INTERVIEW WITH SHAHZAD AHMAD AWAN, HONORARY TREASURER ICMAP

KHALIL AHMED 
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

July 9 - 15, 20
12

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF AND ICMAP.

AWAN: Being national council member of ICMAP, I am holding the positions of honorary treasurer and chairman research and publications committee, member of ICMAP and institute of chartered accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) joint committee, member board of governors/honorary secretary Pakistan institute of public finance accountants (PIPFA), honorary secretary, cost and management accountants' (CMA) foundation and technical advisor to the board of south Asian federation of accountants (SAFA). My association with the institute is around 22-year old. I hold professional qualifications i.e. LLB, FPA FCMA. I am also actively associated with renowned educational institutions of Pakistan as visiting faculty member. Besides the above, I am serving Sui northern gas pipelines limited as chief officer (billing and recovery).

The institute of cost and management accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP) was established in 1951 and was granted statutory status under the Cost and Management Accountants Act, 1966 for the regulation of the profession of cost and management accounting. ICMAP is the sole provider of cost and management accounting education, training and professional certification in Pakistan. The institute has earned reputation both nationally and internationally for its high standards in imparting education and testing. The institute has been meeting an important national human resource need through a steady flow of professional management accountants to occupy leading positions in the corporate world.

ICMAP has over 5,000 members who hold senior positions in trade, commerce, industry, and government in Pakistan and abroad. The number of active registered students is around 15000, which makes ICMAP one of the largest professional institutions in Pakistan.

PAGE: COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS OFFERED BY ICMAP?

AWAN: ICMAP offers following certification:

1. Certificate in Accounting & Management (CAM)
(2-year Certification after high school entry)

2. One year Postgraduate Certificate in Accounting
(issued after 1-year / Stage-2)

3. Two-year Postgraduate Certificate in Cost and Management Accounting
(issued after 2 years / Stage-4)

4. Cost & Management Accounting Final Certificate (CMA)
(issued after 3 years / Stage 6)

After completion of all stages/parts :

1. Associate Cost and Management Accountant (ACMA)
(issued after completion of all stages and / or semesters and fulfilling membership requirements)

1. Fellow Cost and Management Accountant (FCMA)
(issued after ACMA and fulfilling fellowship requirements)

PAGE: THROW SOME LIGHT ON CAM AND CMA EQUIVALENCE.

AWAN: CAM is a two-year certificate program in accounting and management for intermediate/A-levels students, whereas CMA is a three-year postgraduate certificate program in cost and management accounting for graduates, postgraduates and CAM qualified students.

PAGE: COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT THE IMPACT OF ECONOMIC PROBLEMS ON EDUCATION SECTOR?

AWAN: Education plays an important role in political stability, economic development, and social progress of a nation. It brings economic development by enhancing the productivity and efficiency of the people, and provides them necessary skills, which enable the people to play their role in supporting the sustainable economic growth of the country. It is a sad fact that the vital role and significance of education system is largely neglected in Pakistan. Multiple systems of education, inadequate funds, inadequate physical and other facilities, poor examination system, dropouts, low enrollment rate, inconsistency in education policies, aimless education, no free and compulsory education, political interference, corruption, outdated curricula, poor management and supervision, lack of research, secularization of education, and deficiency of professional teachers are all having a negative impact on education system and quality in Pakistan. In order to address these problems, there is a dire need for the formulation of rational policies and plans as well as adequate system for their implementation.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN.

AWAN: In Pakistan, higher education ill-prepares the society for the challenges that lie ahead. Transformation of our institutions of higher education into world-class seats of learning, equipped to foster high quality education, scholarship and research, produce enlightened citizens with strong moral and ethical values that build a tolerant and pluralistic society rooted in the culture of Pakistan is need of the hour. Of all the economic growth initiatives available to the government of Pakistan, perhaps none holds more promise and the possibility of large scale and sustainable returns than the effectiveness and expansion of the higher education infrastructure in Pakistan. This does not mean that the value of education is limited only to economic development. Its value extends and is universally viewed as extending well beyond its impact on economic performance to encompass greater social impact contributing to a just, democratic, and enlightened society.

PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE PROGRESS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN WITH OUR NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES?

AWAN: Education is important for Pakistan's progress. Despite recent achievements, the country still faces numerous challenges to raise the education of its population to the standard of its south Asian neighbors, and to meet its own social and economic development needs. At this time when the neighboring countries of Pakistan, including India are doubling the funds for higher education, Pakistan is even slashing the higher education budget. HEC commitment to higher education has been scaled back in the current financial year by 10 percent and at the same time neighboring India has raised budget for higher-education by 25 percent. India has a population six times more than that of Pakistan. Its GDP at $1.8 trillion is 10 times larger than ours, its growth rate is 8.5 percent, and Pakistan's growth rate is 2.4.

Pakistan has 132 universities and India has 504. Higher education commission (HEC) of Pakistan has approved two new universities in next five years, while over the next five years India will establish 200 new universities and 40 new high-level institutes. A sum of Rs800 billion, the biggest-ever allocation, is being set aside in the 12th five-year-plan of India (2012-2017) to propel it into a strong knowledge-based economy. India has presently 17 percent of its youth between the ages of 17 of 23 enrolled in the higher education sector (as opposed to Pakistan's 7.6 percent). It plans to increase this enrolment to 30 percent of the same age group by the year 2030. India decided to replace its University Grants Commission with a stronger federally funded organization, national commission of higher education and research.

If we want to pull our country out of prevailing crisis and put it on the path of development, we must go an extra mile in education sector, which would directly generate skilled workforce. Pakistan needs to do a lot more to be at par with Bangladesh and India. Now, time has come for us to think over it seriously.