On 6th of November a new era began in our lives. A momentous occasion in our lives, it was our convocation. It was to be the beginning of something special , something divine . But perhaps that something special never came to fruition. It was a wonderful opportunity to come around and meet each other after a duration of about four months. While we were happy to meet each other , something wasn’t right. The atmosphere looked gloomy. We were sitting together and waiting to get our degrees from a prestigious Pakistani university, yet we strangely felt betrayed. We felt betrayed because when we imagined our counterparts in other parts of the world who went to their countries’ leading universities, we could not imagine them being jobless. The predicament that we were in was hard to comprehend. How many people in this world graduate from top schools and remain unemployed? Sadly for us we are one of those unlucky people.
Whatever our destiny has decided for us we are willing to accept. But we donot only hold destiny accountable for all of this. We strongly believe they are a lot of issues in this university which need to be addressed for the potential survival of future graduates. We do know that the economy is stagnant and there is a lot of saturation in the Electrical/Electronics field. This however has not stopped universities such as IST and CASE from helping their graduates getting hired. This suggests surely there is more work that can be done to market our graduates.
Please make a career development department with COMPETENT people who place CV’s of all graduates into the HR departments of leading companies. This department must have contact numbers,addresses of most companies in Pakistan . This career department should also have a up to date website with vacancies in various fields being shown so that alumni can check out if a job is available that suits them. The department must have contacts with the HR departments of various companies so that a vacancy could immediately be notified. Some might say that this is already being done. Please note the present performance of the career development office is farcical and they are in almost no contact with the alumni . Please also hold tests of all major companies on campus for Nustians so that more employment opportunities could develop. Many Universities around the world have a Co-op program with the industry . In this kind of program it is mandatory for a student to do an internship in a company . This company is assigned to him by the career development department. We believe this kind of setup will help one gain vital experience in the industry.
The second thing that is required for a graduate in these testing times is a versatile skill set . This can only be achieved when courses are allowed to be picked and dropped at will across various disciplines . The reason why this is not being applied is not comprehensible by us , but it is the need of the hour and if we fail to allow this the future graduates will suffer a worse fate than us.
The third thing which we strongly believe needs to be done is to improve the quality of projects we do in our campuses. We believe that our graduates lack the finishing touch where our peers in leading universities around the world do possess. We very arrogantly talk about Stanford, Caltech but we fail to emulate their study models over here. If we visit the website of MIT open courseware , we can see that almost all engineering subjects have a forty percent weightage for projects and a similar weightage for LABS . Exams meanwhile have a very small weightage. This suggests that only through practical work can we really gain knowledge with a finishing touch . Theoretical Knowledge is like reading a story which you are never really part of. We must also focus on cross disciplinary projects because in all sincerity any practical project has to be cross disciplinary in nature. A robot without software is useless, and you certainly can’t expect electrical engineers to create software for you.
Fourthly, the industry cares less about what we learn in the university and emphasizes more on hands on experience on equipment by specific hardware manufacturers example Allan Bradley, Siemens, Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson and Huawei. Please hold constant practical workshops of these companies because in the end workshops like these do help one to gain practical experience.
As far as research is concerned, we strongly believe there is limited research being done that can really change Pakistan. In fact, in many cases we do not need research but we only need design and analysis to solve Pakistan’s problems. Unless we help our society to reach the top we surely can’t expect this university to change anything. We expect faculty members to lead projects that can potentially change Pakistan. Just to mention over here , Dr Rehan Hafiz recently floated a project in which electricity is being produced by the kinetic movement of cars which can be used to light up traffic signals. Such innovative projects when properly assigned to a cross disciplinary team lead by a faculty member will give rise to the much touted “entrepreneurship” term . Such a project perhaps does not require cutting edge research as this technology is readily available , but what it requires is a will and vision , which perhaps we lack. Research for the sake of attracting dollars is useless to Pakistan as a whole and we believe such a paradigm is flawed and cynical in nature. The need of research shall arise when we reach a problem for which a solution already does not exist. In our case , all the solutions do exist. Unless we change our priorities, we really can never become great and we really can never become a knowledge based economy. The other plus side is that this will create more jobs for our graduates and more revenue for the university.
The other day an ambitious prospective Nustian came to us and asked enthusiastically about Nust . We could not help but guide him for the better and we thought maybe Nust is not the best option right now . This perhaps is the beginning of a trend , a trend that can sadly see Nust lose its charm and glory unless it acts to change things.
In all this we aim to help our university improve and help the future graduates more easily tackle the job market. We hope to hear from your side soon to further discuss the suggestions.
Post Email: And this really has been the story of our seniors.Pro-Rector apparently did take notice of this but let’s look forward to some concrete steps and a career development office with highly competent and experienced people.And let’s hope for a new dawn.