15.01.2015 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Regional Science Bureau Promotes Standardization of Engineering Qualifications through South-South Cooperation

The UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific and UNESCO Islamabad organized a national dialogue and international meeting aimed at Developing a Roadmap on Engineering Qualification Standardization. The two day event was organized in Islamabad in partnership with the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), the International Science, Technology and Innovation Center for South-South Cooperation, under the auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC), the Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP) and Economic Cooperation Organization Science Foundation (ECOSF).

During the two day event, engineering experts, industrialists, academicians and focal persons from various national and international entities discussed gaps and opportunities outlining the importance of developing a road map for engineering qualifications standardization. This includes capacity building, effective collaboration and cooperation among the various education related ministries, departments and international education entities and organizations towards harmonizing the engineering qualification standards to be aligned with the international standards. Also, active linkages between academia and the engineering industry as well as developing new ways of learning, teaching, curricula improvement and executive faculty trainings in engineering institutions particularly in Pakistan and the Asia-Pacific Region were emphasized.

Speaking as Chief Guest, Hasrul Sani bin Mujtabar, High Commissioner of Malaysia to Pakistan in his remarks said that Malaysia is strong supporter of UNESCO and has launched a Malaysian Funds in Trust, for capacity building in education, science and culture, Funds in  Trust Agreement has been signed with UNESCO and this meeting is part of south-south cooperation which is part of Malaysian policy, closer collaboration and cooperation, this must be enhanced form time to time, through warm and cordial relationship between Pakistan and Malaysia. The close link between Malaysia and Pakistan is that of import export of Basmati Rice and Palm oil but he is pleased of this initiative where engineers of the two brotherly countries will work closely with each other.  

Syed Abdul Qadir Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Engineering Council on this occasion said that there is a real need for standardization of engineering qualification in this era and this meeting will give a platform for addressing the engineering problems and issues, enabling the engineers for their across the border contribution.

Vibeke Jensen, Representative/ Director, UNESCO Islamabad thanked all the participants and emphasized that the initiative had meant to encourage and inspire academicians, particularly in Pakistan and other countries of Asia-Pacific towards harmonizing the engineering qualification standards to the international standards. She underlined the missing link between academia and industry as another significant factor that contributed to hindering industrial development in Pakistan and stressed the importance of an effective coordination mechanism among the Ministries responsible for Science and Technology,  Education, Commerce and Industry along with the Pakistan Engineering Council, Higher Education Commission, and National Commission for Human Development, in order to jointly develop engineering curriculum which fulfils the needs of industry and trade requirements, compatible with local and regional trends.

Representatives and officials from FEIAP,ISTIC, ECOSF and academicians of various  Engineering Universities from Pakistan highlighted the importance of the initiative, key areas of progress and challenges and mentioned that PEC has great capacity to take the lead especially in the Asia Pacific region. There is a potential to commercialize the research results through appropriate use of innovative strategies.

In his closing remarks, Shahbaz Khan, Officer in Charge, UNESCO Jakarta said that UNESCO has a long history of promoting internationally-recognized standards for engineering institutions and would like to continue to do so in countries like Pakistan to the level of international universities and to meet need based opportunities. He emphasized that we need to find new ways of learning, teaching, curricula improvement, and executive faculty trainings. He added that Pakistan has to take the lead for this initiative and help the other pilot countries. There is a need to link with ECO countries and other member economies of Asia Pacific Region.

During the two day event, engineering experts, industrialists, academicians and focal persons from various national and international entities discussed gaps and opportunities and the development of a road map for engineering qualifications standardizations.

Pakistan has been selected as pilot case study for UNESCO-FEIAP collaboration which is working to improve the standards of engineering qualification in universities and institutes of higher education, in association with the engineering bodies. UNESCO agreed to assist FEIAP to champion its guidelines. 

For further information: Dr. Shahbaz Khan (s.khan(at)unesco.org)


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