Farrukh Nizami got his engineering degree from the
USA and also worked there for 16 years. He is the first Microsoft
Certified System Engineer and the first Microsoft Trainer. He has been
involved in training students for Microsoft and Cisco for last four
years and provided training to more than 2000 students in Pakistan.
Presently he is an advisor in CEP and also managing CTTC Pakistan.
By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Aug 27 - Sep 02, 2001
PAGE: What is the Continuous Education Programme?
FARRUKH NIZAMI: Information Technology (IT)
is developing at such a fast pace that the knowledge acquired yesterday
becomes obsolete tomorrow. Therefore, it is mandatory for the IT
professionals to keep abreast with the latest developments. The process
of imparting latest knowledge is called Continuous Education Programme (CEP).
While people in the developed countries are fully aware of the need for
keeping themselves update, it is all the more important for Pakistanis
to go for the CEP.
PAGE: You are considered a pioneer of CEP in Pakistan,
what have you achieved?
FARRUKH: Having studied in the USA and worked
with some of IT companies, I am able to understand the
need for the CEP. After coming back to Pakistan I joined Sir Syed
University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), which enjoys the
privilege of providing support to the big companies like Microsoft,
Cisco and Lucent Technologies. My first priority is to keep the students
abreast with the latest developments as well as to develop them to be a
contributor in new technologies. My other associates at SSUET teach the
prescribed curriculum and my team complements their endeavour by
offering these short courses. Initially these short courses were offered
to SSUET students. However, lately students enrolled at other
universities attend these courses. I am sure SSUET is contributing its
share. Today every one is talking about the success of Operation Badar
but very few people know that SSUET was the launching pad and still
contributes the largest share."
PAGE: Engaging faculty to conduct these courses might
have been difficult, how you have overcome the problem?
FARRUKH: These courses are mostly conducted in
the USA and fees are also enormous. It is not possible for most of
Pakistanis to attend these courses. SSUET is widely supported by
Pakistanis living in the USA. A number of these professionals are
involved in IT and also visit Pakistan regularly. A large number
of these professionals express their wish to short courses at SSUET. I
term this, training of trainers. The advantage is the nominal fee
charged by the SSUET. The fees for one short course in the USA is around
US$ 2,000, whereas SSUET charges only Rs 4,000. SSUET launched this
programme in 1997 and over the years have trained thousands of people.
PAGE: What results SSUET has achieved?
FARRUKH: SSUET is blessed with an elaborate
infrastructure, dedicated faculty and hard working students. It has been
able to produce role-models, graduates joining industry leaders. This
inculcates a spirit in other students to surpass the achievements of
their predecessors. SSUET's Technology Incubator is involved in
developing software for Cisco and Lockheed where a number of students
get a chance to prove their talents. Therefore, SSUET graduates are the
most sought after people not only in Pakistan but in the USA also. We
are not afraid of brain drain and have a commitment to produce graduates
in such a large number that Pakistan does not face any scarcity of
skilled IT professionals.
PAGE: What distinguished SSUET from other IT schools?
FARRUKH: In IT, Pakistan needs a
variety of professionals, the lowest being the computer operator and the
highest being the software architect. Being a university, our mandate
does not demand producing operators. As I have said earlier that SSUET
is associated with world leaders, we aim at producing the architects
only. The practice of complementing curriculum with short courses brings
our graduates at par in knowledge with overseas counterparts.
PAGE: What are your suggestions for making Pakistan an IT
FARRUKH: I have a very strong faith in Pakistan
and its people. The nation has not progressed because of non-clarity of
objectives and insufficient efforts to achieve the socalled objectives.
I believe that educators in Pakistan have the highest responsibility. If
we wish to change the existing education system, the job can be done in
two phases: 1) producing or bringing in experts in required disciplines
to train the trainers and 2) rewrite our curriculum. I also have strong
faith in students and do not subscribe to the general impression that
they do not devote time to their studies. They only want an education
which can ensure a better future. To conclude I will say, "If we
can ensure a better future for the upcoming generation, we should
contribute by providing better education which can make Pakistan a