Mushroom growth of IT institutes
Quality should come first
By Khurram H. Kalia
Sep 03 - 09, 2001
Chairman (Youth Wing) Ko-ordination Group
Mushroom growth is characterized to be speedy,
uncontrollable, haphazard and in an unorganized manner. These qualities
are the very antithesis of what education is all about. Education
advocates organizing, planning and structuring. Hence, if attempt is
made to mix Education with Mushroom growth, the result can only be chaos
and disaster and nothing else. Therefore, the idea of this current
article is not to discuss whether the impact of Mushroom growth is
positive or negative. It is bound to be devastating. However, we must
a) Why mushroom growth.
b) How adverse the impact actually is.
c) Remedial and preventive actions.
d) Benefits gained from Mushroom growth (?)
Preamble- IT Trend:
Currently IT trend is going on in Pakistan and is in
its boom stage. Several institutes today are offering BBA & MBA in
MIS; BCS, MCS, BIT, MIT, DIT, E-commerce, M-Commerce etc. Every where
you go you'll find IT institutes offering Diplomas and short courses.
Not only this many existing institutes have started teaching IT courses
and are offering Degrees and Diplomas. Short and crash courses are being
offered for tools and languages such as Java, visual basic, C++ so on
and so forth. These course offerings keep changing from time to time. As
soon as a new tool or computer language comes in demand, it starts being
offered in almost all the institutes, without any structured syllabi or
Why Mushroom Growth:
Where ever a negative practice is carried on in a
society or in a country it can never flourish unless and until the
people of that society encourage it — intentionally or inadvertently.
Social practices cannot be stopped by government and legislative bodies,
since they are not legally binding and thus cannot be subjected to
punishments if they are wrong. An institute can never issue a degree
without any authentication by a Government or UGC. Since issuance of
degree is needed to be authorized therefore diploma culture is in full
swing. The following are the main reasons:
No Authentication Required:
These days this is a very lucrative business. All you
have to do is to rent a small place, hire two three teachers and you can
have an institute of your own. Your institute needs not to be authorized
by anybody and you can make good money out of it. Diplomas are not
considered as degrees even though most of them cost equal to or some
times more than degrees.
Low rate of Literacy in our Country:
The literacy rate of average Pakistani is very low.
Due to which these simple people get tricked by these fake institutes
very easily. Pakistani culture is as such that people in our country do
not think before acting. They are in a habit of following the trend
blindly no matter whether it actually offers a potential for them in
future or not.
Difficult To Acknowledge The Official Status of Genuine
And every where one can find IT institutes offering
degrees and diplomas. Few of them are officially authorized and
producing real good IT professionals. However due to the presence of so
many IT institutes it's very difficult to acknowledge the official
status of genuine institutes.
Short Cut Mania:
The major problem our country is facing today is the
lack of struggle among our youth. The young generation of our nation is
looking for short cut and they want to acquire degrees irrespective of
any university. All they are interested in acquiring a piece of paper of
degree and to put the degree in their resume.
Many of these Universities and institutes are not
even looking for any prerequisites. Even if a person is matric passed he
can be enrolled in a BBA or MBA program. With these admission criteria
one can well imagine what kind of professionals they must be producing.
How adverse the impact actually is:
We shall now discuss the negative impacts of this
kind of mushroom growth in detail:
Portraying a Negative Image of our country in the
Just by saying that we have so many IT institutes in
our country, if a foreigner would hear that he/she would be under an
impression that Pakistan has a high literacy rate, however the situation
is not as it sounds. And when these "false" professionals
represent our country one can well imagine what sort of impression they
must be leaving. It is a matter of national image being tarnished.
The so called IT institutes are not only charging
humongous amounts of money for their virtually useless diplomas and
certifications, thereby depriving poor individuals who fall prey to
their lure of hard earned money but the real loss comes in terms of the
"human resource" the "talent" that is WASTED which
if properly trained and educated could have become an asset for our
society and nation .
