Experts highlight long-term goals to improve academia-industry linkages


ISLAMABAD, JAN 31 /DNA/ – The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) organized a roundtable to strengthen the  academia-industry linkages.

Rectors, Deans, Directors and other representatives of various universities including Nust, Comsats, Bahria, Fast, Quaid-e-Azam, Ripha, Foundation, Institute of Space Technology, Szabist, Cust, IIUI, National Skilled University, Pieas, Federal Urdu and Air University and representatives of various local industries participated in the roundtable.

The representatives of both sides discussed short, medium and long-term goals to improve academia-industry linkages. They also discussed the key challenges that should be addressed to improve the industry’s reliance on academia for applied research to enhance industrial productivity and produce demand-driven students for industry.

It was highlighted that HEC should further encourage universities to adopt its already approved 3+1 academic criterion to enable students to spend 3 years in universities and one year in industries for degrees in order to provide them practical experience of industrial functions.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director, HEC said that HEC has started a series of interactive meetings with Chambers of Commerce & Industry to improve academia-industry linkages that would help tailor the research initiatives of universities to solve the industrial problems and produce skilled human resource for industry that would ultimately improve economic growth of the country.

She also gave a presentation about the various grants being provided by HEC to universities for research initiatives for the benefit of industry.

Dr. Akram Sheikh, Member HEC said that the government was focusing on promoting the knowledge economy and the only best option to achieve this goal was to bridge the gap between academia and industries. He said that 25 percent of the country was being lost due to industrial wastage and stressed that universities and industries should work together to plug this wastage and improve GDP growth.

Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that advanced countries have achieved fast economic growth by developing strong industry-academia linkages and Pakistan has to adopt the same approach to accelerate its economic growth. He also highlighted the importance of giving representation to Chambers of Commerce & Industry in Boards of Universities and Academic Councils to improve academia-industry linkages.

He said that universities should develop curriculum in consultation with stakeholders to produce demand-driven graduates for industry. He said Chambers of Commerce & Industry should be involved in evaluation criteria of faculty members that would bring both sides even closer.

Mian Akram Farid, Chairman Founder Group emphasized for closer linkages between industry and universities to promote industrial efficiency and produce value added products. He said that focus on skill development and vocational education was important for SMEs development. He said that a course on industry promotion should be included in degree programs.

Prof. Dr Masoom Yasinzai, Rector International Islamic University, appreciated the HEC and ICCI initiative on bridging the gap between two important pillars of the economy. He stressed to introduce the industry professionals as Professor of Practice in the universities to enhance the skill set of graduates.

Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh Senior Vice President, Faheem Khan Vice President ICCI, Tariq Sadiq, Nasir Qureshi and Rectors/Deans of universities also spoke at the occasion and shared useful ideas for promoting academia-industry linkages.=DNA