directly linked to education. This Faculty of Education will serve to advance not only the quality of teacher training, but also the progress and prosperity of Punjab and Pakistan,” stated Mr Martini, addressing a large gathering of university students, faculty and members of the community.

The USAID-funded faculty building is an environmentally-conscious and earthquake-resistant facility that includes 18,500 square feet of covered area, 6 classrooms, a multi-purpose hall, a learning resource center, laboratories, a seminar room, new office space for faculty and a faculty lounge.

The University of Education in Lahore is one of 17 universities in Pakistan where USAID has funded Faculty of Education buildings.

http://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/us-envoy-inaugurates-new-building-at-education-university-654/

Riaz Haq said...

University of #California #Davis, #Pakistan launch $17M food,agriculture Center For Advanced Studies at #Faisalabad

http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/ucd/ucd-pakistan-launch-17m-food-ag-partnership/ …


The launch of a $17 million collaborative project linking UC Davis and Pakistan’s leading agricultural university was celebrated today at UCD, which will receive $10 million of the funds.

The new U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will make it possible for faculty members and graduate students from both countries to study and do research at each other’s campuses. The project also is designed to update curriculum and technical resources at Pakistan’s University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

Present for today’s ceremonial launch were dignitaries from Pakistan, USAID and UCD.

“UC Davis has been partnering with colleagues in Pakistan since 2009, sharing expertise in agriculture from crop production to post-harvest handling,” said James Hill, associate dean emeritus of International Programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UCD.

“Establishment of this new center will allow us to build on those efforts, with a renewed emphasis on an exchange of faculty and graduate students,” he said.

During its first year of funding, the center will plan several workshops to assist the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, with technology transfer and entrepreneurship to strengthen its connections to the private sector. UCD also will initiate programs in both research and curriculum development to improve graduate studies.

Hill noted that two other Pakistan-focused projects are already underway through the International Programs office, primarily in the area of horticultural crops and agricultural extension activities.

Agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy, providing jobs for half of that country’s labor force. Some of the traditionally important crops in Pakistan are wheat, cotton, rice, sugar cane and maize. In recent years, crops like beans, peas, lentils, onions, potatoes, chilies and tomatoes also have increased in importance, along with fruit crops such as citrus and mangoes.


The newly funded center at UCD is the most recent of several partnerships of the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies, a $127 million investment from USAID, linking universities in the two countries and using applied research to solve Pakistan’s challenges in energy, water and food security.

The overall program includes construction of laboratories, research facilities and libraries in Pakistan. Other participating U.S. universities include the University of Utah and Arizona State University, focusing on water and energy, respectively.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani, American academics meet to promote higher education linkages

Senior Pakistani academics from 33 universities met with 21 US partner institutions in Washington DC for a four-day workshop from October 26 to 30. The workshop allowed participants to promote community engagement, interactive teaching methods, collaborative research, and academic regional integration in Pakistan and the United States. The event was organised through the University Partnerships Program, an educational initiative sponsored by the US Mission to Pakistan with support by the US Department of State in Washington DC.

----------


HEC Chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed addressed the 55 participants in a videotaped message saying, “The United States-Pakistan University Partnerships Program forges a spirit of academic collaboration between our countries’ higher education communities and contributes to the overall quality of higher education. Regular and meaningful discourse among scholars, students, and faculty has supported the Higher Education Commission’s goals to promote social sciences and humanities in Pakistan. Further, it has helped align research priorities and needs throughout the country.”

The University Partnerships Programme is a flagship higher-education program sponsored by the US Mission to Pakistan. It provides over $25 million dollars in funding to 44 universities in Pakistan and the United States to create three-year partnerships that foster collaboration, curriculum reform, and joint research. Since 2012, approximately 500 faculty members, administrators, and students from both countries have participated in this exchange programme. The first University Partnerships Best Practices Workshop was held in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-348538-Pakistani-American-academics-meet-to-p

Riaz Haq said...

