GROWTH OF IT INSTITUTIONS
Expected to hit the target of providing a resource pool
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Sep 24 - 30, 2001
The overwhelming demand for IT professionals globally as well as within the country has unleashed a craze for IT education among the youth resulting in tremendous growth of a large number of IT institutions in Pakistan.
Fascinated by the unprecedented demand for IT education and a handsome reward too, some large groups of companies, industries, business houses and builders have jumped into the IT arena. They are investing at a massive scale for establishing IT Institutes and Universities. Some of them have arranged affiliations with known universities abroad. A large number of foreign institutes have also come into the business of IT education.
By and large it is a good trend which would certainly help establishing a strong foundation for IT education in Pakistan. However lack of direction in most of these institutes is something which needs to be checked immediately. These institutes or even established universities are offering various degree courses in IT without knowing demands or requirement of the IT industry or software houses. There should be a forum where holding of regular business meetings between Software Houses and other corporate sector is of vital importance to produce tangible results.
Due to unprecedented demand for IT education, a large number of small and big IT institutes have appeared on the surface, it is however surprising to note as to how these institutions are managing their business in the absence of IT teachers. One can understand that large business houses, which have entered into this business, can manage quality in their faculties but how the institutes housed in smaller space or flats can hire a teacher having a quality educational background.
It is however heartening to note that a considerable number of IT institutes though charging very high price for education are however capable to deliver the goods. It is expected that these institutions equipped with proper labs, quality environment and skilled teachers will help providing a resource pool to enable the country to cater to the needs in future. The government has received a large number of applications seeking charter of a University in the major cities of Pakistan. The government of Pakistan has also launched a number of schemes for the advancement of IT education in Pakistan especially to encourage the private sector for investment in this sector.
These IT institutions which had started with diploma in IT and various short courses, are now growing to the level degree courses indicating their financial stability within a short period of time. Most of these institutes have developed their faculties by promoting their senior or outstanding students due to absence of quality teachers in the field of IT education.
It is unfortunate that some of the so-called IT institutes are promoting entry after Matric and O level and promising degrees in two or three years. These institutes are not only trifling with the future of the students but also misleading them to a road having no destination. Such institutions raising slogans for short cuts to attract the poor or immature students need to be checked sternly. Age is the most precious asset of our youth, which should not be perished by unscrupulous elements who have come into the field of education just to make money. Scrutiny of these institutes is the need of the hour to save time and energy of our students.
The Ministry of Science and Technology certainly has done a tremendous job for the promotion of IT sector in Pakistan. However there is always room for improvement. In order to make it result oriented, besides programmers, IT sector also needs Software Developers, Analysts, IT Auditors, Software Architects.
According to veteran educationist, the fever of IT education has taken the entire education sector into its grip because of its demand in the market. He said that an IT professional equipped with quality education earns much more from what it is earned by a Ph.D. Besides the economics, the fascinating features of the IT have attracted the youth.
Things in the educational institutions have started moving in different directions. Unlike the past when the admission in pre-medical was much in demand, the pre-engineering, a pre-requisite for seeking admission in computer science, has become a hot cake. The demand for IT education has overwhelmingly taken all sort of education institutes and universities. This unusual leaning towards IT is feared to harm rest of the subjects, which are equally important for economic growth. In order to keep a balance between various subjects; the experts in education should design the syllabus of different subject with the combination of IT education.
Today any successful model of software development facilities does not complete without a viable and state-of-the-art training facilities like in the case of professional education such as medical, engineering and accountancy. These efforts will provide much needed resource pool and talent for realizing the dream of making the IT revolution successful in Pakistan for a viable, strong and internationally competent Software IT industry.