The government has decided to establish a regulatory authority on information technology education aimed at ensuring quality and creating more employment opportunities for youth and spur economic growth.
This was stated by Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui while talking to media, on Wednesday.
He said that Pakistan produces 25,000 IT graduates every year, but only a few thousand get a job in the market, due to the lack of required standards and certifications.
“My heart goes with young generation and his ministry has been working to spur academic and entrepreneurial growth”, said the minister adding that there is a need to keep pace with the world to generate more employment opportunities and end unemployment.
It’s technology and quality education which have helped minimize poverty, he said. Siddiqui said that many countries in the region have gone far beyond in the area of IT education and it was very important to determine the correct direction. He said that adoption of technology was imperative to give the next generation a better and prosperous future.
The minister said that a comprehensive cybersecurity policy, using a multi-stakeholder approach, has been devised and would be introduced soon. Cybersecurity is a global concern and countries are adopting cyber governance frameworks to keep pace.
Cyberspace is increasingly being used as a vehicle of crime and other social ills, which necessitates its security, safety, and resilience in order to foster its positive dimensions that includes bridging the digital divide while influencing every aspect of economic and social activities, he said.
Earlier, a high-level delegation of Allied ICT Finland (AIF) called on him to discuss matters related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and digitalization.
The delegation was led by Matti Saren, a Senior Board Member of AIF, to discuss areas of bilateral interest related to Human Capital Development in Pakistan on European Standards.
The minister also invited AIF for opening an IT university campus in Pakistan where the government would provide all the facilities, as the government wants to implement an “education emergency” in the country.
AIF is a government based organization and a collaborative network which provides an ecosystem for applying and enabling ICT’s globally. The AIF Forum consists of 19 Finnish Universities and ICT research institutes, 3000+ researchers and more than 1200 companies
Saren apprised the Federal IT Minister about the developments taking place in the European ICT Sector and how AIF consortium of universities and researchers can help Pakistani youth in applied ICT skills of international standards.
He also informed the IT Minister about the global market ICT dynamics, trends related to emerging technologies, the type of expertise which will be required in the coming 20 years, and how Pakistan should prepare itself for catering the global market requirements through high impact short termed ICT vocational courses and certifications.
During the meeting, Dr. Siddiqui shared his views about human capital development and termed Pakistani youth as an “Asset” of the nation. He further added that in order to ensure better inclusion and to take the opportunity to the grassroots level, digital space can be pivotal and the Ministry is looking into developing programs where masses could be targeted maximally at low cost.
Dr. Siddiqui emphasized on the quality of human resources and their applied skill sets so that the overall wage structure of Pakistani professionals could improve in the international market adding to the national economic growth. He concluded the meeting by directing his team to further look into possible collaboration in this regard.
He said that AIF was a collaboration network of Finnish ICT research institutes and added that he discussed national research, standardization body for improving and enhancing quality of education and research based on international standards, development of sustainable progression programmes for entrepreneurs and start-ups at grassroots by developing a National Network of Research, Innovation, and Commercialization centers with the delegation.
A possible collaboration on student exchange and scholarship programmes for Pakistani students was also discussed. Dr. Khalid said the delegation agreed to support Pakistan in standardization for improving and enhancing the quality of IT education.
He said the delegation of Allied ICT Finland was also asked to engage with Virtual University to explore areas of bilateral interest.
Replying to another question, he said the ministry has proposed projects relating to e-governance, e-health, and e-education for the next fiscal year’s budget and hopes to receive a reasonable allocation for the purpose.