#Urdu and #English language versions of MIT #Technology review launched online in #Pakistan http://disq.us/8rqepu

Karachi—MIT Technology has launched technology review in Pakistan to spread science & technology awareness to a wider local audience in the aims to foster entrepreneurship and Innovation in Pakistan. This is the latest initiative in a series to create impact in Pakistan. Mr. Jason Pontin, CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of MIT Tech Review, Ken Morse, Founding MD of MIT Entrepreneurship Center and Farrokh Captain, Chairman, MIT Enterprise Forum of Pakistan and . Umar Saif, chairman PITB, Vice chancellor ITU and Editor of Tech Review Pakistan addressed the press at a local hotel in Karachi recently about MIT’s role as a technology leader and its initiative to impart latest knowledge of technology to accelerate adoption of innovation and development of entrepreneurial culture in Pakistan.

The latest initiative in this is to launch MIT Technology Review (TR) in Urdu and English language with the intent to create a new tech generation in Pakistan fully aware of what is happening around the world in technology and innovation. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Pontin noted, “Whenever I visited Pakistan, I realized that here was lack of realism, technology based content that could provide guidance to the local technologists, academia, researchers, scientists and journalism analysis.

“In 2013, I had promised that I will bring the world famous MIT Technology Review (TR) to Pakistan, I am extremely happy to note that after almost two years of extremely hard work we have been able to launch the English & Urdu version of MIT Technology Review Pakistan (TR). With the Pakistan edition the educated and tech-savvy youth of this country can know about the latest technology trends and innovations around the world.

Equally, researchers and innovators and entrepreneurs of Pakistan can show case their work to the international community through this world famous technical magazine.” Mr. Morse, founding father of MIT Entrepreneurship Center, indicated that technology entrepreneurship can be a game changer for Pakistan.

Quoting Economist Intelligence Unit he said, “Waves of technically trained young people — steeped in the latest theories and techniques, and honed by some of the smartest minds in science and technology — do more for raising a country’s industrial competitiveness than all the tax breaks, development aid, and government initiatives put together.” Adding to this he said,” we need to be infected with entrepreneurship virus to gain success. If you have a lot up startups, it’s logical to have a lot of failures.”

Riaz Haq said...

MedCong: Medical corridor between #Pakistan and #China to collaborate in health sciences and serve the poor. #CPEC

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1024850/medcong-medical-corridor-between-pakistan-and-china-to-serve-the-poor/ …

KARACHI: Medcong will serve as a medical corridor with China that will benefit poor patients in the two countries, said former federal minister and former Higher Education Commission chairperson Prof Attaur Rehman on Friday.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the first-ever three-day Pak-China Medical Congress (Medcong). The event, attended by senior medical experts of the two neighbouring countries, was inaugurated by Prof Rehman.

The Medcong, which is jointly being organised by Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) in collaboration with Chinese Medical Association (CMA), aims at paving the way for a medical corridor between Pakistan and China.

Addressing the ceremony, Prof Rehman said that Pakistan and China have strong high-level collaboration with each other. “The relations between both the countries have been improving day by day in various sectors, including education, research, medical, infrastructure building and other fields,” he said.

Prof Rehman said the establishment of a medical corridor with China will benefit the two countries’ poor patients. Tremendous opportunities exist for the medical students and researchers of the two countries, once provided with a chance to work together, he said.

CMA president Prof Yan Fei Liu said in his speech that Pakistan is magnificent, rich in natural resources and cultural heritage. “This ancient and magical land gave birth to a brilliant civilisation,” he said. “The Pakistani people are kind-hearted, hardworking, talented and courageous with the spirit of perseverance and [are] unyielding.”

According to him, CMA and PMA are going to make coherent efforts to build a Pak-China medical corridor to deepen the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and to seek bilateral exchanges and cooperation in medical education, patient caring, academia exchanges, medical information and experience sharing.

Prof Tipu Sultan, senior doctor and chairperson of the organising committee of Medcong said that China and Pakistan have been dear and close friends since long. “The academic and professional cooperation between the PMA and the CMA will bear great results,” he said.

A 44-member delegation representing the medical fraternity from China, including CMA vice-president and secretary-general Dr Keqin Rao, CMA deputy secretary-general Dr Lingo Lu, CMA international relations department deputy director Qing Long Meng and CMA project manager Weili Zhao are participating in the congress. The delegates, comprising medical experts from Sri Lanka, England and United Arab Emirates, are also participating in the congress along with their counterparts from different parts of Pakistan.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also inked by the PMA and its Chinese counterpart, the CMA, during the congress. Both the PMA and CMA were declared sister concerns under the MoU while the decision to rotate the event every two years in the two countries will also be finalised.