Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pakistan's Rising College Enrollment and Graduation Rates

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

Graduation Day at NED Engineering University For 1300 Graduates in 2013
Pakistani universities have been producing over half a million graduates, including over 10,000 IT graduates, every year since 2010, according to HEC data. The number of university graduates in Pakistan increased from 380,773 in 2005-6 to 493,993 in 2008-09. This figure is growing with rising enrollment and contributing to Pakistan's growing human capital.

Source: UNESCO's Global Education Digest 2009



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



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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

10 Pakistan Universities Among Top 300 in Asia

Pakistan's Growing Human Capital

History of Literacy in Pakistan

Education Attainment in South Asia

Dr. Ata ur Rehman Defends HEC Reforms

Biotech and Genomics in Pakistan

Business Education in Pakistan

Armed Drones Outrage and Inspire Young Pakistanis

19 comments:

Z said...

Problem is lack of foreign and local investment which is resulting in shortage of jobs.

Riaz Haq said...

Z: " Problem is lack of foreign and local investment which is resulting in shortage of jobs."

Growth of human capital is essential in attracting domestic and foreign investment.

Pakistan's employment growth has been the highest in South Asia region since 2000, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka in that order, according to a recent World Bank report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia".

Total employment in South Asia (excluding Afghanistan and Bhutan) rose from 473 million in 2000 to 568 million in 2010, creating an average of just under 800,000 new jobs a month. In all countries except Maldives and Sri Lanka, the largest share of the employed are the low‐end self-employed.

The report says that nearly a third of workers in India and a fifth of workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan are casual laborers. Regular wage and salaried workers represent a fifth or less of total employment.

Analysis of the labor productivity data indicates that growth in TFP (total factor productivity) made a larger relative contribution to the growth of aggregate labor productivity in South Asia during 1980–2008 than did physical and human capital accumulation. In fact, the contribution of TFP growth was higher than in the high‐performing East Asian economies excluding China.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/09/pakistan-tops-south-asia-jobs-growth.html

Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMMABAD (Dunya News) – Senate passed a bill for establishment of Capital Univeristy of Science and Technology in Islamabad on Thursday, reported Dunya News.

Government is stepping up on its efforts to improve state of education in country, one of which is to increase the number of institutions.

Previously, National Assembly had given approval for the university on May 18. Fields of computing, engineering, management and social sciences will be taught at the institute.

Departments of electrical engineering, mechanical and civil engineering, computer sciences, biosciences, bioinformatics will be established.

Capital University will follow Higher Education Commission’s standards and offer 4-years Bachelors Honors, 3-years Doctor of Philosophy and 2-years masters of science. The institute will employ 50 PhD and 70 MS qualified teachers.

The university will be based in Islamabad.

http://dunyanews.tv/index.php/en/Pakistan/288389-Senate-approves-bill-for-Capital-University-of-Sci

nayyer ali said...

500k college graduates per year is a decent number for Pakistan but they need to keep pushing it higher every year. In the US about 30% of young people achieve at least a bachelors degree, for Pakistan that would be the equivalent of about 1.5 graduates per year. I wonder how many Pakistanis are getting college education abroad and do most of them return home? Another major issue in developing countries is that the quality of higher education can vary a lot. In the best universities it is fairly comparable to US and Europe but the lower rank do not produce well educated graduates. China produces a massive number of engineering grads per year but only a fraction of them are equivalent to US engineering students. Pakistan needs to expand primary education to capture the entire nation, and it also needs to ensure high economic growth so that these college grads can do something useful with their education.

Riaz Haq said...

CNN on Hans Rosling's "Ignorance Project":

The world is spinning so fast that it can be hard to keep track of everything that is going on. Yet despite the fact that we can feel like we are being increasingly overloaded with information, it's not clear that we're doing a very good job of making sense of all that data we're receiving.

Don't believe me? Well, try answering these three questions on major global trends:

1) What percent of 1-year-olds in the world are vaccinated against measles? Is it 20, 50 or 80%?

2) Young adult men today have, on average, eight years of schooling, globally. How many years of school do you think the world's women of the same age have attended? Is it 3 years, 5 years or 7 years?

3) How has the proportion of people living in extreme poverty around the world changed over the past 25 years? Has it doubled, stayed about the same, or been halved?

