Information Technology (IT) institutes embrace uniformity for diploma
KARACHI- Many information technology (IT) institutions in Sindh, which until recently had the image of “an out-of-control” group lacking standardized certification, are now offering two identical programmes that ensure uniformity both in content and duration.
Both the programmes are called “Diploma in Information Technology” (DIT) which have been developed separately by two bodies the Sindh Board of Technical Education (SBTE) and the Skill Development Council (SDC), which is project of the ministry of labour, manpower and overseas Pakistanis. Both courses are of one-year duration having two semesters each.
The advent of the two DITs, which are so identical that they can be deemed one programme, makes things easy for students who want to study for a diploma. “This is a welcome development,” said a faculty member of private infotech institution.
“Before the introduction of these standardized courses the students, and their parents, used to be confused,Â” he said. “They didn’t really know which institute, or which diploma, to apply to.”
“This was so because some institutions used to offer diploma courses of six-month duration but others offered diplomas of up to 12-months duration. There were still others who had courses that were only four months long.”
He claimed that the introduction of the DITs had injected a semblance of order in the local infotech scene.
Another teacher said the diverse programmes offered by the infotech institutions in the past had brought a bad name to them. “Theoretically some diversity is good for a group of institutions but too much diversity is bad. The diverse diplomas that we offered gave us the image of a chaotic group devoid of benchmarks.”
He was of the view that the two DITs had provided the computer institutions with a much-needed benchmark. Â“We now have a benchmark, a touch-stone, at least at the diploma level.” The teacher opined that similar benchmarks should be created for the bachelor’s and master’s levels as well.
The faculty member pointed out that the SDCs Diploma in Information Technology was now being offered by as many as 73 computer institutes of Karachi. He added that SBTE’s diploma had been adopted by over a hundred institutes of Karachi, eight institutes of Hyderabad and two institutes of Sukkur.
“This is the scale at which these two similar programmes have been embraced by the computer institutes. Lets hope similar developments take place at the degree levels too.”
The SBTE’s diploma has 13 courses. The SDCÂ’s diploma, on the other hand, has 12. The twelve courses common to the two DITs are: Introduction to IT; Office Automation; C++ Programming; Data Communication; Financial Accounting; Operating System Analysis and Design; E-Commerce; Visual Basic; Java Programming; and Communication Skills. (The only course not common to the two diplomas is called Directed Project.”)
A member of the SDC told that the classes of the two diplomas would commence in the first week of July. “And the total fee charged by a participating institute will be about Rs 20,000.”
He said the fee hadn’t been standardized yet. “But both the SDC and SBTE have notified the upper and lower limits of the fee to be charged. The institutes with a good infrastructure may charge more fee than those having poorer infrastructure. The difference, however, between the upper and lower limits is not too great.”
He said in the case of the two diplomas the government bodies and private entrepreneurs had joined hands to bring standardization to a sector with a large number of diverse players. Â“What’s appreciable is that this standardization hasn’t stifled private entrepreneurship.”
In response to a question, he said the private institutes may launch new computer courses if and when the need for them arose. “The institutes have the freedom to offer innovative and stand-alone courses.Â”
He said under the system adopted by the institutes the SDC and SBTE earned money through the deposition of registration and examination fee. The institutes made some money in the shape of the nominal tuition fee they charged, about Rs 1,200 per month.
A faculty member said both the SBTE and SDC should now think in terms of launching two year DITs which could be offered only to part-time students.