The event was organized by Nation Building Initiative in collaboration with IT Ministry of Pakistan. It was a full day event where IT Experts, Educationalist, Tech Entrepreneurs, Startups and Students participated. The auditorium was filled with 800+ audience. The key question & answers of the panel I was chairing is as follows;
1. What needs to be done by Pakistan to provide the youth, with one platform to exhibit their innovations?
Government with IT stake holders can provide youth with a knowledge sharing platform to showcase best practices and create a dialogue that could lead to viable solutions to address youth issues, led by youth. Similar platforms could be developed for all stakeholders in an entrepreneurial ecosystem to share ideas, discuss challenges and devise solutions. Supporting research can fill knowledge gaps and open space for innovation.
2. How can the youth have one platform to exhibit their ideas for entrepreneurship and funding?
There are annual conferences where the best startups displaying their products and services. All the investors are being gathered on such platforms. Seed funding's are awarded to best qualifying startups in different categories. Aid such as UKAID, USAID should be encouraged to invest with startups. Again, the role of Government needs to be very strong and they should consider the startups as the growing community.
3. How can we provide benefits to the students by linking them to the corporate?
This question is very close to my heart as these days the students suicide cases are in every newspaper, news channel and on social media. Depression and un employment leading towards suicide. Now, We need to se the factors that why the student from top engineering university committing suicide? because he is not getting the relevant job. So here comes the role of industry academia linkages. This is very important to have corporate exposure before getting into job world. HEC and IT boards need to sign MoU's where they both can push their respective industry to help the students with internships, mentorships, workshops and trainee programs.
4. How can IT policy impact entrepreneurs?
First of all, policy is the key to make sure the proper implementation it caters the basic needs of entrepreneurship. As being the guardian of all policies, IT policy channelize the way of the work. IT policy impacts favorably and chalk out the policies accordingly. Hence, entrepreneurs reap the rich harvest of IT Policies. They find the IT Policies tailor-made for them. Entrepreneurs do the all possible and all needful keeping in view the IT policy.
5. Why is our nation not using the Online Training materials, Online Training Portals to get trained? What is the hindrance?
Owing to the advancement of the technology our nation is exceedingly hesitant of adopting the online training. Even our esteemed Government organizations are still toeing the lines of the outdated manual work. They are mindful of the rising importance of technology but they feel the fear of being replaced due to new technology. Our inhabitants' natural instincts are not inclined to get online training. There is a dire need to sensitize them of the surmounting importance of the Online Training Portals. They must be made mindful of the fact that Online Training Materials and Portals will ease their problems to a very greater extent.
6. Why is our nation not able to create online training courses?
They possess the enough capability to chalk out the Online Training Courses. The significant hurdle comes their way is to take initiative. Unfortunately, the fact is that they are very good followers rather than leaders. They feel satisfied in the status quo. This is really a point of concern for us. It badly needs to be redressed. Here, there is a crying need to make them aware of the long term benefits of creating the Online Training Courses. They should feel the gravity of the situation and must gear up to embrace the challenge of creating Online Training Courses.
7. How can we establish IT learning centers through Public Private Partnership for far flung areas and main cities? Why has this not been done before? Do these IT learning centers help?
For establishing the IT Learning Centers, there is a need of sound decisions based on the mutual consensus. Public and Private Partnership must go hand in hand. In this cause the first and foremost fact lies in the strong cooperation and mutual understanding. Further, the budget allocations and all prerequisites must be calculated accordingly.
8. At what age and in which class’s curriculum should IT education start?
IT education practically needs to be started from the very beginning of primary level. It must be ensured at the earliest years of ones education. Keeping in view the importance of IT Education, it must be made part and parcel of our indigenous education system from the students early years. As now students are more adopting technology faster then us.
9. What is required to change the curriculum of IT? (from Primary to University)
We need to introduce gamification in curriculum to help students to better understand the IT curriculum. It needs to be revise and updated according to the need of the era. Most of the educational institutes are following the typical methods and typical course to teach which is a real challenge. SSC and HSC boards need to provide strong check and balance.
10. How do we create a digitally Literate Pakistan? We need your input! It matters!!
Trust on our Young generation (Startups), Workshops, Delegations to Global Tech Companies. We are treating the startups like a baby in a family but we need to treat them as a member of a family whose say matters. Startups are the future of the economies.
11. How can we formulate an IT policy where we can create stronger links between the IT Academia and various industries, including the IT industry itself?
In simple words we need to make sure the implementation of the ideas given by the Industry people. The drawback is we are facing a lot of challenges and we don' have check and balance and accountability of the concern bodies. IT policy should ensure the accountability of the respective bodies.
12. What would you like to see in Pakistan’s IT Education Council?
Strong Follow-up and Accountability. There should be a reward system where institutes get reward on their performance or completing their any project/task alloted to them by IT Education Council.