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President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday urged the need to facilitate the expansion and growth of Pakistan’s Information Technology (IT) sector, APP reported.

He said that an informed and dynamic leadership was needed to take steps to facilitate IT businesses, improve Pakistan’s ecosystem, and provide a conducive environment to budding entrepreneurs in the field of IT and emerging technologies.

The president expressed these views while addressing the Emerging Technology conference organized by “enablers”, an e-commerce network, at the President’s House.

The president said that the global IT sector was expanding at an exponential pace, and Pakistan needed to capitalize upon the opportunity being opened up by the IT revolution and improved global connectivity.

Alvi calls for persistent efforts to promote AI, quantum computing

He said that the IT sector had the potential to help Pakistan overcome its financial struggles within a short span of time.

The president highlighted the need to bridge the gap between academia and industry by regularly updating the higher education curriculum, utilizing hybrid modes of imparting education, and developing collaboration between universities and the private sector.

He said stressed upon universities produce graduates as per the demands of the market, as trained and skilled human resources were in great demand throughout the world.

In the field of cyber security alone, 80 million professionals would be required by the year 2030, he added.

CEO of enablers, Saqib Azhar, Vice-Chancellor of Government College University (GCU), Lahore, Dr Asghar Zaidi, and IT entrepreneurs attended the event.

The president highlighted that Pakistan required to enhance the number of IT graduates if it was to compete with other regional countries.

He further said that Pakistan only produced 27000 to 30000 graduates annually, which could be multiplied by employing online and hybrid modes of learning, besides imparting skills to youth and women through short-term skill-development courses and associate degree programmes.

The president said that the global IT industry was rapidly shifting from degree-based qualifications and was employing skilled human resources irrespective of their degrees and academic backgrounds.

He observed that over 2 million people from different academic backgrounds had already benefitted from and had been imparted digital skills under the Prime Minister’s digiskills program, which could serve as a model for the private sector to be replicated to enhance the skill set of Pakistan’s youth.

He informed that Meta (Facebook) had already trained over 5000 women in Pakistan to advertise and market their products in the local and international markets, adding that online skill development programmes could enable women to earn from their homes by helping them offer their products and services online.

CEO of “enablers”, Saqib Azhar, while addressing the conference said that all the relevant stakeholders needed to work together to provide an enabling environment to IT entrepreneurs.

He said that “enablers” had already trained over 300,000 people in Pakistan and were playing a role in expanding Pakistan’s e-commerce market.

The Vice-Chancellor of GCU urged the need to relax rigidities in Pakistan’s education system, reducing the gap between academia and industry, timely updating the outdated curriculum, and focusing on education in the fields of computer science, data science, and artificial intelligence.

Earlier, the president also distributed awards among entrepreneurs/businesses who performed exceptionally well in the field of IT and Emerging Technologies.

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