Mar 30 - Apr 05, 2009

In developing countries, Information Technology has become an essential part of education, health, and business. IT provides new means to access basic social needs and opportunities for income generation.

Information technology is a fast-changing field. Although it is important that students are comfortable and competent using today's latest software tools, in the long run it is more important that they have the ability to learn and expertly use new technologies as they become available. Identifying the appropriate role of IT in the industry core curriculum requires a dynamic, long-term plan with feedback and an ongoing evaluation process. There is a need for knowledge of new technology tools for both students and faculty of business institutions.

Computer and information technology skills and understanding are especially critical for business management graduates, who are expected to use computer technology as a tool in every aspect of their career. Business students should be able to show an enhanced understanding of computer literacy as they progress through each year of their college experience. An ideal final assessment should show that these students are able to make use of their computer skills in high-level problem solving situations.

Many business schools, in response to pressures from key stakeholders like future employers, are recognizing a need to change the business curricula to better prepare their students with a new bundle of skills including technical skills.

Business curriculum is a broad combination of various subject areas that provides students with meaningful instruction for and about business. Instruction in Business Education encompasses business skills and techniques, an understanding of basic economics, and business attitudes essential to participate in the multinational marketplace as productive workers and consumers. Courses from following subject areas have been incorporated in the business curriculum.

* English / Communication Skills
* Business Core Courses
* Social Sciences
* Support Courses
* Information Technology
* Business Electives

If we take momentary glance at the business curriculum of Pakistani business institutions we observe that percentage of information technology courses is mere eight percent.

Percentage of information technology courses in Business Curriculum

*Source: HEC Recognized Curriculum for Business Administration (2005).

Only 8% participation of Information Technology courses in Pakistani business institutions is alarming and creating a gap between educational and industrial environments since organizations are shifting towards the e-transactions.

The gap between what we teach and what we do is widening. But there are steps we can take to narrow the gap and respond to where business technology is going and what the world expects from our technology graduates without compromising the essence of computer and information science education. Therefore, steps should be taken to reduce the widening gap between theory and practice.

First, we need to better understand the breadth of the relevance problem. Next we need to better understand the bridges from "theory" to "practice". The underlying issues are philosophical: what are the roles and responsibilities of early 21st century technology educators?

So information technology curriculum in business administration education needs to be up-to-date according to the needs of industry and international standards.

Business schools should assess information technology curriculum issues in business administration education and also identify a number of IT skills that students and faculty would like to learn for their own professional development.

Pakistani business institutions are offering very initial level information technology courses, while the industry practices involves high tech electronic business functions. Electronic-business is the use of the Internet and other networks and information technologies to support electronic commerce, communications, and Web-enabled business processes both within a networked enterprise and with customers and business partners.

Information systems can be grouped into business function categories however, in the real world information systems are typically integrated combinations of functional information systems. Functional business systems are composed of a variety of types of information systems (transaction processing, management information, decision support, etc) that support the business functions of accounting, finance, marketing, productions/operations management, and human resource management.

There is a strong emphasis in many organizations to develop such composite or cross-functional information systems that cross the boundaries of traditional business functions in order to reengineer and improve vital business processes. These organizations view cross-functional information systems as a strategic way to share information resources and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business, thus helping it attain its strategic objectives.

Business firms are turning to internet technologies to integrate the flow of information among their internal business functions and their customers and suppliers. Companies are using the World Wide Web and their intranets and extranets as the technology platforms for their cross-functional and inter organizational information systems.