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 non-availability of well-trained high quality human resource in the applied sciences, engineering, technology and technical skills fields and dependence on imported technologies is seriously retarding our industrial growth. Discussions started about the poor quality of education in the realm of applied sciences, engineering, hi-tech technical and professional skills and engineering technologies in Pakistan. The consensus developed that a model university was needed to educate Pakistan’s youth as future industry leaders of character through higher education, in the realm of applied sciences, engineering, technology and technical skills for technologies creation, development and implementation through innovations and in the process stitch together a coherent science, engineering, technology and skills framework for the industry and the country. The task was assigned to Engineer 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 through science, engineering, technology, technical and vocational skills.

The private musings of Khalid Asghar turned into discussions that slowly made it to higher tiers of government. With CPEC promising an economic revolution in a country where the external debt has risen almost continuously for the past decade, the idea of NUTECH was a breath of fresh air.  A vision focusing on creation, development, implementation, promotion of emerging technologies and vocational skills to enhance national self-reliance was not easy to dismiss. The Higher Education Commission bought the idea, but the main responsibility for executing the vision fell on Engineer Khalid Asghar, a dreamer and no stranger to grand visions.  He took NUTECH to heart and changed it into “My-NUTECH”.

The first step that Khalid took was to create a hand-picked three members core team, Aftab Ahmed, Tariq Mahmood and Javed Iqbal. They immediately got to work, cutting through bureaucratic channels in trying to make a top-class university, even though they had little academic experience between them.  In June 2017, they were joined by Dr Adnan, another visionary who had the knowledge, vision, plan and could speak for hours establishing world-class technology university and on the benefits of creating, developing and promoting  indigenous technologies through state of the art academic and applied R&D, Academic-Industry collaborating triple helix and international linkages. The team’s efforts bore fruit, and on 21 August of the same year, 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

“In Pakistan, applied sciences, engineering, technology and skills education sectors have generally remained ignored in terms of creation, development and implementation of technologies and allied skills and relatively under developed as compared to the modern world. It is a well-known fact that the non-availability of well-trained human resource in the applied engineering, technology and technical fields is seriously retarding our industrial growth. The situation is accentuated by the lack of recognition of international best practices and absence of the state of the art, higher education streams in the realms of applied engineering, technologies and technical skills”. With this Conviction and beamed with pride a triumphant Aftab spoke to the media, adding that NUTECH would redress this deficiency. The bill was subsequently passed by the National Assembly on 20th November, 2017, by the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology on 10th January, 2018 and finally by the Senate on 26th January, 2018.  The President’s assent was received on 22nd February, 2018.

A TOUGH START

The first semester did much to lower the enthusiasm of a team that now had more than a hundred members. The buildings had gone up at record speed.  But catering to its student customers was a different story. Minimum number of required number of modern labs and
in-sufficient office space as well as the actual implementation of world class curriculum were far bigger challenges than anyone had foreseen. The faculty, young, ambitious and hungry to publish but with no graduate workhorses, had to turn to their alma mater to continue churning out papers. But the biggest challenge lay ahead. As more academics joined, questions were raised about the means to the end, the direction the university was taking on its course to becoming an academic and industry-supporting powerhouse in Pakistan. In view of NUTECH’s vision of becoming technology driven research university of the future, debate flared over whether restricting our scope to conventional stereotype undergraduate education or should NUTECH cover complete spectrum of world-class high-end science, engineering, technology, hi-tech and conventional skills education. The subject of accreditation with PEC, NTC, NCEAC and NAVTTC with very high quality international students based curriculum became a charged topic. Soul-searching became routine. Was this yet another university whose vision was in fact a naive dream? Finally, the conclusion was that as per its scope and purpose, NUTECH should contribute in self-reliance of national economy. The University must focus on academics and research programs in applied sciences, engineering, technologies, other technologies and allied skills to create, develop, implement and commercialize technologies. At the same time we must adjust the design of our curricula as per the needs of PEC without significantly comprising our higher quality standards as compared to the conventional sciences, engineering, technology and technical skills education.

