Paving the way for knowledge-based growth

Mar 06 - 12, 2006

A report published in the UK in June 2002 revealed that universities and colleges were worth 35bn a year to the UK economy in terms of jobs, output and export earnings. And today the UK is one of the most sought-after countries in the world for higher education. Thousands of individuals from across the world get education in the UK, and having accomplished their goals serve their countries with the skills attained which adds to the economic growth of their native homeland at the end of the day.

A report says, 'Two Harvard economists, Lawrence F. Katz and Claudia Goldin, studied the effect of increases in educational attainment in the United States labor force from 1915 to 1999. They estimated that those gains directly resulted in at least 23 percent of the overall growth in productivity, or around 10 percent of growth in gross domestic product."

According to The New York Times during the current academic year, the better part of $1 trillion will be spent on education in the United States. That is an awful lot of spending, approaching 10 percent of the overall economy.

It is always worth investing in education since the returns are always very high. Due to better education, the standards of living rise, workers' productivity is enhanced, generation of productive ideas becomes viable, the capabilities to use productive technologies are attained and effective teams with conducive interpersonal relationships prevail. Economic growth of a country is contingent on the skilled and educated workforce and this has been acknowledged by the industrialized countries.

Pakistan has made tremendous progress in education sector particularly since early 1990s and this progress is going on with vigour. At present the literacy rate of our beloved homeland is over 54% as compared to that of India which is 60%. Pakistan Economic Survey 2004-05 reads 'Government of Pakistan has adopted the education sector as one of the pillars of poverty reduction and benefit of masses.... For the year 2004-05, Ministry of Education had initially allocated Rs.3359.04 million in the PSDP for 72 development projects. During the mid year review, this allocation was revised to Rs.2025.117 million. For the year 2005-06, an amount of Rs.11.2 billion has been demanded by this Ministry for PSDP.'

Every organisation produces something. Hospitals produce medical services, airlines produce transportation services, the military forces produce defence capabilities and universities/ colleges produce skilled and educated individuals for all types of organisations. Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan, contributes a lot to the national wellbeing.

Karachi, the financial and commercial hub of Pakistan, generates 65 percent of the national revenue. This thickly populated city with over 14 million population has done a magnificent job in terms of producing skilled and educated workforce. There are scores of universities/colleges producing large number of candidates for the national and multinational organisations. It is now almost history that large number of individuals went to foreign countries to seek higher education. This number has come down due to quality public and private universities/institutes providing quality education. At present, one can easily find individuals particularly from the Arab Peninsula seeking education in Karachi.

In order to get first hand information, PAGE contacted a few top level executives of some universities/institutes operating in Karachi. These executives were kind enough in providing us with information required for the purpose.

The universities/institutes contacted are (in alphabetical order): Institute of Business Management, Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan, NED University, PAF-KIET, Sir Syed University, SZABIST and University of Karachi.


Mr. Talib S. Karim, Director Academics and Business Support Centre of the Institute of Business Management, has been associated with the institute since its inception. He has Masters in Economics with specialization in International Trade, from the University of Arizona, USA.

The summary of the interview is as follows:

The Institute of Business Management (IoBM) started off in September 1995 with only one college i.e. College of Business Management. At present the institute comprises three colleges i.e. College of Business Management, College of Computer Science & Information Systems, and College of Economics & Social Development. "By the grace of God, over the span of 10 years we have grown by leaps and bounds. Our institute is now ranked as one of the leading educational institutions offering Business and IT programs in Pakistan. Our Institute's academic programs are modern and comprehensive in concept and structure. They broadly resemble honors programs offered by the UK and the US universities. So far more than 1000 students have graduated from the institute. Most of them are placed in key positions in leading national and multinational firms including Citibank, ABN Amro, Engro, Berger Paints, Standard Chartered, IBM, ICI, Smith Kline & Becham, Agha Khan University Hospital, Karachi Stock Exchange, etc. Harvard and NYU have accepted our graduates in their Ph.D and Masters programs.

