Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Syed Aminul Haq, announced a groundbreaking agreement with Google during the Startups for Industries and IT Exports conference held at the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI). The agreement entails 45,000 scholarships to be provided by Google, with the aim of increasing the number to 450,000 in the following year. Notably, at least 40 percent of these scholarships will be reserved for women. This initiative marks a significant step forward in promoting IT education and fostering the growth of Pakistan’s digital industry.
Expanding Educational Opportunities
The collaboration between Pakistan and Google sets out to address the pressing need for skilled IT professionals in the country. The allocation of 45,000 scholarships signifies a remarkable increase from the previous year’s 15,000 scholarships. By targeting women, the government aims to bridge the gender gap in the tech industry, empowering more female individuals to pursue careers in IT. This initiative recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation and technological advancements.
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Empowering the IT Industry
Minister Aminul Haq emphasised the government’s commitment to the growth of the IT sector by announcing the construction of a dedicated building at NED University, with an investment of $1.6 million. The facility will serve as a hub for gaming and animation, nurturing local talent and further propelling the industry forward. These efforts align with the government’s vision of promoting startups, gaming, and animation within the country, leading to increased employment opportunities and economic growth.
Supporting Startups and Innovation
The conference brought together industry experts, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to discuss the importance of startups and innovation in the IT sector. Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan highlighted the crucial role that research and development play in driving industry growth. He also emphasised that startups today no longer require massive investments, thanks to the conducive environment and government support. With the increase in the number of incubation centres from five to eight in just three years, Pakistan is nurturing a vibrant ecosystem for startups to thrive.
Boosting IT Exports
Deputy Patron of KATI, Zubair Chhaya, lauded the efforts of Minister Aminul Haq, acknowledging the significant growth in Pakistan’s IT exports. From a modest $1 billion in exports, the sector has witnessed a remarkable surge to $2.6 billion at the end of the last financial year. This growth places Pakistan on a promising trajectory, showcasing its potential to compete with neighbouring countries. To further bolster the IT industry, Nighat Awan, the Senior Vice President of KATI, called for the abolishment of duties on machinery and IT-related products, fostering an environment conducive to expansion and innovation.
Fostering Collaboration between Education and Industry
Maheen Salman, Chairperson of the Standing Committee, highlighted the importance of aligning educational curricula with industry needs. Efforts are underway to develop specialised training programs that equip graduates with practical skills, ensuring they are job-ready in today’s competitive market. These initiatives aim to bridge the gap between academia and industry, enabling a seamless transition for graduates and meeting the demands of the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Pakistan’s collaboration with Google to provide 45,000 scholarships represents a significant milestone in promoting IT education and empowering aspiring professionals, particularly women, in the field. The government’s commitment to nurturing startups, supporting innovation, and bridging the gap between education and industry is essential for driving Pakistan’s IT sector forward. These initiatives lay the foundation for a robust and vibrant digital ecosystem, positioning Pakistan as a competitive player in the global IT landscape. With continued investments and strategic partnerships, Pakistan is poised to unlock its full potential and emerge as a leader in the digital age.