So, here are the answers: Around 83 percent of the world's 1-year-olds are vaccinated against measles; 25-year-old women have, on average, been to school almost as long as males the same age, having attended for about seven years; and extreme poverty has been more than halved since 1990.

Did you get those right? You probably didn't. And you're very far from alone. In fact, when the Gapminder Foundation partnered with polling firms around the world to ask members of the public in Europe and the United States these and similar questions, what we found was a depressing lack of awareness about some of the most basic facts about our world. In fact, less than a fifth of Americans, Swedes, Germans and Britons answered these three questions correctly.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the world we live in is about global population growth. The number of children in the world has actually stopped increasing, because 80 percent of us live in societies where the two-child family is the norm. And how many people would have guessed that women in Brazil, Iran and Vietnam today have fewer babies, on average, than women in the United States?

In a way, this lack of knowledge shouldn't come as much of a surprise because there is something that actively skews our thought process: Preconceived ideas.

We all have them. Even those of us who think we keep abreast of what is going on in the world have personal biases because we have been taught a mountain of facts that are now outdated, whether we learned them in school or at work. And then there is our news media, which is built upon conflict and a black-and-white model of explanation (hence our susceptibility to negative headlines).

All this means that if you went to the zoo with the questions posed earlier written down on piece of cardboard, placed a banana beside each of the three alternatives and let some chimps have a go at picking the answers, they could be expected to get one in three questions correct, beating most humans in the process.

Does our ignorance of strong positive trends, which makes us believe that the world is a sicker, worse place than it is, really matter?

Yes, because as a result we are more likely to make the wrong decisions. Indeed, a world view based on outdated facts can have severe consequences -- from not investing where we will get the best returns, to allocating aid where it might have little impact.

With this in mind, the director of Gapminder, Ola Rosling, has launched The Ignorance Project in an effort to identify where our collective knowledge is weakest, and therefore where we might be likely to make the biggest mistakes. We will be formulating 250 questions on major aspects of global development and the state of the world and, over five years, will gradually identify the 25 least known but important global facts through surveys across 130 countries.

With luck, by highlighting just how little we know about the world, we will be able to encourage fact-based teaching of the world in our schools.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/07/opinions/rosling-global-knowledge/

Riaz Haq said...

NetSol Technologies CEO Najeeb Ghauri Says #Pakistan "Next Tech Hub of the World". https://shar.es/1sOGvk via @sharethis

Najeeb Ghauri, chairman and CEO of NetSol Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:NTWK), a Southern California-based global business services and enterprise application solutions provider with a major presence in Pakistan, today issued the following statement:

"News of Pakistan's upgraded sovereign credit ratings, solid GDP growth estimates, as well as record advances in the KSE100 stock index is indicative of actions set by the elected government.

"Pakistan continues to show great promise as a bourgeoning tech hub to the world with its growing pool of talented, highly motivated engineers. While Pakistan's KSE-100 Index showed a 15 percent growth over the last fiscal year, outperforming most regional markets including India, Hong Kong and Korea, its software and computer services sector posted a 250 percent return, the highest cumulative stock return in 2014-15.

"As the largest technology company in Pakistan through our subsidiary, NetSol Technologies Ltd., (KSE:Netsol), we have nearly doubled our core NFSTM workforce in the last two years, in part to assist with the rollout of NFS AscentTM, our next-generation enterprise platform for the financing and leasing industry. Many of these new employees were recruited from Pakistan and serve in our expanded technology campus in Lahore.

"We also see Pakistan's economic partnerships with countries such as China, which signed agreements to invest nearly $50B in key sectors, as well as investments from the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia as encouraging signs of its geopolitical and economic turnaround.

"Similarly, the U.S. is Pakistan's largest trading partner with many Fortune 500 companies doing business in the country for decades. More than 85 American-based companies are registered with the American Business Council of Pakistan and it is estimated that these companies have invested $1.5 billion in Pakistan producing about $3 billion in annual economic activity.

"We expect to see these types of investments increase, bringing more opportunity for businesses across the world to expand in Pakistan as the country continues its economic resurgence, and local entrepreneurial endeavors grow into larger companies with new technologies, and new products and services.

