Use of technology has had revolutionary impact in professional education
Interview with Mr. Barkatullah Lone – Chairman, GB International Economic Forum
Mr. Barkatullah Lone is Chairman of GB International Economic Forum and a renowned young Economist of Pakistan. He is a Chartered Management Accountant from UK, Chartered Certified Accountant from UK, Chartered Global Management Accountant from the USA, Gold Medalist Management Accountant and Public Finance Accountant from Pakistan plus he holds Master’s Degree in Economics and Law from Karachi University. He has been associated with the corporate sector in Finance and Audit profession at various positions for the last many years. He has rendered his professional services at various countries of GCC as well. Simultaneous with his job career, he has been appearing at various local and international TV channels as Economic & Financial Analyst for the last seven years. His articles on economy and finance are also published in various reputed magazines. Presently he is based in a GCC country where he is rendering his professional services to a large scale corporate organization plus he also been included in the panel of experts by a Global TV channel based in Gulf.
PAGE: What are your views about the use of technology in professional education?
Barkatullah Lone: It is a fact that great technology can’t replace poor teaching but use of technology has had revolutionary impact in professional education. Education is undergoing a transformation from a teacher-centered ‘sit and get’ approach to a learner-centered active learning approach. This change in approach has been due to advancement of technology in professional education. Technology has enabled students to have access to a wider variety of educational resources, and they could select video, reading, and other materials that are interesting and appropriate for the individual student. Use of technology has improved communication and feedback as well. Technology allows students and teachers to communicate with anyone at any time; for example, students in a rural area can interact with a teacher from across the world to teach subjects they would not normally have access to. In addition, technology enables immediate feedback to students, which is critical for learners. Technology in professional education helped teachers use their time more efficiently. Teachers use technology to keep track of students’ absences, to monitor their progress on homework, and to provide immediate feedback. Technology has, thus, facilitated a revamping of teach and student roles in which students shifted from passive to active learners and teachers role has shifted from teacher to a guide.
PAGE: What are the professional bodies doing to ameliorate the image of Pakistan in the world?
Barkatullah Lone: Professional bodies in Pakistan have played a pivotal role in producing quality professionals in all disciplines be it in Finance, Business Management, Medical or Engineering. Our professionals have proven themselves in the world that they are equipped with all skills and knowledge required in that particular professions. Our professionals have brightened the image of Pakistan even in developed countries like the USA.
PAGE: Do you presume there are ample employment opportunities for the professionals in Pakistan?
Barkatullah Lone: Well, it is little painful to say that our professionals do not have ample opportunities in Pakistan due to which Pakistan is one of the top listed countries where brain-drain is too high. Our professionals always want to serve Pakistan but due to lack of opportunities and too high unemployment in Pakistan, they leave Pakistan and go abroad even at lesser remuneration that they deserve. There are various reasons of it but the top most reasons are (i) there is too much nepotism and injustice that the right professional is deprived of his deserving position. (ii) Size of our economy is much lesser than the number of professionals that enter the market every year. The small economy in the 6th largest populated nation of the world is a big bottleneck for the employment opportunities for the professionals.
Keeping in view the population of Pakistan, size of our economy should be five times of what we have at the moment. This big gap has made the life of not only professionals but all and sundry miserable. This all mess has been the result of the past 72 years governance but the youth of this nation are still optimist that things will change just because the country has the potential to increase its economy multifold and root out the corruption from society but this all is possible only through good governance. Our current GDP ratio is around 3% which we need to increase beyond 8% and sustain it for twenty years only then we can meet the desired results of employment opportunities for the professionals but this seems a day dream.
PAGE: How do you see the professional education in Pakistan compared to the neighboring countries?
Barkatullah Lone: Though, our neighboring countries like India and China are highly advanced in professional education but Pakistan is not far behind its neighbors. Pakistan has always produced quality professionals in all fields but we need to admit this fact too that the number of professional bodies are not sufficient enough for the huge population that Pakistan has. Our country has not invested enough in the field of professional education for the last seventy two years. One of the main dilemmas of Pakistani universities is that none of Pakistani university is ranked among the top 500 universities of the world which is why a great number of students go abroad for studies.
PAGE: What must be done to promote professional education in Pakistan?
Barkatullah Lone: To promote professional education in Pakistan, we need revolutionary steps which should be taken at government as well as at individual level. The biggest reason in fall of professional education in Pakistan is that education has been a lucrative commercial sector. We see very nominal regulation from the regulators due to which private professional bodies have made education a commercial product placed for sale.
Private educational bodies earn in billions but the quality of output that it sends to market every year is not up to mark. Government need to strengthen controls and regulation over private sector so that this holy profession is not commercialized at the cost of nation’s development. Moreover, there is a need of establishing professional bodies at all disciplines at all provinces. It is too painful to say that one of the provinces of Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan) which has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan has no single Medical or Engineering University/College. More or less is the same situation in Balochistan, which is the largest province of Pakistan area wise. Interior Sindh and Punjab are not as worse as Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan but these regions also are far behind in professional education.