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For the record
Science &
Energy for the future
Investment for 2000
Amjadullah Khan
Politics & Policy
Democracy: In search
for governance

Book review

Jan 24 - 30, 2000

Amjadullah Khan, Chief Executive of the A. A INFOTECH, Information Technology, Consulting/ Training Prometric Testing, Software/Hardware. Amjad did his MBA in marketing from Preston University USA and Graduation in Business Administration from Southeastern University Washington D.C besides advance courses in the field of Information Technology.

Currently he is terribly involved in preparations to introduce some latest technology which he expects to take the Pakistan market by storm. He declined to give details about the technology which so far, according to him, has been adopted only by 6 countries around the world.

PAGE: India has left Pakistan much behind with tremendous growth in the field of Information Technology. India exported software wroth $3-4 billion last year as compared to $20-$25 million exports from Pakistan. How Pakistan can grab its share out of the opportunities existing in the international market.

AMJAD: Except a few cosmetic type efforts this important sector has been criminally neglected by the governments in Pakistan. The economic managers instead of smelling the coming events in this important technology which has overwhelmingly takenover the world did not update the curriculae of the universities and other educational institutions in accordance with the changing times. There were hardly one or two institutes in the public sector which were imparting and still imparting outdated computer courses which hardly have any place in the world market. Our national budget has also been remained ignorant or silent on this subject as allocations for development of Information Technology is missing in our budgets. Amjad suggested that this sector needs full patronization of the government beside introducing the subject as a major in all universities of the country.

PAGE: How do you see the emergence of a large number of Computer Institute in the private sector.

AMJAD: Yes, ofcourse the private sector Computer Institutes have mushroomed all over the country, he noded with a bitter smile on his face. Training standards at these institutes are questionable and need proper inspection to save people from being deprived of time and money. Instead of doing something positive, majority of such institutes are literally hoodwinking the poor. The young students majority of them hail from middle or poor strata of the population are allured by cheaper packages offered by these institutes for certain courses in computer science. But practically speaking these institutes have no standards and update knowledge of the market requirements. When the poor guy comes out of the institute in the hope of getting a respectable job after spending his precious time for completing the course, he feels that all his efforts have gone in vain as he gets no response from the market.

This cruel exercise should come to an end now. There is an immediate need for registration of all IT institutes and software houses to ensure quality of training imparted to the students.

PAGE: What steps you suggest to restore the situation.

AMJAD: IT department established by the government should register all software houses and institute which would give an assessment that how many graduates are available within the country and this would also discourage the cheats in this field.

A strict check on affiliation of the certificating organizations is also needed.

There is a need for appointment of Information Technology Councillors at government level. These councillors, he said, should be assigned the job of registration of the operating institutes beside providing update information about the selection of the field and subject to the institutes and the students. He said that there is a large majority of our educated womenfolk sitting at home. These women can play an important role by developing softwares as a free lancers at their homes. Banks and financial institutions can provide them loans for buying necessary equipment like computers and allied accessories.

PAGE: What is the current status of availability of the professionals in this sector.

AMJAD: There is a yawning gap between demand and supply in Pakistan. Unfortunately the trend of leaving the country to avail attractive job opportunities has created a vacuum. Although these professionals are a good source of foreign exchange for the country in the shape of home remittances, yet the absence of skilled work force within the country may cause stagnant economic growth in Pakistan. Therefore there should be a balance in retaining and allowing the professionals to leave the country.

PAGE: How can you justify to retain these professionals within the country in the face of attractive offers available abroad.

AMJAD: Of course only patriotism would not work to stop brain drain we have to improve job opportunities within the country. He suggested that all banks should have the provision for advancing and loaning facilities to the IT professionals and students. Like agriculture sector, financial support is of vital importance for cultivating a crop of IT professionals which should be made a part of human resource development programme of the country. This investment would pay back to the nation both locally as well as from external resources, Amjad concluded.