. .




Science & Technology


Politics & Policy

May 07 - 13, 2001

Fauzia Fakhruddin, is the Senior IT Manager at NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. She was among the few outstanding students of the NED University who were retained by the University soon after getting through the exams of Bachelor of Engineering (B.E) Computer Systems Engineering in 1998. She joined as Assistant Manager Data Processing in May 1998 and within a short span of time was promoted to the position of Senior IT Manager in July 2000.

Fauzia carries the credit of the success story to his professional career as the Incharge of the NED's Library Computerization Project. It is one of the first major Library computerization project in Pakistan which offers Database searching facilities available worldwide through Z39.50 gateway as well as of local database. These services are available through the Library web site, for which Oracle RDBMS software was used as backend database. The team efforts for putting the NED Library on line were duly acknowledged by the IT professionals as well as the Governor of Sindh, when he visited the NED University in 1999.

PAGE: Would you like to highlight the activities carried by the IT Department in NED.

Fauzia: Beside the computerization of the NED library, it gives me a great sense of job satisfaction that the IT team also did a commendable job of computerization of Examination Department. I was the leader of that team which developed a Student Record Management Software by using Oracle RDBMS software both as front and backend tools. This project was also accomplished, tested and launched well ahead of time and with 99 per cent accuracy. This was for the first time in Pakistan that in house developed software was applied and tested on live data.

PAGE: What are the objectives of the IT section in your University.

Fauzia: The NED University has its own ISP and Internet Facility along its own internal NETWORK so that all students can access it from their own departments. The objectives of the facility are including Interactive Web-based Teaching/ Learning, Access to Databases and Information Agencies, Linkages with Universities/ Research Institutions, Resource Share, Continuing Engineering Education, Web Page Development/ Web site management and On-line Training, MIS & ISO 9000. The University intends holding Online Courses in collaboration with other Universities both local and foreign. These courses could be on subjects in which required expertise is not available. Interactive desktop video conferencing for discussions on research topics can also be one of the possible future developments, she said.

PAGE: The global proliferation of IT is being described as historic opportunities for the developing countries. What do you suggest to make out the best use of IT talents to hit the desired economic goals.

Fauzia: Lack of coordination between the market and the education centers is one of the areas, which needs immediate attention of the decision-makers. We have already lost a great deal of precious time in conventional type of education system which was designed without giving a serious thought to the market requirements. There is a need of close coordination between various segments of the economy and the education sector so that the courses are designed in conformity to the needs of the day, requirement of the market. To match with the swift changes taking place around the world as well as within the country is of vital importance for survival of the economy and the education sector is not exception to this, she said.

PAGE: What steps you would suggest for creation of the culture of close inter-action between industry or for that matter other segments of the economy and the education sector?

Fauzia: Where there is a will there is a way. Both the active players of the economy as well as the education sector in need to work together in close collaboration. This will help stabilizing the demand and supply position. If the market-led education is imparted, the educated persons will not run from pillar to post to get a job on one hand while the industry or other sectors of the economy will be able to produce quality products with skilled manpower, she said. The public sector organizations are still working with the conventional manual system in this IT age leading to enormous problems and complexities both for the people as well as for the organizations. For example, KESC has to deal with over 1.4 million consumers in Karachi. Since the entire system has not been computerized, you may witness a scene of the fish market at any billing office of the utility company. This is one example; there are scores of such cases in public sector organizations. Our students, at the IT universities can be utilized by giving them assignments for computerization of the procedures in these organizations. This exercise could prove beneficial in diversified way. Things, which are in a mess in the large public sector organizations, could be improved, students will get on the job training and the people would get relieved of the topsy-turvy handling in these organizations.