Frustration among Youth
These institutes which are popping up on daily bases
are creating a sense of uncertainty among our youth. Moreover, when the
outcome of these institutes enters the market and fails to get any
decent jobs and all the dreams of instant riches that were shown to them
by these institutes to lure them, explode with a band that resounds in
their mind 24 hours a day. This, plus the expectations of others, such
as parents, siblings etc. all cumulates and increases their frustration.
Education not Complete.
Another major problem is with those Institutes who
are offering Diplomas to people and ensure a bright future to them.
These diplomas are very expensive too. However only few of them
providing quality education to students. In search for a bright future
several students who were enrolled in school colleges quit studies and
enrolled in diploma classes, All these students are in search for a
shorter way through which in minimum time and cost they can get good
Now question arises if people are not willing get
proper degrees and are looking for easy ways towards success, will they
be able to achieve any success? Nations do not achieve success over the
night. A successful nation has several generations' effort behind them.
Their people strive hard to make their nation a successful nation.
However, due to the bright dreams of greener pastures
shown to our gullible youth, they fall for the trap and instead of
acquiring complete education which as a MUST to make them a useful
member of the society, they embark on this short cut path which more
often than naught leads them to disaster and failure.
Demand and Supply imbalance
On the one hand Pakistan has a dearth of IT
professionals. By way of example when we talk about competing with
India, India has more than 300,000 IT professionals and currently is
producing more than 100,000 Professionals annually. In contrast Pakistan
can claim only 15,000 IT professionals with the capacity no where near
that. So we NEED IT professionals badly. However, we need QUALITY
professionals who can be utilized for producing export quality software
and provide international quality services.
On the other hand so much human resource is wasted
after being processed from these fake Institutes as the motive behind
these institutes is to earn money and not to provide education. The crop
of these horrid lands is a waste and nothing else. Many a talented
people go a waste. So the damage is not one sided its manifolds. That
person who gets admitted loses. His/her family loses. The society and
nation loses. The damage is so profound and its repercussion so
horrifying. If you really think about it, it's something to really make
a person cry.
Low Credibility of Local Universities:
Due to so many institutes the over all credibility of
IT institutes has gone down so badly that it's affecting the student's
credibility in the local and international market.
Inferiority Complex and discrimination:
Due to low credibility of local degrees many students
prefer studying abroad where they spent a huge sum of money for the
education which they could have acquired in their homeland at a lower
fee. Most of these students study in the U.S. because they did not have
access to a quality university education in their home country.
For every one foreign student studying, there are
three to five students who would, if they had the resources or the
access. So not only precious foreign exchange is wasted, it also leads
to frustration among those who can not afford to go abroad for studies.
Because of the loss of credibility caused by this mushrooming growth
anyone who gets a degree from even a third class institute from abroad
is preferred over a person who is much better in everyway but has a
local degree. This also leads to inferiority complex among our youth.
Preventions and Remedies:
To prevent a wrong practice the reasons for it must
be known and its desired outcome must be known. Since these IT
institutes are required to spread the education specially the IT
Education among the masses. Thus we must first realize the worth of
education for an individual and for a nation.
Value of Education
Education plays as a foundation in the life of an
individual and the backbone of any country. Just like one can't expect a
building to be strong without a strong foundation similarly without a
strong backbone one cannot ensure the success of any country or nation.
History of mankind has witnessed the condition of states which have not
given importance to education. Education thus is the soul of a nation.
Education is the stairway to success and without acquiring it all
efforts to achieve success is worthless.
The Value of Education cannot be denied by any means.
With the passage of time the world is getting more dynamic and to
survive in this era one requires quality education in the utmost manner.
Role of Educational Institutes:
To educate any nation its educational institutes play
a very pivotal role. All great nations possess the most legendary,
popular and credible Educational Institutes of the world. For Instance
we know the names of Harvard (UK), Stanford (USA), Oxford (UK),
Cambridge (UK), Burnhall (US); WaterLoo (Canada), California Institute
of Technology (USA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA),
Georgia Tech (USA), University of Michigan (USA).