"The Business Support Centre of the institute mobilizes professional education, training and research programs for serving the corporate sector to enhance both its profitability and contribution to society. Students on campus exceed 2500. We offer programs in Banking, MIS & Finance, Health Management, Accountancy, Economics, Advertising, Media Management, Computer Science and Industrial Management.

"IoBM has financial assistance program since its inception for the students who are unable to meet the expenses associated with their academic program. The assistance is provided to students on merit and need-cum-merit basis. The assistance is 50% waiver of tuition fee. About 15% of total students are receiving some form of financial aid. Annual fee for various programs ranges between 44,000 to 121,200 rupees. We are producing individuals for banks, leasing companies, financial institutions, FMCG companies, pharmaceutical companies etc. Our placement ratio is 100%."


Mr. Sher Afgan Malik, President of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan. He is the former Managing Director of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC) and Member Board of Governors of Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance. Prior to that Mr. Malik worked as Chief Executive in various other important capacities in Saudi Arabia, U.S.A and U.A.E. He told PAGE about his institute. Cost Accounting profession had a dominant emphasis mostly on cost elements till 1946. At that point it was felt to inject the idea of using costing information for managerial purposes. In 1940s, Mr. Muhammad Shoaib, who later became the Finance Minister of Pakistan, visualized the need for an organized cost and management accounting profession in the then British India and founded the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, Calcutta.

Later in 1951, he founded the Pakistan Institute of Industrial Accountants, which was later given legal charter in 1966 by the parliament and was born with a new name i.e. the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP) under the Cost and Management Accountants Act. The objective of the legislation was to regulate the profession on sound lines, produce suitably qualified Cost and Management Accountants to serve the economy of Pakistan and lay sound and solid foundation of a competitive and prosperous Pakistan. The Institute has so far produced over 3,000 fully qualified Cost and Management Accountants and today has 23,000 students on its rolls. It has been offering education through formal education by serving student community throughout Pakistan in various important cities of Pakistan and has also been offering distance-learning education through its Correspondence Course.

In fact, it has served as the first Open University of Pakistan. Currently bold and innovative initiatives are being taken to provide professional education through digital media. More than 60% ICMAP professionals are occupying top management positions such as Chairman, Managing Director, Chief Executive of medium and large organizations, and are doing a national service by promoting corporate governance through better Management Accounting practices at all functional levels. As essential members of the top management teams, these professionals contribute to corporate planning process influencing destiny of the organizations.

The institute is providing high quality education at prices affordable by the lower and middle class families. It also provides scholarships / financial assistance to a large number of deserving students. In addition to imparting education, ICMAP has also been involved in providing general and tailor-made training and development programmes to large government organizations such as CBR, SSGC, OGDCL, PTCL, etc. ICMAP is a founder member of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA). It enjoys unique position of international linkages. In almost all continents of the World, its members are serving in a dedicated and meritorious manner.

Cost and Management Accountants play a unique role. They help to increase productivity, avoid wastages, rationalize cost structure, help in adding or dropping products or market outlets, machines and money. These roles are culture and are only performed by those who qualify as Cost and Management Accountants. Pakistan needs specialists in various fields. Cross border transactions are going to push several inefficient industries out of the scene. Survival of business will not be on cost plus concept but on target costing concept. To meet the competitive cyclone that WTO regime is going to unleash, Cost and Management Accountants are the specialists in this area and can help businesses reduce costs, optimize the use of inputs, synergize the same and enable organization to produce goods and services at competitive prices with quality orientation for the benefit of the consumers.


Mr. Husain Farooq, Director Industrial Liaison of NED University, graduated in Mechanical Engineering from NED in 1985 and then did his MBA from IBA in 1995. Mr. Husain Farooq has industrial experience of several years. He told PAGE that NED had been serving the nation since 1922. There are around 12 disciplines. "Last year we arranged aptitude test for 5,690 candidates, out of which 1,239 were admitted. A number of scholarships are offered by different organizations. Criteria are based on merit as well as need. This year around 800 students have passed out. NED produces the graduates predominately for almost all areas of engineering sector.