"We believe that as the economic outlook improves, coupled by a decisive campaign to improve internal security, NetSol will benefit from an improved perception and a greater recognition of the country's competitive advantage and technology talent."

- See more at: http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/07/28/755566/10143377/en/NetSol-Technologies-CEO-Najeeb-Ghauri-Comments-on-Pakistan-s-Growing-Economy.html#sthash.s6t97Wq4.dpuf

Riaz Haq said...

Times of India Op Ed by Morgan Stanley's Head of Emerging Markets Ruchir Sharma on "The Quiet Rise of South Asia":

Together, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are now growing at an average annual pace of close to 6%, compared to 2% for the emerging world outside China.
Due to their lower per capita income, it should hardly be surprising that South Asian economies are growing faster than other emerging markets. But that spread of nearly four percentage points is the largest in the region’s post-independence history. While hopes for a revival in India exploded when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in 2014, promising major economic reform, its smaller neighbours remained under the radar. Now, however, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are leading the quiet rise of South Asia.
Since the global financial crisis, a number of emerging markets have been ramping up debt and government spending. But the smaller South Asian economies have largely avoided these excesses, so they still have room to boost growth. While falling prices for oil and other raw materials are hurting most emerging regions, they are a boon to the nations of South Asia, all of which are commodity importers.
The impact of low commodity prices is helping to keep inflation low even as growth accelerates, while countries like Brazil, Russia and South Africa face stagflation. Many emerging economies have been hurt by rising wages and have seen their share of global exports decline, but not Pakistan and Bangladesh. Their wages are still competitive, and they are increasing their share of global exports, even as growth in global trade is stagnating for the first time since the 1980s.
They are benefitting along with Sri Lanka as manufacturers look for cheaper wages outside of China, with wages in the manufacturing sector having increased by 370% in the world’s second largest economy over the past decade. Bangladesh is now the second leading exporter, after China, of ready-made clothes to the US and Germany.
And as China and Japan compete with India for influence in the Indian Ocean, they are pouring billions into new ports in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The upshot of these positive trends is that South Asia could sustain a growth rate of over 5% for the next few years, which would make it one of the fastest-growing regions in the emerging world.
The competition between Japan and China is a huge boost: after Beijing recently announced plans to build a $46 billion “economic corridor” connecting Pakistan to China, Japan beat out China for rights to build Bangladesh’s first deep-water port, at Matarbari. The inflow of foreign direct investment is helping to keep South Asia in what can be identified as the investment sweet spot: strong economies tend to invest between 25 and 35% of GDP. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are now right in the sweet spot, at or near 30% of GDP.
Investment also tends to have the greatest impact on jobs and growth when it is going into manufacturing. Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have strong manufacturing sectors, representing 18% of GDP. Pakistan is much weaker, with investment at 14% and manufacturing at 12% of GDP. But Pakistan’s manufacturing sector is now growing, due to both increasing electric output and the fact that – like Bangladesh – its young population and labour force is expected to continue expanding for at least the next five years.
At a time when much of the workforce is entering retirement age in larger emerging nations including China, Korea, Taiwan and Russia, the positive demographic trends in South Asia are potentially a big competitive advantage. With exports and investment strong, Bangladesh is running a current account surplus, Sri Lanka is reducing a deficit now equal to 3% of GDP, and Pakistan has cut its current account deficit from 8% of GDP in 2008 to just 1%.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/bucking-stagnation-elsewhere-the-quiet-rise-of-south-asia/

Riaz Haq said...

Forbes: Op Ed: #Pakistan Next Success Story. #economy, political stability, #China #FDI #development #returns http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielrunde/2015/08/03/pakistan-the-next-colombia-success-story/ …

Pakistan has the potential to be a global turnaround story. I recently spent time in-country listening to a wide range of perspectives and I am convinced that U.S. policymakers and business leaders need to look at Pakistan beyond the security lens. Getting our relationship right will require deeper thinking and action on issues around trade and investment, education, and broader economic development. The United States ought to be Pakistan’s preferred partner given its 70-year relationship. But in order to participate in the upside of the Pakistan story, the United States will need to view Pakistan not as a problem to be solved but as a potential partner. There are several changes that suggest the United States should soon act on this opportunity.

