Project to Strengthen University & Industry Relations
Citi Pakistan and the Social Enterprise Development Centre at LUMS are collaborating on a capacity building programme, “Project Change”, which aims to create stronger connections between higher education institutions and the industry. This programme is based on a USD 50,000 grant from the Citi Foundation.
“The idea behind the project is to make higher education more relevant for the industry and the community, so that graduates are more marketable and add value to society,” explains Dr. Syed Zahoor Hassan, Professor, Suleman Dawood School of Business, who is heading the programme.
A framework has been developed to see how the community and industry are engaged with universities in the country to make education more pertinent. Providing further details on the structure of the project, Dr. Zahoor Hassan elucidates, “A number of areas have been identified, including the role of the community and industry in the strategic aspect of universities at the governance level, the role in curriculum design and development level, the actual teaching and execution of the curriculum and the role played in helping students be mentored and coached for placement.”
Universities have been identified for documenting how these institutions are handling all these different dimensions. “We are trying to identify the best practices in Pakistan, while also looking at international best practices,” states Dr. Hassan. Information has already been collected from five universities, namely Government College University, Lahore College for Women, FC College, LUMS and UET Taxila. Plans are in the pipeline for visiting other leading universities in Islamabad, Karachi, Multan and Sukkur to gather more information.
A two day workshop will be held in June with the related stakeholders to create best practices, share experiences and ensure there is cross-learning among participants. University representatives from Pakistani institutions will be able to discuss their own experiences and draft and define action plans for their own universities.
The goal is to then track the implementation of these plans by these universities and then identify the challenges faced, as well as any other learning that arises. “We plan on going back to these universities towards the end of the year to find out how plans were executed and learn of any issues that arose, so these can be communicated to others as well,” says Dr. Hassan.
SEDC aims to conduct research and publish working papers on the current status of university-industry linkages in Pakistan and different international models. This will be followed by a national conference and awareness campaigns by organising different activities and seminars at the regional level.