KASB IT EXPANSION PLANS

An interview with Mohammed Saleem, Chief Operating Officer KASB IT

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Jan 22 -28, 2001

Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT) which is endeavouring to promote Information Technology in Pakistan is determined to provide competency based quality education to the students.

Mohammed Saleem, Chief Operating Officer of KASBIT, observed this while talking to Pakistan & Gulf Economist about the role of education sector for strengthening the base of Information Technology in Pakistan.

Expressing his concern over what he called the limited resources of the education sector and ever-increasing demand for IT education. While supporting his arguments, Mohammed Saleem cited the example of Karachi University, which was swarmed by over 6,500 applications seeking admissions in the BCS programme for the current year. He agreed that comparatively lower fee was the major reason for attracting such a high number of students seeking admission in Karachi University, however the situation more or less is not much different in the private sector institutions. He was of the view that ever-increasing demand for IT graduates both within the country as well as abroad, suggests that country needs at least 100 more universities to take advantage of the global opportunities. Giving an overview of the situation in the field of education Mohammed Saleem said currently only 12 Universities are functioning in Karachi while another 16 from all over the country are in the process for grant of the charter. This gives an idea about the situation. He said that at least 50,000 IT graduates are needed over next three years but the existing education facilities may produce a scratch of the actual requirement. This is of course an important matter if the economic managers are serious to get hold of the opportunity to get out of the financial crunch and backbreaking burden of the foreign and local debts.

When asked to suggest ways and means to overcome the shortage of skilled personnel in the field of Information Technology, he strongly recommended that beside attractive incentives to the private sector to divert their resources into IT sector, reducing the nasty bureaucratic role to zero level is of vital importance to achieve tangible results. Grooming of the industrialists and senior executives of the private sector into IT sector is yet another way to create an IT culture in Pakistan. He said unless the people who matter are apprised of the importance of the IT they won't be convinced to bring investment in this sector. Here comes the role of the representative trade bodies like Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other prominent chambers to create awareness and interest about the IT opportunities among the members. He said that two types of people are required in the IT sector that a) IT skilled personnel and b) People having strong conceptual education background. In the field of IT where rapid changes are transpired every day we need the people who can match the pace of change. In order to achieve this goal we have to develop center of excellence to produce conceptually strong graduates. Production of conceptually strong people is of vital importance for survival because what could 100 simply skilled personnel can earn may be much less than from what only one conceptually strong man can produce. Hence there is a serious need of providing base of quality education to the younger generation which is second to none throughout the world.

In order to achieve this cherished goal, he identified three areas, which needs immediate attention of the government. They are:

Finance
Faculty
Facility

All the three components are of the vital importance for growth of the IT or for that matter any field of education. Here comes the role of the private sector. People are ready to divert their resources from their existing business towards the development of this challenging field. Yet the untamed bureaucracy is needed to cut to the size. Announcing a brilliant policy would not be sufficient, implementation of the policy by the dedicated and selfless patriots is of equally importance if we have to harvest a crop required by the nation, Saleem observed.

He said that the mission of KASBIT is to provide competency based quality education to the students to inculcate in them the ability to utilize their maximum potential so that they can assume leadership roles in their future professions and successfully meet the challenges of the new era of computer and technology. KASBIT plans to open institutes in all major cities of Pakistan. Currently following degree programmes are offered i.e. BCS, BBIT and e-Commerce 3 years programme. While 2 years Masters programme are available including MCS, MCS (Modular Programme Masters of Business and Information Technology and Masters of E-Commerce.