Friday, September 30, 2011

State of Engineering Education in Pakistan and its Alternatives

During an interview I once told a freshly graduated mechanical engineer from highly reputed university in Pakistan to create an engineering drawing of a part. He just sat there with paper and pencil in his hand for 15 minutes clueless. Engineering Drawing is an integral part of Mechanical Engineering, it’s like using a stethoscope for doctors. One reputed engineering university an intake of 600+ engineering in single program, less than 10 students got job from that batch even after one year of job searching.

Unfortunately Pakistan does not produce high quality engineers and technicians and are unable to compete in abroad marketplace. This is due to the inflexible attitude of educational administration and theoretical oriented culture in universities. The experienced engineers and technicians usually opt for higher paid jobs in Middle East resulting in the high vacuum for skill in the local industry. There is also phenomenon of producing quantity engineers and doctors by the higher education institutes rather than producing quality. This results in only two kinds of individual’s labor and engineers, but forgot to emphasize on middle tier of any technical organization; technical education which is the core link for the management and engineers to the labor is missing.

This brings us to the existing state of technical board and other government technical institutions. The existing state of the mono, poly technical institutes and most private technical institutes are more focused on political affiliations rather than providing the education to the students. The curriculum provided to them is also out dated and mostly theoretical oriented. This result in the student once graduated unable to find themselves jobs even in the local industry, moving aboard after graduation is highly unlikely. So what is the solution? I believe there is absolute need to bring quality, practical oriented skilled education framework that can train our engineers and technicians from day one.

The City and Guilds of London Institute (City & Guilds) is a leading United Kingdom vocational education organization. City & Guilds offers more than 500 qualifications over the whole range of industry sectors through 8500 colleges and training providers in 81 countries worldwide. Two million people every year start City & Guilds qualifications, which span all levels from basic skills to the highest standards of professional achievement (Honours, Master and Doctorate levels equivalent).

Founded in 1878 by the City of London and 16 livery companies – the traditional guardians of work-based training – to develop a national system of technical education, City & Guilds has been operating under Royal Charter (RC117), granted by Queen Victoria, since 1900.

The qualification from city & guilds is practical oriented and gives hands on experience to the candidates. In England usually known as NVQ or National vocational qualification, its international equivalent is IVQs i.e. International Vocational Qualifications. City & Guilds is an internationally recognized qualification that can change the engineering and technical education in Pakistan. City & Guilds qualification starts from metric / O levels (Level 2) , Diplomas (Level 3 & 4), Chartered Engineering(Level 5 & 6), Masters (Level 7) and PhD. (Level 8). For more details visit http://www.cityandguilds.com/. Punjab Technical education board TEVTA has also joined hands City & Guilds and will be offering IVQs in their 100+ TEVTA training centers.

There are at the moment only three institutes in Karachi which are affiliated with City & Guilds

• Royal Institute of S&T (Level 2, 3 & 5 Diploma & Engineering Technologies - Manufacturing, Electrical, Electronics and Mechatronics Engineering) http://www.rist.edu.pk
• Hunar Foundation (Diplomas only - plumbing, Air conditioning)
• AmanTech (Diplomas only - Mechanic, plumbing)(A subsidiary of Aman foundation)

Author Dr. Imran Amin originally a Mechanical Engineer has done his MS and PhD in Mechatronics from England. He worked internationally at several US and UK based engineering firms before moving to Pakistan. For last 5 years he is consultant for top ranking high education universities in Pakistan and helps them setup Engineering departments, getting accreditation and create curriculums. Author has over 30 research publications nationally and internationally. Author has no affiliation with city & guilds and related.

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