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Science & Technology

Corporate Profile

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 organization.

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, he observed.