By AMANULLAH BASHAR
June 18 - 24, 2001
Arshad Khalil, is the Chief Executive of Arena
Multimedia, which has come to Pakistan with the mission to create a
pool of high quality multimedia and Web professionals? Carrying a rich
background of computer business (Hardware), Arshad Khalil launched his
computer education program in Pakistan after having affiliation with
Aptech Worldwide in 1997. He initiated his computer literacy by
establishing a computer education center with the name of Arena
Multimedia in Karachi in 1997. The overwhelming response he received
encouraged him to establish a chain of computer education centers not
only in Karachi but also in other major cities of Pakistan. Today 8
Arena Multimedia centers are engaged in imparting knowledge of
Information Technology in various disciplines mainly the multimedia
and web engineering. So far a large number of students have completed
their courses to the satisfaction of the IT market and are serving
within and outside Pakistan.
PAGE: Would you give an outline of the
working of Arena Multimedia and its affiliation with the parent
Arshad: Arena the multimedia is an Apple
Computer (worldwide leader in multimedia design and development).
Multimedia can be defined as applications that bring together multiple
types of media like text, illustration, sound, animation and video
coupled with interactivity, that makes multimedia content come alive
in dynamic ways. Arshad said that IT and computer industry is
currently at a point in its evolution where the entry and the
advancement level are not tied closely to academic achievements.
PAGE: Arena Multimedia, certainly is a
success story in IT education in Pakistan. What made you to switch
over from computer business to IT education?
Arshad: We were doing business in computer
hardware as a partner of Apple in Pakistan. A long and successful
business association with Apple helped to establish credibility in the
eyes of International partners. The Apple felt that we could deliver
the good in IT education. Hence they introduced with the training
division of Aptech Worldwide Inc.'s. They are the leading providers of
quality education in the field of Multimedia. It has a network of over
1600 centers Worldwide. The story begins after the signing of an
agreement with Aptech. Now Arena's mission is to create a pool of high
quality multimedia professionals capable to meet the demanding needs
of organizations for the latest generation of multimedia applications.
In Pakistan, Arena Multimedia started its operations in March 1998.
Within a short span of time Arena has become a market leader in
multimedia training and have a large number of centers that provide
quality education in their respective areas.
PAGE: Your future program for expansion of
the IT education in Pakistan?
Arshad: So far, 8 Arena centers are
successfully operating in Karachi while one is working in Lahore and
another will start its operation in Hyderabad from July 1. Basically,
the mission is directed to contribute towards the countrywide efforts
for human resource development in Pakistan. It is a humble
contribution to bring IT education to Pakistan on the part of Arena
Multimedia. It has produced and producing professionals who are not
only meeting the demand of everchanging IT market but a large number
of quality professionals are also contributing their share from abroad
with home remittances to Pakistan's economy.
PAGE: Would you like to comment on the
mushrooming of so called IT education centers not having proper labs
or facilities required for IT education, yet they are active in
hoodwinking the poor of their time and money?
Arshad: Yes, it is unfortunate to allow
every Tom and Herry to make hey with the lot of the people. An
effective check on mushrooming of the unscrupulous IT centers is
necessary. Although the Ministry of Science and Technology has done a
great job for the promotion of IT education in Pakistan, yet there is
a need of a certain criterion and standard as the pre-requisite for
establishing education centers either in the field of IT or any other
subject. It is important to save people from being deprived of time
and money at the hands of the cheat.
PAGE: There were reports that the government
intended to import used computers in Pakistan. Do you feel it will
help growth of IT in Pakistan?
Arshad: No way. Instead of importing used
computers, I believe the youngster be encouraged to assemble new
computers in Pakistan. Get a license for manufacturing or assembling
of the computers. By this way we can develop local computer industry
besides providing job opportunities to the youth, he suggested. It is
much easier than to assemble a car but more beneficial in many ways,
he remarked. He also suggested that it is not the IT education, alone
which can do magic in resolving the economic problems faced by
Pakistan. We already have a large number of graduates in the subjects
other than IT. These unemployed graduates should be given IT education
to hit the target of grabbing the share out of the global
opportunities. Actually, a strong basic academic education is of vital
importance for rich harvesting in any crop or any sector of education,