Education is the fuel for a Successful Economy; the
great Economic Giants possess the most credible Professional Institutes
which produces several successful professionals every year. These
professionals with their academic skills enter into the economy and
contribute for the well being of their nation.
What can and should be done:
Regularize the institutes:
The Government interference in this respect is very
important. Education sector must be subject to proper rules and
regulations so as to ensure that proper education being given by genuine
institutes. Even though we have University Grant Commission (UGC) to
give authorization to educational institutes but even their presence is
not effective. The reason is
a) Even those regulations that are there are
not enforced properly
b) Back hand and under the table tactics and
practices have resulted in many undeserving institutes being awarded
c) There are no follow ups to ensure continued
quality of education being provided. Even if there are, many reasons
prevent them from being effective .
The value of IT awareness and basic IT literacy can
not be over emphasized. And for this purpose short courses are very
effective. However, these short courses need also be regularized. We
have two bodies in Sindh right now, viz: Sind Board for Technical
Education (SBTE) and Skills Development Council (SDC). Although they are
doing some work but even they need to be made more effective. As there
is too much red tapism and even the course outlines are outdated. In the
field of IT this is ridiculous that they are teaching obsolete courses
or contents. So these bodies need to be overhauled as well.
There needs to be a body which should evaluate and
constantly monitor all the institutes and give them a rating. It can be
a simple approved or non approved rating or a rating on a scale of lets
say A to E etc. This body can be at the government level or preferably
at professional's level. However, this will at least ensure that people
don't fall prey to institutes which are not accredited by this body
which basically are out there to deprive people of their hard earned
money and nothing else. This work is actually in progress under the Sind
IT board. We hope that this body is made effective as soon as possible.
E-Commerce for the purpose of Education
Internet Technology provides opportunities for
filling unmet education needs, creating the ability to reach more
students with more targeted content at a lower cost. It will allow
Educational Institutes to provide and students to acquire Education
irrespective of Geographical Boundaries.
In the past few years, there has been a dramatic up
tick in the number of public and private colleges and universities.
These Institutions are seeking ways to. develop education delivery
systems that combine the best of traditional classroom instruction with
the power of technology.
This is illustrated by the growth in students
enrolled in distributed learning and the number of distributed learning
courses offered by two and four year institutions.
Career Counseling and Awareness:
We must also bring about awareness and do counseling
to ensure that prospective students of the IT field not only know which
particular course(s) to select but also should have a general idea of
what to look for in an institute before getting admission. This will
serve as a filter in which many of our youth can be prevented from
falling pray to the so called institutes.
Social Responsibility to be shouldered:
It is not fair to put all the blame on the Institute
owners or management. Sometimes, even though they want to provide
quality contents, they don't get guidance from anywhere. Hence, all the
IT houses and IT professionals should take up as a social obligation to
provide consultancy or supervision to institutes to enable them to
organize their courses and system as per the required standards.
Benefits Gained from Mushroom Growth(?):
Although the phenomena in itself is inherently
negative and a recipe for disaster, however, we have derived a benefit
from it in the form of side-effect. This is bringing IT awareness among
the masses. The definition of Literacy has changed and anyone who
doesn't have the basic IT knowledge will NOT be considered literate even
if he has multiple degrees or doctorates. And this goal of making
everybody IT literate is being aided by the IT institutes everywhere.
The point is not that this goal can not be achieved or could not have
been achieved without this Mushroom growth. But as we stand today this
is something that has been derived from this definitely negative
Mushroom growth has done a lot of damage. This is a
foregone conclusion. Many of the damages done are irreversible and this
is something that hurts very badly. However, what needs to be done is
that to prevent it from doing more damage. Take this up on a war
footing, because we are looking at disaster of catastrophic proportions.
Destroying a person's career and future is no game. But when not only is
the career at stake but his whole family is at stake things become
worse. However, this doesn't end there. With each person being subjected
to these so called institutes and being literally destroyed, our country
and nation loses a valuable human resource. This HAS to be stopped and
the sooner the better.