The Pakistan of today is similar to that of Colombia in the late 1990s. Back then, words like “drugs, gangs, and failed state” were freely associated with the Andean country. Today, Colombia has a free trade agreement with the United States, a stable 3.5 percent annual GDP growth, a free trade agreement with the United States, and security is vastly improved. Similarly, Western headlines on Pakistan today gloss over the progress on the security front, the increased political stability, and incremental progress on the economic front. In spite of this potential for Pakistan, it continues to suffer from a terrible country brand that has not caught up with realities on the ground.

Action Against the Taliban

Pakistan’s improving security dynamic is the first change to note. It is hard to understate the before-and-after effects of the Taliban’s horrendous December 2014 attack on a military-owned elementary school in Peshawar that killed 145 people, including 132 schoolchildren aged eight to eighteen. Almost immediately after the attack, the military responded in force by taking out 157 terrorists via air strikes and ground operations in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal areas adjacent to Peshawar.


What has not sunk into international perceptions about the country is the tangible consensus among government, military, and Pakistani citizens against violent terrorists including the Pakistani Taliban and the alphabet soup of other terrorist groups in and around the country. ..

Political Stability

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is governing with a competent cabinet, a majority coalition, and is working in tandem with the military to deliver peace and security. Sharif was elected in Pakistan’s transition of power between democratically elected governments in April 2013 and so far, he has demonstrated enough of a commitment to democracy.

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Better Luck Around the Corridor

Chinese investment is another reason why the United States should reassess its Pakistan calculus. Since Xi Jinping first announced the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2014, the project has quickly become the centerpiece of diplomatic relations between the two countries. CPEC will include highways, railways, and oil and gas pipelines – all constructed via Chinese companies.

A New Development Story

Pakistan has a population of 182.1 million people and is the 6th largest country in the world. Sixty percent of the population is of working age. By 2025, Pakistan’s total population will be 300 million, making it roughly ten times the size of Afghanistan. Pakistan is also among the world’s fastest urbanizing countries with half its people projected to live in cities by 2050. Twenty years ago, Islamabad, a planned city much like Brasilia, had a population of 400,000; today, it has a population of around 3 million including the peri-urban areas. Many Pakistani cities are undergoing a similar urbanization process, and this will create massive demands on food, energy, water, and consumer goods.

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

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/05/18/the-axact-scandal-and-pakistans-growing-tech-sector/

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.

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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...

#China to build $1.5 billion science park in #Islamabad #Pakistan http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/25-Nov-2015/china-to-invest-1-5bn-for-pakistan-china-science-park …

China on Wednesday agreed to invest $1.5 billion to set up Pakistan-China Science Park in Islamabad.

Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanvir Hussain - who is on a visit to China - signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with his Chinese counterpart UN Urmaqi. He also invited the Chinese investers to visit Islamabad in next month to select location for construction of the Park by March 2016. He expressed his gratitude for huge investment in Pakistan.

The minister said that Pakistan and China had a lot to share with each other in term of technology, expertise and business. “We are looking to strengthen our mutual ties on economic as well as technological fronts,” he said, adding that this project would prove to be a link of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It would bring prosperity to the people of both sides.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on an emerging science city in Karachi:

....Of these five centers, one is the only institute for human clinical trials in Pakistan, the other a core of computational biology and the third provides consultancy to people suffering from genetic diseases.

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The centers and their growth have been working towards what has been termed as a ‘silent revolution’ and had been described by Professor Wolfgang Voelter of Tubingen University as a ‘miracle.’

The Hussain Ebrahim Jamal (HEJ) Research Institute of Chemistry was only a small post graduate institute before a generous donation of Rs 5 million in 1976 set the center towards the path of excellence. Latif Ebrahim Jamal’s endowment, on behalf of the Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Foundation, was the largest private funding for science in Pakistan at the time.

The center houses old NMR machines of 300 megahertz to state-of-the-art Liquid Chromatograph Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (LCNMR).

Under the leadership of eminent chemist Dr Salimuzzaman Siddiqui and Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, the institute became a magnet for more funding and projects from around the world. Over a period of time, it received $30 million in funding from various countries. Recently, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) donated $ 40 million for research on regional and tropical diseases. Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, a renowned chemist and the former chairman of Higher Education Commission said,

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Currently, the center has one of the largest PhD programs in the country in the fields of natural product chemistry, plant biotechnology, computational biology, spectroscopy and other disciplines at the frontiers of science.

