Role of Allama Iqbal Open University to Popularize Computer Science Education in Pakistan.

By DR. ARSHAD MAHMOOD
Dec 27, 1999 - Jan 02, 2000

This is now a reality that computer has become a part and parcel in almost all walks of life. The development of internet, unbelievable accuracy in defence, fast circulation of information globally is because of this hightech. So it has become necessary for every human being to get knowledge of this technology and to find ways to get optimal benefit from it.

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) realized the importance of this fact and started preparing its first book on computer which was launched in 1990 throughout Pakistan. The problem was how to launch computer courses nation wide with its spirit of computer practical through Allama Iqbal Open University. For this purpose a costly computer laboratory is required with proper sophisticated environment. Not only this but also a large number of qualified faculty members need to be recruited. A huge amount of money was needed to start this programme but government was unable to provide such heavy amount. In 1992 Allama Iqbal Open University started Diploma In Computer Applications in collaboration with Petroman. In 1997 Allama Iqbal Open University took bold step and launched Bachelor in Computer Science (BCS) which became one of the most popular programme of the University in the country. This is a self finance programme for which AIOU hired computer Lab facility from private and public sector. This was a very novel idea and was difficult to decide. Anyhow AIOU planned after thorough analyzing the situation of Pakistan and now we are proud of our right decision.

In addition to BCS, Allama Iqbal Open University is offering the following programmes under the new system of self finance:

i) Diploma In Compuuter Application (DCA)

ii) Diploma In Computer Maintenance (DCM)

iii) More than 25 Short Term Latest Computer Courses.

The most fascinating point of AIOU in this regard is to provide quality education of computer science with a nominal fee which is not possible for any other Institute or University AIOU can afford this low fee package because of its nation wide network of Regional Offfices/Campuses. We have thirty two Regional Offfices/Campuses who are continuously monitoring the working and progress of computer centres in which computer programmes of AIOU are going on. At present four thousand students are studying in BCS programme.

The first batch of 800 students passed out in October, 1999 who will initiate the revolution of information technology in Pakistan. The existence and prosperity of underdeveloped countries like Pakistan depends upon strong economical position. Simply keeping of Atomic Bombs and long range missiles like USSR can not guarantee the integrity of a country. Future self suffficiency in Industry, Agriculture and Commerce will depend upon the possession of computer technology. I hope that our students will come up to the expectations of the nation to computerize our Industry, Agriculture and Commerce. Allama Iqbal Open University has planned to offer Higher National Diploma (HND), Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT), BE(Telecomm Engg ), BE(Computer Software Engg) and Master of Computer Science (MCS) in near future. The department of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Sciences has almost finalized the above mentioned proposed programmes and will be launched in near future.

AIOU has provided Internet facility to all it's main campuses and trying to provide this facility to all the regional offfices by the end of this year. This facility will help to improve two way information trafffic and ultimately students have not to wait long their results. BCS students, AIOU with of their teachers will conceive new projects to improve the present setup of inquiry system at the regions and also at the head offfice. AIOU is also planning to deliver lectures information technology through its network.

The Vice Chancellor of AIOU Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui deserved to be congratulated for his dynamic personality and taking bold decisions for the betterment of the country. It was not possible to launch such a huge project without his firm support.