SIR SYED UNIVERSITY - TECHNOLOGY INNOVATOR

EXCERPTS FROM AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DR SYED FAISAL AHMED BUKHARI

SHABBIR H. KAZMI
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Apr 12 - 18, 2010

Dr Syed Faisal Ahmed Bukhari is Chairman of Computer Engineering Department at Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology. He has done his PhD in Computer Engineering from University of Manchester, England, MSc in Systems Engineering from Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Islamabad and BE in Computer Systems from NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi. Dr Bukhari has published various research papers in international journals and presented at conferences. He is an approved PhD supervisor of Higher Education Commission and Life Member of Pakistan Engineering Council.

At present neither an individual nor a business entity can survive without making computer and telecommunication an integral part of the life. In the recent past the latest technology introduced anywhere in the world was almost simultaneously introduced in Pakistan. Therefore, there is a dire need to educate people who can not only comprehend these technologies but also become adaptable to global environ.

Technology is a tool to complete the job in the best possible manner, optimizing cost and minimizing wastages for remaining competitive. Deployment of technology can only be made possible when the country educates people in the appropriate disciplines.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the torch bearer of modern education in the subcontinent and to achieve the desired objective Aligarh Muslim University was established. The Alumni of this University formed Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys' Association n Pakistan. One of the milestones achieved by this Association is creation of Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET) in Karachi.

Engineer ZA Nizami is the Chancellor of the university. The first convocation of the University was held on March 27, 1998 which synchronized with the centenary celebration of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

A total of nearly 5,000 students are enrolled with the University for Degree Programs both in Engineering and Computer Sciences, another 1600 at Aligarh Institute of Technology, more than 500 in Continuing Education Program, about 100 in Master's program and nearly one and a half dozen in PhD program.

The Electronic and Computer Engineering Department of SSUET can rightly be termed as a role model for other universities. It is the largest department with more than 2,000 students registered in undergraduate program. Its laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Nearly Rs70 million have been invested in the development of the labs since its establishment in 1994. Recently two new labs have been established to enhance software development, equipped with 70 latest computers. Wireless Sensor Network Laboratory has also been established. The faculty members contributed more than 23 research publication in year 2008-09. One of the students secured the Award of Best Internee while working for the KESC during Internship. Another student won second prize at All Pakistan Digital innovation Competition and Exhibition held at NED University.

To achieve the real objective of education linkage of educational institutions with the trade and industry is must. 'Our department has established 'Technology Innovator Centre'. Here students are given practical training along theoretical knowledge." The University has also established a Project Display Center to display selected innovative final year projects and products for the industry. This is part of Industrial Interaction program. The University has also procured Robotic Kits. These kits help the students in better understanding the subject of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

The SSUET has an elaborate local area network, its own ISP offering data storage and communication facility to the students. The SSUET also enjoys the privilege of working with two global giants, Microsoft and Cisco. A meeting was held with Microsoft Pakistan in August this year to discuss sponsorship of different events and programs. This meeting was in fact a follow-up of the MoU signed earlier between SSUET and Microsoft.

Lately, Computer Engineering Department also organized a 2-day training workshop on 'Open Source Based on RDBMS' as a part of collaborative activities with Open Source Resource Centre (OSRC), a project of the Federal Ministry of Information Technology. This project is being executed by Pakistan Software Export Board to develop local expertise and save foreign exchange.

Based on my own experience I can say that Pakistan is in no way inferior to any other country in developing software but grossly lack the ability to market its products. Pakistan's image has been grossly distorted and our people also suffer from inferiority complex. Pakistan has been focusing developed countries for the software exports.

For those who wish to continue learning along with job, our Continuing Learning Program offers tremendous opportunities. The main purpose of this program is to educate participants by imparting updated knowledge and training courses in Engineering and IT Applications, Programming Languages and Project Management etc.

If the policy planners are serious in projecting Pakistan as a dependable source of software they have to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity at affordable cost and also revamp country's telecommunication network. Technology parks must be built in every city.