Industry-academia linkages are imperative for sustained growth: President FCCI


FAISALABAD: Industry-academia linkages are imperative for sustained economic growth in addition to promoting knowledge-based economy and providing qualified and highly skilled workers to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, said Mr. Atif Munir Sheikh, President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI).

Addressing a zoom meeting with Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission (HEC), he welcomed the beginning of direct contacts between HEC and FCCI and said that it is very encouraging that HEC has realized the fact that without synchronizing industry with higher education institutes, we could not make a phenomenal and inclusive growth. He termed the direct meeting between HEC and FCCI as a new milestone towards unfolding a modern industrial era of cloud computing, robotic and artificial intelligence etc. He hoped that the contacts between the two entities would continue in future to get tangible results. Introducing Faisalabad, President Atif Munir said that it has been contributing more than 52% share towards the total textile export of Pakistan. “It was also catering 80% domestic needs of cloth wears at the national level”, he said and remarked that despite this excellent contribution, the industrial sector was working on decades old traditional technologies and skills without any new inventions. He said that we must give a new dimension to the industrial sector to improve their efficiency and successfully survive in the most challenging and competitive world. He said that Faisalabad has three major public sector universities but they could not give a visible push to industrial growth. He lamented that PhD scholars depend on secondary data downloaded through Google. “It has no relevance to the ground realities”, he said and added that it also dampens their creative, practical and mental faculties. He suggested that university graduates and scholars must spend at least six months in their relevant industry to understand its practical implications and give globally acceptable solutions by utilizing their theoretical knowledge. He negated this impression that the industrial sector was not accommodating the internees and said that he was ready to accommodate maximum young graduates in their relevant fields. He said that it would provide them with primary data and harness their innovative and professional skills. Mr. Atif Munir said that FCCI was organizing a national level economic conference during the month of March and one full session would be dedicated for the education sector. He said that at primary level students must be given practical training in social, moral and ethical issues in addition to providing them basic knowledge about road traffic. He said that the industrial sector must be involved in designing curriculum for the universities so that it’s passed out graduates could be accommodated immediately in their relevant field. He further said that renowned academicians and intellectuals would also be invited to participate in this conference and give their productive output. He said that each session would not only pinpoint the relevant problems but also give their viable solutions which would be submitted to the Government for future policy making.

Dr. Shaista Sohail Executive Director (HEC) said that it is a federal supra body mandated to facilitate, support and ensure quality higher education across the country.

She underlined the need to further strengthen the industry-academia linkages and said that she would prefer to visit major industrial centers after having zoom meetings with various chambers of the country.

She said that academic and research engagements with local industries and chambers are the need for socioeconomic inclusive development. She recommended that chambers should develop a modus operandi to engage with academic experts and research scientists to bridge the existing gap. She hoped that FCCI would help HEC in identifying the future requirements of trained and technical manpower

Dr. Muhammad Akram Sheikh Member HEC said that Google has proved counterproductive for our young scholars and hence HEC must realign its strategic polices to make universities supportive to the industrial sector.

The zoom meeting was also addressed by Vice President Rana Fayyaz Ahmad, Dr. Khurram Tariq and Dr. Habib Aslam Gaba.