"Competent, hard working and dedicated engineers are the backbone of the industrial sector of any country. A strong industrial and technological base will provide the country economic strength and freedom. We are trying to produce capable engineers for this purpose," he said.

When asked about any formal job placement department, Mr Farooq told that the Directorate of Industrial Liaison was involved in arranging internships, study visits, job placements, seminars etc. The placement of the students has been excellent since the industries need the services of the home-grown engineers desperately. NED university charges very nominal amount of fee from the students which is around Rs. 15,000 per year.


Air Cdre. (Retd) M. Khalid Husain is the President of PAF- Karachi Institute of Economics and Technology.

Karachi Institute of Economics & Technology (KIET) was established in 1997. It received its charter from the Government of Sindh in May 2,000 as a degree awarding institution in the private sector, and is also recognized by the Higher Education Commission. In the same year it received patronage of Pakistan Air Force, an institution of national pride, which generously offered PAF land and buildings to support the institute. The main campus of the institute is located at PAF Korangi Creek and named PAF-KIET. In the last eight years, the institute has developed a reputation for quality education and research. The highly qualified faculty, including seven PhDs, teach the students in the four constituent colleges of the institute namely the College of Engineering, the College of Management Sciences, the College of Computer Sciences and the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Today over 2,100 students are actively involved in pursuit of academic knowledge and research at the undergraduate and graduate level degree programs of the respective colleges. The undergraduate programs include BE (Electronics), BE (Tele Communications), BE (Industrial Electronics), BS (Computer Science), BCS Honors (Computer Science), BBA (4 Years), BBA (Honors), BCA, MBA, MCS, MS (Computer Science) and MS (Management Science). The students in addition to the classroom teaching are also trained to develop a fairly good knowledge about the working of the industry relevant to their field of studies.

To this end the institute invites a regular stream of guest speakers from the industry to hold discussion with the students and keep them abreast of the industry working. To date 90% of the over 700 graduates have been immediately picked up by the industry and are gainfully employed. The institute is producing approximately 250 graduate engineers, computer experts and business managers per year. The institute has an excellent student scholarship and financial support program. At present over Rs 12 million per annum are awarded to about 450 students. The student financial support varies from 25% to 100% of the tuition fee. Admission to the institute is purely based on merit on the results of KIET entrance examinations & interviews, results achieved in O-level/Matric and A-level/Intermediate examinations. Students accepted in Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 were 795 against 1500 applicants.

KIET shall continue to make best efforts to make it a world class seat of learning, equipped to foster high quality education, scholarship and research, to produce enlightened citizens with strong moral and ethical values that build a tolerant and pluralistic society rooted in the culture of Pakistan.


Mr. Mubarik Zaman, Head PR Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology, provided PAGE with the required information during the interview.

SSUET is the first private university in the country providing education in modern disciplines of Engineering and Technology. The high standard of education of SSUET has been recognized by the educationists working in all parts of the world. SSUET is now member of the International Association of Universities and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The Vice Chancellor represents SSUET as Member on the Governing Board of the International Association of Universities, comprising 40 members representing top universities around the world and advises UNESCO on higher education. SSUET has a regular system of awarding scholarships and financial aid to the deserving students. 631 students were awarded scholarships in 2003-2004 amounting to Rs.10,334,000. Another lot of the 50 students was awarded scholarships during the same period amounting to Rs.214,750.

"Our students have been placed in various organizations including SE.Net Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd., Pakistan Software Export Board, Ufone, PTCL, NTCL, Pakistan Steel Mills, KESC, Civil Aviation, Pakistan Petroleum and the list goes on. From 1994 to 2005, 3925 students have graduated and joined the corporate world. Last year 802 students graduated. In 2005 total number of students admitted was 1141. We produce students for Telecom, Chemical, Industrial Automation, Mobile Communication, Construction, Petroleum, Computer Hardware & Software and Education sectors. After passing out, 60% of our graduates succeed in getting employment within 3 months and within one year all the graduates get jobs. All the graduates from 2001 to 2004 have been able to get jobs," he said.


