Sikandar Bilal Khattak |
Every community strives to integrate and serve its membership. Unfortunately, Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) have been on the losing side. PEC is a democratic council which holds elections after every three years. This year PEC elections will be held on 12th August 2018. The elections although is for a number of seats but the coveted post is the Chairman, PEC. Four different panels are running to hold the reins of PEC. The four panels are
- TEP (The Engineer’s Pakistan) led by Engr. Javed Saleem Qureshi
- PEG (Professional Engineers Group) led by Engr. Wasim Wazir
- PEF and Engineers Alliance led by Engr. Qadir Ali Shah
- United Engineers led by Engr. Ashfaq Hussain
Although each panel portrays itself to be independent. But all of them are backed by political parties or interest groups. Each panel includes practitioners and academicians, but none of them have any female or minority.
The current PEC have scrutinized the licenses and accreditation processes, but still, purpose-built buildings are hardly available in public and private universities. The admission criteria are different across universities.
The common word in all these panel’s manifesto is a young engineer and youth. Engineers are the cream of the society. They and their parents invest heavily to secure admission and degree. But as soon as they are graduated, they realize the market is somehow saturated. There are no jobs and no free lunches. The employers either pick the best or the one who somehow manages a push. The average students or those who don’t have means to dress himself/herself professionally are somehow stranded to be mocked by society. The PEC over the years has failed to provide a platform for counseling, professional development, entrepreneurship, and research.
Since its inception, the PEC has been dealing primarily with Contractors licenses and universities accreditations. The current PEC have scrutinized the licenses and accreditation processes, but still, purpose-built buildings are hardly available in public and private universities. The admission criteria are different across universities. The level of education and teaching significantly varies from region to region. The facilities and tuition fees are as per university wishes.
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The PEC concern is that the student should have at least 60% marks in F.SC, no matter what he/she scores in aptitude test or during the course of his engineering. The PEC somehow advertise Outcome-Based Education (OBE) to address these issues but across the board implementation and curriculum modification has yet to initiate.
The lifeline of OBE is curriculum, the PEC enforces HEC curriculum and does not give any input regarding curriculum design and modification. OBE focuses on market needs. Each university needs to assess the market need and then modify the curriculum. This leads to disparity and variation among similar courses offered by different universities. PEC can easily assess the market needs and suggest improvements. The cycle could be simplified as most of the engineer’s employers and engineering organizations are somehow linked to PEC.
The new PEC setup needs to fulfill the engineer’s demands especially the service structure and job opportunities. If it fails to do so, then many will question the purpose of PEC and will look for some other alternative
Moreover, on-hand experience in a lab and practical experience in the field is of prime significance for engineers. Canadian universities offer one-year co-op training. European and all developed countries also link the students with industries and similar organizations. This year the PEC has initiated an internship program. Hopefully, it will not be an election slogan and it will be materialized soon. Additionally, a relative criterion regarding internship in accreditation does not compel the universities to arrange practical training. More stringent criteria will force the universities to do more from their own resources.
As discussed, the PEC primary clients are contractors and universities. However, the election slogans of most of the panels revolve around contractors licenses and civil engineering opportunities. The PEC should play a vital role in creating opportunities for another discipline as well.
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Although all the panels are canvassing for their members but some engineers are questioning the credibility and purpose of PEC. The newly elected PEC should reduce the eligibility experience from 20 to 10 years, so the young engineers can own the PEC as well. Moreover, The PEC should have a female and minority member from each province as well. In addition to this, just like the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the PEC also should have some endowment funds for scholarships and research.
Over the years, the PEC elections are getting more and more vibrant. These elections have given the engineers a sense of unity and pride. But unfortunately, the PEC evolution has been very slow. The new PEC setup needs to fulfill the engineer’s demands especially the service structure and job opportunities. If it fails to do so, then many will question the purpose of PEC and will look for some other alternative.
Sikandar Bilal Khattak is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.