Why NUTECH

THE BIRTH OF NUTECH

The idea of NUTECH was born in early 2015 based on the interactions with national industry in the context of Pakistan’s economic growth and consequent realization that the availability of well-trained high quality human resource in applied sciences, engineering, technologies and technical skills fields can offset our over-reliance and dependence on imported technologies for much needed industrial growth. Initial discussions focused on enhancement of the quality of applied education in Pakistan.

The consensus developed that a university tailored towards technologies was needed to educate Pakistan’s youth as future industry leaders of character through higher education in the realm of applied sciences, engineering, technologies and technical skills for technologies creation, development and implementation through innovations and in the process stitch together a coherent science, engineering, technologies and skills framework for the industry and the country.The task was assigned to Lt Gen (Retd) Khalid Asghar, a visionary and ardent supporter of creating and developing indigenous technologies for the industry and bringing quality improvements in the industrial skill levels of the youth in the country. The private musings of Gen Khalid turned into discussions that slowly made it to higher tiers of government. With CPEC promising an economic revolution in the country, the idea of NUTECH, a vision focusing on creation, development, implementation, promotion of emerging technologies and technical skills to enhance national self-reliance was not easy to dismiss. The HEC and MoST bought the idea, but the main responsibility of executing the vision remained with Gen Khalid, which he took NUTECH to the heart and changed it into “My-NUTECH”.

Gen Khalid quickly hand-picked a small team that worked tirelessly day and night towards the creation of NUTECH. The team’s efforts bore fruit and on 21st August 2017, a bill was passed by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology of Pakistan to establish a technology university under The National University of Technology Bill, 2017. The bill was subsequently passed by the National Assembly on 20th November, 2017, then by the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology on 10th January, 2018 followed by the Senate on 26th January, 2018.  Finally, the President’s assent was received on 22nd February, 2018.

A TOUGH START

NUTECH Academic system consists of all 8 levels of National Qualification Framework (NQF). The same have been divided into 4 tiers of academic system at NUTECH. The University commenced its UG programs in fall 2018 but catering to its student clienteles was a different story. Though the present campus academic and administrative buildings had come up in record timings of 18 months yet the required numbers of labs and sufficient office space

as well as the actual implementation of world class curriculum were the real challenges. As more academics joined, in view of NUTECH’s vision of becoming technology driven Research University of the future, debate opened up over difficulties in implementation of scope,objectives and details of its high-end applied engineering, technologies and hi-tech skills education programs. The subject of accreditation with PEC, NTC, NCEAC and NAVTTC based on very high quality curriculum also became a charged topic. Finally as guided by its BoG in line with the vision and mission of University, the conclusion was that NUTECH should contribute in self-reliance of national economy by focusing on its originally contemplated academic and research programs in applied sciences, engineering, technologies, technical and vocational skills to create, develop, implement and commercialize emerging technologies. At the same time University must fine-tune the design and details of all 8 levels of education programs and their curricula to the accreditation needs of PEC, NTC, NCEAC and NAVTTC respectively.

ON ITS FEET

The first academic success of UG programs came in the form of ICAT, a four weeks Industrial and Creative Activity Term after fall semester in 2019. This 4 weeks term gave students confidence in the university as they built working engineering and technologies models. But this activity did much more than that as it brought the first major academic success for a university program besides boosting the confidence of faculty and support staff alike. Quickly the curriculum of UG programs was finalized and academic processes started to come together. A successful PEC Zero visit was completed in September 2019.  The second ICAT-2020 was even a bigger success as composite teams of freshman and sophomore students developed 71 projects in which more than 50 projects related to the direct application in different industries.  

UNIQUE OFFERINGS

NUTECH UG programs are based on 5 steps learning cycle as compared to 2 steps learning cycle of conventional UG programs in Pakistan. Another unique offering of the university is Out-of-Class Learning Experience (OCLE) based experiential learning. In these learning communities, students deepen their understanding of the physical life and social sciences in small interactive groups. This freshman (first) year experiential learning program is followed by a career accelerator program based career advisory system for employment and progression in the industry in the second (sophomore) year. The third (junior) and fourth (senior) years groom students to take part in research and engineering leadership and entrepreneurship. Equally important is the Industrial Learning Experience (ILE) program academic classes

in the industries where faculty learns and simultaneously teaches the students the application of taught concepts in the context of industrial applications during the first three years. Students’ classes are organized in industries where the faculty relates the classroom concepts of their curriculum with industrial processes, systems and products to students who are accordingly tested. This ensures that they are able to co-relate the theoretical knowledge of engineering with industrial ecosystem throughout their university experience. It also helps in jobs placement. The summer session term of 8-weeks offer students of freshman (first) and sophomore (second) years the unique opportunity to undertake voluntary projects and earn score as part of Students Compliance Index (SCI). The junior (third) year is mandatory supervised internship for all students. Finally, ICAT is a fun and creative term where students dare to think big and materialize their dream projects.