Ms. Azra Maqsood, Head of Academics SZABIST Karachi, graduated from the IBA in 1994 and is pursuing a PhD in Management Sciences. SZABIST started the initial programs in MBA and MS in January 1995.

She said: "We currently offer BBA, BS (Computer Sciences), BS (Media Sciences), BSc (Development Economics, with the University of London), LLB (with the University of London), MBA, MS (Computer Sciences) and MS/PhD (Management Sciences, Computer Sciences, Social Sciences & Economics). SZABIST admissions are held once every year, in July. Classes start in August. 3,000 candidates apply for all programs, and we take in around 400 (this has been an average over the last three years).

"SZABIST offers 10% scholarships (of its revenue) every year. We currently have two categories: merit and merit-cum-needs. Rs 3.7 million were awarded in scholarships in the year 2004-2005. For merit scholarship, the students need to have a 3.5 GPA (grade point average) .1% scholarships are given for excellent sports performance. MS/PhD students are provided with teaching/research assistantship to bear the costs. Around 400 students pass out every year. Students are prepared for the corporate and the government organizations. A few students have also started working with the civil society/NGO sector. SZABIST students are currently placed in the lower and middle management positions in top multinational, local and public organizations.

"We are proud to produce top quality graduates who have outshined their contemporaries in their fields. Speaking in terms of economics, an average fresh graduate today makes around Rs 16,000 (higher range for CS graduates starting off with Rs 22,000). A lot of organizations which had little sense of professionalism today are hiring master degree holders as they have realized that skills and quality degrees give organizations a competitive advantage.

"We prefer providing our country and our society with the best possible workforce, both men and women, who will contribute towards the economic growth and sustainability of the country, and to lead Pakistan towards a brighter, prosperous future. Our Executive Development Center is responsible for all internships and job placements. The EDC officer, Ms Bisma Shah, has an active database of all alumni and graduating students. The EDC has a number of e-groups on which the EDC officer keeps posting job openings. The EDC also facilitates tests and interviews that a lot of organizations come to conduct at SZABIST (Agha University Hospital, ABN-AMRO Bank, e-Patterns, Standard Chartered etc). The EDC also prepares students in developing effective resumes, and interviewing skills. A typical four year undergraduate degree costs Rs 300,000. The two year programs, MBA and MS, cost Rs 200,000.

"By the grace of God, and with the efforts of the students and the EDC, SZABIST placement ratio today stands at 100%. Students who apply for a job get in immediately; in fact we had to move the whole second year of our MBA programs to the evening because students were offered jobs after their first year. So far, we have produced 1,600 graduates, out of whom around 30% have moved out of Pakistan on work visa to the US, England, Canada and Australia. The rest are working in multinational, local and public organizations in Pakistan."


Ms. Ambreena Kazi, the Chairperson English Department of University of Karachi, was approached by PAGE. Following are the excerpts of her interview.

The contributions toward the economy of Pakistan by the students of humanities are not highlighted as are those of their colleagues in the commerce and science faculties. For example, students of the Department of English, University of Karachi, have been and are still playing an important role in the economic development of Pakistan. Ever increasing number of students are actively pursuing careers after obtaining their degrees. Their favourite options are in teaching (at all levels), in research - linguistic or literary, the media with all its varieties, the Civil Service, banking, the publishing industry, in advertising, NGOs and in a wide variety of businesses both national as well as international. English Department students are sought for their expressive as well as analytical and evaluative skills and for their generally humanistic outlook. They have made good managers, leaders, and communicators. The high quality of services and involvement by students of the English Department of Karachi University has impacted and hence has made positive contributions towards the economy of Pakistan. With the world wide importance of English, students from this department have an edge over job applicants from other fields, because of their advanced proficiency in the language. Updated syllabi and a balance between openness to market trends and a liberal education will hopefully continue to produce graduates of value for our country. The English Department of Karachi University produces around 175 graduates every year.

Education undoubtedly is an important contributor to productivity growth. As far as higher education is concerned it contributes directly to the national wellbeing. With a movement to a knowledge-based economy that depends more on the knowledge and skill of the individuals, education will remain an immense force behind the growth of a nation.