Produce skilled engineers/technologists

ENGINEERS are known as developers and it is a pleasant coincidence that currently those sitting at the helm of affairs

including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and some other cabinet members also hold degrees in Engineering. Thus one may say that responsibility of building the nation is currently in the hands of those who could be the most suitable for the job and one also wonders why will they not do the needful to exploit the true strength of the nation which definitely resides in its human capital – especially its engineering workforce as these are the engineers who actually develop the new processes and products and create and manage new systems for civil infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare delivery, information management and so on.
This was the reason that the Prime Minister and some other engineer cabinet members were present at the Engineers Convention organized by Pakistan Engineering Council [PEC] in the federal capital on Thursday where they articulated their vision as to how to take forward the country on the path of sustainable development by using the hands and brains of the engineers and technologists. Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi very candidly and emphatically gave a way forward to the PEC to achieve par excellence in engineering which is vital to create knowledge and innovation and reduce country’s reliance and dependence on the western world. The PM asked the PEC to review the curriculum and improve the quality of engineering education keeping in view the contemporary requirements. There is no doubt that the incumbent Chairman of PEC Javed Salim Qureshi since assuming the office has done his best to bring reforms and fight for the rights of the engineers community but we understand that as pointed out by the PM himself, there is need to improve the syllabus that produces the skilled engineers/technologists capable of developing solutions and generating opportunities through their creativity and entrepreneurship. Currently we have a pool of engineers and thousands more are in the pipeline but how many of them are capable to compete in the world. We are not doubting the capabilities of our engineers as they are the ones who contributed the most in making Pakistan a nuclear power and built infrastructure ranging from road projects to power plants but the young lot that are graduating from the universities are relying more on ‘copy and paste’ formula to get the degrees. In our view, the engineering education should shift emphasis from course content to a more comprehensive view – the one which focuses on the development of human resources and the broader educational experience in which individual courses and experiences are connected and integrated. There is growing consensus that our universities need to offer more practice-oriented degree programs that have stronger connections to industry and to the social, economic, and management sciences. We expect that under the able guidance of the PM and the Planning Minister, the PEC will fulfil its responsibilities towards that end and chalk out such a syllabus in consultation with the universities that make our youth really knowledge producers rather than ‘copy pasters’. This is also vital if we really want to take full advantage of the opportunities currently or to be thrown by the multidimensional CPEC in future.

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