FAST-NU

S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Research Analyst
, PAGE
Aug 9 - 15, 2010

Founded as a federally chartered university, the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences also known as FAST is a premiere university of Pakistan, renowned for quality and impact of its students in the development of local software and other industries. FAST pioneered the development of IT industry in Pakistan by offering the country's first undergraduate program in computer science.

Research wings of the university are well recognised nationally and internationally. They have cutting edge research having direct impact on the social, economic and technological needs of Pakistan. Today, this university stands recognised as the leader and trendsetter in this field in Pakistan and abroad.

The university has four modern campuses at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar. These campuses provide world class educational environment and recreational facilities to over 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

EQUIVALENCE BY HEC

The holder of 4-year bachelor degree (BS Computer Science / BBA Business Administration), with minimum of 130 credit hours after intermediate or equivalent qualification is considered eligible to compete for the posts of lecturer or equivalence posts of B-17 by the Higher Education Commission/Government of Pakistan.

SCHEDULE OF FEES STRUCTURE

FEE BBA/BS/MBA MS/PHD
Admission fee Rs15,000 Rs15,000
Students' club fee (per semester) Rs1,500 Rs1,500
Tuition fee (2010-11) (per semester) Rs68,500 Rs53,500

It is intimated that MS (computer science degree of 30 credit hours spread over 4 semesters (2 semesters course work+thesis) after four year BS (computer science)/BS (information technology)/BCS (Hons) degrees are recognised as equivalent to MPhil degree for purposes of job, service benefits, increments etc. on the analogy of equivalence of MSc Engg and MSc (Hons) Agriculture degrees with MPhil degree.

RESEARCH DEPARTMENTS

In University, the Center for Research in Ubiquitous Computing (CRUC) promotes the idea of integrating computation into the environment, rather than having computers in daily life. At CRUC the research focuses on several topics such as Pattern Recognition & Multilingual Interfaces, Multi-agent Systems, Wireless Networks & Grid Computing, Human Computer Interaction, Knowledge Engineering & Information Retrieval, Robotics & Sensor based Communication and Augmented & Virtual Reality. The Centre for Agro-Informatics Research is a research center dedicated to development of indigenous IT solutions to serve the Agriculture sector.

Currently a 26 month long Rs30 plus millions Agricultural Decision Support System (ADDS) project is underway with a 30 plus strong team. The ADDS project aims at developing an Agriculture Data Warehouse, a web based OLAP tool, fast data mining tool and a yield loss forecasting system. Centre for Research in Urdu Language Processing (CRULP) has been involved in research in languages spoken in Pakistan developing computing standards and also developing speech, script and language processing applications for the end-users.

CRULP participates in national and international bodies including PTCL R&D Fund, Urdu Computing Standardisation Committee of National Language Authority, Editorial Board of Localisation Focus published by Localisation Research Centre at University of Limerick in Ireland, and Unicode's Bidirectional Committee List. However, Software Engineering Research Centre (SERC) is dedicated to conducting research and development in software engineering. Through the establishment of the SERC, the university seeks to help and support the local software industry in establishing and improving their processes and practices through continuous feedback and training.

MAJOR CHALLENGES

Education sector development in Pakistan has been hampered by a number of problems including inadequate physical infrastructure and facilities, shortage of trained and motivated teachers, and inadequacies related to quality and relevance of curricula.

EDUCATION LEVELS

No Formal Education 42%
Below Matriculation 38%
Matriculation but less than Inter 11%
Inter but less than degree 5%
Degree and above 4%

Lack of proper and regular supervision and monitoring has led to major breakdowns in quality. Governance related problems manifest themselves in lack of transparency, accountability and tracking mechanisms as well as of partnerships between planners and service providers.

Presently, Pakistan is producing now more than 2500-3000 quality IT Professionals every year and because of this tremendous shortage. In comparison, India is producing some 110,000 IT professionals annually and that too for the last 15 years. It has a critical mass available of 1.5 million IT professionals to enable it to export $4 billion of software through official channels and another $4 billion through unofficial channels.

CONCLUSION

IT education is the most important factor which plays a leading role in human development. It promotes a productive and informed citizenry and creates opportunities for the socially and economically underprivileged sections of society. To meet the growing demand of IT professional's in Pakistan new IT universities are being established in the public sector. The buildings are being acquired through donations or by leasing at low rent. FAST ranks amongst the top IT institutes in Pakistan and is producing the most highly qualified IT professional in the country.