Young scholars research scientific literature at the LEJ National Science Information Center. The facility is connected to the world’s largest science database, ranging from thousands of primary research journals and books. -Photo by author
Young scholars research scientific literature at the LEJ National Science Information Center. The facility is connected to the world’s largest science database, ranging from thousands of primary research journals and books. -Photo by author
The ground floor of the institute holds 12 state-of-the-art Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) machines that are vital in the research of the structure, reaction and other properties of various compounds and molecules, as well as an X-ray crystallography setup which uses X-rays to learn the structure of crystalline material.

The X-ray crystallography setup is used to construct 3-D structures of molecules under study. -Photo by author
The X-ray crystallography setup is used to construct 3-D structures of molecules under study. -Photo by author
“We have recently finished the structure of a compound showing anti-inflammatory activity,” said Sammer Yousuf, senior research officer at the institute who was awarded the Regional Prize for Young Scientists by the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in 2011 for her work.

“In the last two and a half years our institute was awarded 24 international patents,” Dr Rehman proudly adds.

Since its inception, the HEJ which was inducted into the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) in the ‘90s has produced hundreds of doctorates, thousands of papers and hundreds of international patents, and also helps over 350 industries across Pakistan. The Industrial Analytical Center at the HEJ provides testing, consultancy and research for various industries in Pakistan.

The construction of a state-of-the-art center for nanotechnology is underway while the Jamil-ur-Rehman Center for Genome Research, also falling under HEJ, is almost complete. The center, named after Dr Rehman’s father who was the main donor of the institute, already houses modern gene sequencing machines.

http://dawn.com/news/1058496/pakistans-silent-revolution

Riaz Haq said...

Experts have underlined the importance of promoting creative and innovative entrepreneurship for harnessing the potential of over 65% young population of the country with an aim to make them job creators rather than job-seekers.

They expressed these views at the two-day ‘Annual Entrepreneurship Conference: Learn, Create and Lead’, organised by the Entrepreneurship Development Institute at the Convention Centre of Pakistan.

“Pakistan has more than 65% of youth population that is below 25 years of age; there is an urgent need for innovative use of modern technology and resources to harness this potential for constructive purposes,” said Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed.

He said there were 100 public-sector and 73 private-sector universities in the country and some of them have already introduced entrepreneurship courses in their curricula, but there is still a need for more in many other universities.

“HEC is planning to establish centres for entrepreneurship in universities to facilitate the youth; we also encourage universities to pursue applied research for innovative entrepreneurship,” Ahmed said and underlined the need for establishing maximum technology parks in universities for providing one-window opportunity to the youth to develop their entrepreneurship skills at the academic level.

“We have already established one such park in the National University of Science and Technology with the support of China.” National Commission for Human Development Director General Orya Maqbool Jan said, “Entrepreneurship is not a concept of the modern world; it was founded by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) centuries ago, who was the greatest innovative entrepreneur.”

He introduced justice, principle and ethics-based entrepreneurship, while the modern corporate culture compromises on these three points, Jan said.

Ace Consultant CEO Faez H Syel suggested that policy-makers and authorities should make traditional sectors like plumbing, farming, automobile and small mechanical works the focus of modern entrepreneurship training so that a large chunk of the population could benefit from it.

Neya Tel CEO Siraj Tahir said, “You cannot make a business a success without taking initiative. There is no need for higher education to be a good and creative entrepreneur or to have huge monetary resources. You only need ideas and commitment to accomplish them.”

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1000377/learn-create-lead-experts-lay-stress-on-innovative-entrepreneurship/

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan ranks among top 10 for #science contribution in #Asia for 1996-2014

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

pic.twitter.com/L2FYioicdD

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.

Riaz Haq said...

#Microsoft launches http://Rozgar.Work , #Employability & #Entrepreneurship Platform for #Pakistan. #skillsgap

http://www.winbeta.org/news/microsoft-launches-rozgar-work-employability-entrepreneurship-platform-pakistan

Microsoft has launched the first of its kind Employability and Entrepreneurship Platform, Rozgar.Work, in Pakistan, in collaboration with World Vision-Pakistan (via ProPakistani). The platform offers job-seekers with end-to-end career guidance, up skilling, job-matching and mentorship to address the ever growing issue of unemployment and underemployment. The new platform is powered by Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud, SQL, and SharePoint 2013.