THE FACULTY AND PIONEER STUDENTS

The NUTECH faculty is steeped in the philosophy of NUTECH. This is to think beyond the university and work towards nation building.  At under 100 initial members with qualifications from around the world, NUTECH is determined to enable its faculty to participate in creating self-reliance through the creation and promotion of technologies. From inviting business leaders to encouraging entrepreneurship, NUTECH is aware that it has to help its faculty and students to create new opportunities and new jobs. The initial student body of 150 students started classes on 1st October, 2018. The second batch of approximately 189 individuals started UG classes on 16th September, 2019. Approximately 250 Skills students have commenced / completed different technical and vocational skills courses in Skills Dept of NUTECH in the year 2019.

ACCREDITATIONS

In September 2019, PEC approved the university’s four engineering programs; Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Computer. Approval for the Computer Science program by NCEAC quickly followed. In 2019 9 different hi tech skills programs have been accredited with NAVTTC, whereas simultaneously NUTECH is working on affiliation of more than 40 TVET institutes with the University in different phases spread over 5-10 years’ time duration. In 2021, NUTECH intends launching its pioneer Cooperative Model based Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BET) in Civil to be accredited by NTC. This shall be a unique program for the preparation of critically required HR (Technologists) for different industrial sectors for practical implementation of technologies to boost our industrial outputs.  

PARTNERSHIPS

NUTECH is looking for partners in its pursuit of creating technologies.  It has created a strong partnership with Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) and Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) for defence applications. NUTECH has engaged Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) to create technologies in the aviation division and bio-medical application.  It also has forged a strong relationship with Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University and Shifa Hospital to create a state of the art undergraduate biomedical

engineering program in the country. Amongst international partners, NUTECH is actively engaged with University of Utah (UoU), USA, and Turku Vocational Institute (TAI) Finland and trying to get engaged with a number of Chinese and EU Universities. As of today, NUTECH has developed collaborative relationship with more than 20 industry associations in Pakistan. Significantly among these are chambers of Islamabad, Karachi, Sialkot, Gujarat and Gujranwala. NUTECH has signed comprehensive MoU with FPCCI as part of its efforts to truly become “University for Industry” 

PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

Professional and Technical Skills education development as part of levels 1 – 5 of NQF, plays an important role in NUTECH’s vision of transforming the nation. On this side, NUTECH has made huge strides. Partnerships with various sectors have been created which shall result in provision of hi tech skilled workforce to all industrial sectors of Pakistan besides our skilled youth going to Japan, Saudia, and Europe to help in their industries and boosting remittances to Pakistan. The NUTECH Skills Development Framework (NSDF) is the guiding framework for this endeavor. In a time frame of 5-10 years NUTECH will have around 40 TVET institutes under its fold wherein approximately 10000 skilled workers will be trained per annum for national and global industries.

For this purpose NUTECH has got QAB status from NAVTTC. In its two years of birth, University commenced certifications in the traditional areas of industrial stitching, hospitality management and computer graphics.  In the field of hi-tech skills, NUTECH is conducting five (5) courses in AI, IoT, Data Science and Block Chain. All these courses have been registered with NAVTTC as standard courses. NUTECH is working on the concept of “lifelong skills” wherein the “Recognition of Prior Learning” and “Skills Testing Centre” will play major role in enhancing boundaries of our skills promotion in Pakistan.

Life skills have been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”. The professional and technical skills development stream in the NUTECH is being looked after by NUTECH Skills Development Department (NSDD), which is designed to focus on the quality of education/ training for developing employable skills oriented towards the world of work; delivering high quality technical education at different levels of sophistication to prepare the youth, poor and vulnerable of society for gainful employments and sustainable livelihood; thereby, contributing towards the socio-economic development. A comprehensive strategy in this regard has been developed under NSDD. The NSDD is structured to provide establishment for giving policy directions, procedures and processes for identification and development of vocational qualifications through participation of industry, conduct of trainings, and system of assessment, quality assurance and establishment of a management information system.

NEW HOME – NUTECH MAIN CAMPUS

After 10-15 years NUTECH intends graduating 25,000 – 30,000 students annually in the complete spectrum of education covering, Bachelors, Masters, PhD programs in applied sciences, engineering, technologies, as well as TVET certifications and diplomas in hi-tech commercial and industrial fields in line with

its vision and mandate. As the admission numbers shall swell and so the number of faculty and support staff, the university has started to look for a new home for its growing student body. For this purpose NUTECH intends acquiring 300 acres land on M-2 Motorway for its main Islamabad campus. In the meantime, extra emphasis is being placed on research and industrial collaborations, and consequently the establishment of schools and research centers will come; the first two on the table are: NUTECH Railways Engineering, Technologies and Skills School (NURETSS) and Innovative Technologies and Skills Center (ITSC).

WHAT IS ENSUING

NUTECH is a philosophy, concept and a change as much as it is a university. NUTECH is a place where Head, Hearts and Hands (H3) shall combine to materialize NUTECH Motto “رہبرِ ترقّی و کمال” i.e. Leaders in Progress and Excellence. It shall be a growing university with matching infrastructure and the soul and hearts. It is producing hi tech skilled manpower and is on its way to producing top quality applied engineers, technologists and technicians. Presently, NUTECH offers all levels of technical education, from basic skills based level-1 certificate to level-8 PhD degrees. Our road map shall continue to focus on “fulfilling the dream of transforming the industrial landscape, building knowledge economy and transforming Pakistan into an industrial powerhouse”. The solution undoubtedly lies in high quality HR at NUTECH with the time and freedom to execute with patience.