ON ITS FEET

The first academic success came in the form of ICAT, a one month Industrial and Creative Activity Term after Fall semester in 2019. This one month gave students confidence in the university as they built working engineering and technologies projects. But this activity did much more than that. It brought the first major academic success for a university program and did much to boost the confidence of faculty and support staff alike. Success breeds success. The curriculum was finalized and it was truly world class. Academic processes started to come together. For existing undergraduate programs, PEC was the way to go. A successful 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 weeks related to the direct application in industry. 

UNIQUE OFFERINGS

A unique offering of the university is Out-of-class Learning Experience (OLE) based its experiential learning programs. In 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 industry where faculty instructors first learn and then teach students the application of taught concepts in the context of industrial applications industrial engagement during the first three years. Students classes are organized in industry where teachers/ faculty relate 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 and industrial ecosystem throughout their university experience. It also helps in job 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 PIONEER STUDENTS

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.

THE FACULTY

The faculty is steeped in the philosophy of NUTECH. This is to think beyond the university and work towards nation building.  At under 100 members with qualifications from around the world, NUTECH is striving hard to enable its faculty to participate in creating self-reliance through the creation 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. 

ACCREDITATION

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 2021, NUTECH is destined to launch its cooperative model based Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BET) in Civil Engineering Program to be accredited by NTC. The launch ceremony was inaugurated by President of Pakistan, being its chancellor in February 2021.  

PARTNERSHIPS

NUTECH is looking for partners in its pursuit of creating technologies.  It has created a strong partnership with Heavy Industries Taxila & Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) held to help them in making advanced diesel engines. 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, University of Rome Tor Vergata, (Via) Italy 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 association in Pakistan NUTECH has established initial linkages with international industry at Italy. Significantly among these are those of Karachi, Sialkot, Gujarat and Gujranwala. NUTECH signed comprehensive MoU with FPCCI on March 17, 2020. 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 will see several personnel, with skills imparted at NUTECH, going to Japan, KSA Europe to help in their industries. The NUTECH Skills Development Framework (NSDF) is the guiding framework for this endeavor. In a time frame of 3 – 5 years NUTECH will have around 20 technical institutes under its fold where in approximately 5,000 skilled workers will be trained per annum for national and global industries. For this purpose NUTECH has got QAB status from NTB, NAVTTC and IBCC. 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 prepared 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, system of assessment, quality assurance and establishment of a management information system.

NEW HOME

In next 10 years NUTECH intends graduating 25,000 – 30,000 students in the complete spectrum of education covering, Bachelor, Master, PhD programs in sciences, engineering, technology, arts, humanities and social sciences as well as TVET certifications and diplomas in hi-tech and commercial & industrial fields   in time with its mandate. As the admission numbers 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 at has acquired 300 acres land on M-2 Motorway for its main campus at Islamabad. 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: (1) NURETSS (Full) and (2) Innovative Technologies and Center (ITSC). These setups will come up as part of NUTECH Future Main Campus (NFMC).

WHAT NEXT

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) will combine to materialize NUTECH Motto “رہبرِ ترقّی و کمال” i.e. Leaders in Progress and Excellence. It is a growing university with large buildings, and a soul and a heart to match. It is now producing skilled manpower and is on its way to producing top quality inventors, scientists, engineers, technologists and technicians. NUTECH is the only university in Pakistan which is mandated to offer all levels of technical education, from basic skills based level-1 certificate to PhD degrees.

Our road map will continue to focus on “How to fulfill the promise of transforming the industrial landscape, building knowledge economy and transforming Pakistan into an industrial powerhouse?”

NUTECH shall strive hard to fulfill this dream. The solution undoubtedly lies in high quality HR at NUTECH and the time and freedom to execute with patience.