!logo.jpg (6328 bytes) . .

1_popup_home.gif (1391 bytes)



For the record
Omer Manya
Science & Technology
Solar heartbeat
Internet cellphones
Redesigning business processes
Women executives and their success

Apr 10 - 16, 2000

Omer Manya, Director, The Fourth R franchise in Pakistan is committed to spreading computer literacy amongst the people of the country. His schooling was from Karachi Grammar School, and then at the University of Illinois in Chicago where he graduated with a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering in Computer Science. Fresh out of college in 1985, Omer was hired by Motorola at their Headquarters in Schaumburg as a Software Engineer. In 1996 Omer was transferred to Singapore as Director, Engineering and was responsible for the entire Asia-Pacific region. His work experience has given him the insight into the technical industry that makes him an ideal candidate to head The Fourth R franchise in Pakistan.

Currently, he is working towards increasing computer literacy amongst not only children but also ladies — be they house-makers or career women. His mission is to raise Pakistan's IT capabilities by training people according to international computer training standards with an emphasis on continuously updating the curriculum. He plans on opening several "The Fourth R" franchises in various parts of the city which will impart quality computer training within the next few years.

PAGE: What in your opinion is the reason for US companies coming into Pakistan with their franchise offices?

Omer Manya: I think in general the buying potential in Karachi itself and in the major cities like Lahore and Islamabad is there. For most of these American companies, the economics is the big thing, they're coming in here because they believe the people have purchasing power. Pakistan has a lot of buying potential and slowly and surely franchises are coming up. Now people have the opportunity to buy foreign products from here and American companies are realizing that market potential and are building on those opportunities.

PAGE: What is The Fourth R? Tell us something about this company and why you chose to bring this franchise to Pakistan.

OM: The Fourth R is based in Seattle and established in 1991. It is now a world leader in providing computer training for "every age at every stage". The name The Fourth R is an American name and terminology. In American education the teachers and all the academic people always use the "3 Rs" of education — Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Computers have become the fourth 'R' although the 'R' is at the end. The message is that computers are really absolutely essential for future success. You can read, you can write, you can do arithmetic but if you don't know computers you will have a major handicap when you get into the outside world.

I wanted to start something that was going along my expertise area, which was computer education. The Fourth R's emphasis was on computer education for children which is what I really wanted to get into because I feel that just like any other art or skill, computer education must be started early to become a second part of your nature.

PAGE: What has been the response?

OM: The response has been great — they like the environment here, they like the teachers that I have selected. With each new person that comes in I take the time and let them view the course material, I explain what the children are going through and they feel comfortable knowing what their children will be learning. In fact, they liked the curriculum so much that I expanded the portfolio and started Adult Classes in the morning. People have actually been looking for places where the parents feel comfortable about leaving the children in the right environment.

PAGE: How is The Fourth R different from other computer training institutes?

OM: I believe we are quite different — first reason being we have the foreign affiliation not just for the namesake but for the sake of keeping up to the standards. Computer technology is something that is changing overnight; what we had five years ago is just obsolete and what happened in the last ten years is going to happen in the next two years. Computer institutions that are here, which are up-to-date today will not be up-to-date tomorrow unless they invest in major research abroad. And I have that because The Fourth R is established in over 30 countries and it is financially feasible for them to have a research team in the US and which is continuously updating the curriculum. You are sure to get the latest technology — which is where I believe we are different. Secondly, I have invested in the environment. Most of the institutions don't invest so heavily in the environment, which I believe is just as conducive to the learning as the technical matter.