National institute of computer
ISLAMABAD- Science and Technology Minister Dr. Ata-ur-Rahman said that a national institute of computer sciences will be established to provide basic and higher studies in the Information Technology field.
He was speaking at the seminar on “science and technology for economic development” organised by the Organization of lslamic Conference Standing on Scientific and Technological Cooperation at the Auditorium of Pakistan Academy of Sciences.
He said the project was estimated to cost $ 240 million and he would be visiting Switzerland next month to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cern, a Swiss Organisation.
The minister said that the present government was attaching great importance to the promotion .of science and technology and we were going into the lnformation Technology area with utmost speed. In about four months hard work we have been able to clear the blue print for IT prevalence.
He pointed out that science policies have been prepared in the past, but never been implemented, but this time, he held out the assurance that it would be implemented as is evident from the allocation of huge funds for the promotion of science and technology in the current year’s budget. For the implementation of the IT plan an action plan has been prepared, he added.
Dr. Ata further elaborating the plan said that 50 percent of the funds have been earmarked for IT, which included the establishment of an IT university, development of software on an intensive scale, and the creation of basic infrastructure, which was essential for the proper growth of the IT culture.
He said 270 towns and villages would be provided internet facility in about four months, while 80 percent to 90 percent of the cities, towns would be connected by June next year. The government was also looking at the reduction of the Internet costs, he added.
He said a number foreign companies were coming in and they were expected to invest some $ 50 million in the IT sector. But he pointed out that for the expansion of the IT sector, the country needed trained personnel. In this connection, Singapore has offered its assistance and would soon be establishing a training center for the IT personnel.
Dr. Ata said that a national fund has been created for financing development projects in every field of national activity. The projects will have to be based on scientific data and would be approved by the ministry after due evaluation with no red tape involved.
He clarified that science was not confirmed only to the ministry, but it also concerned education, agriculture, etc, and their schemes based on economic development would also be approved by the ministry.
Already 15 projects have been under consideration and are expected to be put into operation soon. He said it would be advisable if the projects put forward by the entrepreneurs were backed by the industry. He further clarified that the focus of all the attention on science and technology was to sunken the base of the subject in the educational institutions and for this purpose handsome scholarships would be awarded to deserving students.
Not only universities would he involved, but also the polytechnics all over the country would be encouraged to impart training to the IT technicians and engineers. He also said the functioning of the science and technology institutions was being reviewed, which included the education, agriculture sectors as well. He said additional funds would be provided to certain institutions for some specific purposes.
The seminar assumed the shape of a question-answer meeting after the opening remarks by the minister. To a question, he replied the ministry was also considering the modalities to use radio and television for providing information to the public as well as train students desirous of using these organisations for learning IT.
Similarly, teaching of science at the school level would be made compulsory with the main objective of improving the quality of education. He said a strong educational base was imperative so as to encourage science and technology and an effort would be made to make science especially computer sciences interesting for the school students.
He said the ministry was collaborating with the Education Ministry in this regard. He said the ministry would also collaborate with other ministries like the agriculture for the development of the agriculture sector.
However, the basic task would have to be carried out by the concerned ministry, he pointed out. The science Ministry would see to it that the functioning of a ministry would enhanced, its manpower strengthened and infrastructure improved. The main idea was that the ministries concerned or the organisations function in a proper manner.
Ata said that they have discussed reforms in the education sphere. One reform which has been given approval was the increase in the salaries of the teachers and the Finance Ministry has agreed to this proposal in principle and the teachers would soon have a new salary structure.
He said he was fully aware of the mushroom growth of IT institutions and was also aware that a number of them were fleecing the people. The ministry has taken notice of this mushroom growth and would soon take regulatory measures to ensure that computer education was imported on a proper footings.
He said the scientists would manage the institutions and not the bureaucrats. The salary structure of the university teachers is also under review, he disclosed. He said there was no bar on the publication of scientific papers and journals, but unfortunately there were not many journals, which were devoted to the publication of scientific papers.
He said there was lack of funding. He said Singapore was spending $ 735 million or Rs 42 billion on education. Even the Aligarh University in India, a small-university, was spending more than the total budget of the Karachi University. Similar is the case in Bangladesh.
He also agreed with another questioner that there should be no restriction on the primary education budget. He said he has been informed by the education minister that there was no paucity of funds for primary education.
Source: Business Recorder