The event was attended by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal as the chief guest, as well as Microsoft and World Vision executives.

Microsoft Pakistan’s General Manager Nadeem Malik said,

At Microsoft we believe in sharing our success with the communities, wherever we operate. Rozgar.Work is a robust platform which can enable revolutionary enrichments in the society, by empowering the youth, to find effective solutions for the various challenges faced by the society.

Entrepreneurship and skill-development are the solution to many of Pakistan’s economic issues. Microsoft is committed to create fresh opportunities for the youth, to play a key role in nation-building. We appreciate the valuable support from WVI-Pakistan to make this program successful.

Program Development Manager at WVI -Pakistan Rizwan ul Haq said,

We are really excited to be a part of this pioneering initiative with Microsoft. World Vision is an international humanitarian organization that works for poverty alleviation,

Social Development, Disaster-Relief, Education, Healthcare and Justice for the deprived segments. We would like to thank the leading enterprises like TIE, PASHA, that have joined today’s event to show their support for this initiative.

Career counselling is a big task, and if you don’t do your proper research, you may end up in a field which is not fit for you in the long run. With Rozgar.Work, job seekers can get in touch with people who are well informed about the careers and can help new graduates make the right choice. Additionally, the platform also boasts an Online & Mobile Job-Matching & Search-functionality allowing job seekers to search for the best possible job opportunities available.

The platform also has online courses to learn from, as well as online and offline training options for different skills, and to earn a diploma.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s women-only #universities are 'progressive' spaces. #EducationMatters #genderparity https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/pakistans-women-only-universities-are-progressive-spaces … via @timeshighered

Women’s universities in Pakistan are providing a positive and “progressive” space for female scholars and students, one of the authors of a major UK study of female academic careers has said.

The existence of women-only universities has divided Pakistan’s academy since the first such institution was established in 1998, with critics claiming they pander to religious extremists and help to entrench gender segregation in the Muslim-dominated state.

However, the single-sex institutions have grown significantly in number in recent years. Twenty-two of Pakistan’s 161 universities are open to female students only, although they have both female and male faculty.

Victoria Showunmi, lecturer in education at the UCL Institute of Education, said she was impressed by the positive environment she found at the institutions she visited during a three-year British Academy-funded project on the academic careers of female staff.

The study, carried out with University of Leicester education academics Saeeda Shah and David Pedder, interviewed 40 female academics at both mixed-sex and women-only universities in Pakistan. In addition, almost 500 women responded to a questionnaire on challenges to career advancement.

In light of Dr Showunmi’s visits and the responses to the project, the UCL academic concluded that Pakistan’s single-sex institutions were overwhelmingly positive for both academics and students.

Describing her visit to Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, she said the institution “never came across as anything but a progressive space”.

“There were stories of some leaders holding some people back [for promotion], but it was the same type of story that we hear in the UK,” said Dr Showunmi, who presented the results of the project at the British Educational Research Association’s annual conference in Leeds last month.

“I am, of course, looking at it through my own lens as a black female UK academic, but it came across as a very good place for women academics to progress,” she added.

Dr Showunmi said the study, which involved annual visits to universities in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad between 2012 and 2015, as well as reciprocal visits to the UK by Pakistani academics, had shattered many of her preconceptions about female academics in Pakistan, who, she said, were very keen to travel abroad as well as gain advancement in their own country.

“Many of them aspired to do or had done two or three years in a different country, often sponsored by their government,” said Dr Showunmi, adding: “How many female academics in the UK go abroad for their PhD?”

Many of the barriers to academic promotion raised by women were also flagged by men, such as the lack of an embedded research culture and excessive teaching loads, the study found.

Women did face specific challenges, such as male-dominated leadership groups and family responsibilities, although these could also be cited by UK academics, Dr Showunmi said.

“It was refreshing to hear the conversations, as we could have been listening to academics in the UCL staff room,” she explained.

“There was a different religious context, but many were the same issues of work-life balance or difficulties in trying to access resources faced by [female] academics in the UK," she added.