QUETTA: The executive director of Higher Education Commission has urged the universities to benefit from various HEC initiatives like Technology Development Fund, National Research Programme for Universities and University-Industry Technology Support Programme. He offered these opportunities in a meeting on ‘University- Industry Linkages’ at Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Quetta.
The meeting, chaired by HEC Executive Director Dr Arshad Ali was attended by all vice-chancellors of public sector universities in the province, the Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORICs) directors, Geological Survey of Pakistan director general, Mines and Mineral Department additional secretary and director, Balochistan Government Industries deputy director, representative of Provincial Higher Education Department, Gem and Jewellery Department manager as well as representatives of Chaman Chamber of Commerce, Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Lasbela Chamber of Commerce.
Underlining the significance of University-Industry Linkages, Dr Arshad Ali said that planned collaboration among both the sectors is need of the time. He stated that in Balochistan around 13 different minerals are being extracted and all of them are exported in raw form without domestic processing. He added that extracting a mineral and exporting it in raw form requires 80 per cent investment and the profit is only 20 per cent whereas transforming a raw mineral into a finished product requires 20 per cent investment and profit is 80 per cent.
“We should focus on processing the raw material domestically to achieve maximum gains out of it. Balochistan has precious stones and this industry needs to be flourished with the help of universities,” said the HEC executive director.
Industrialists and businessmen also shared their views on the occasion. They said Balochistan is famous for extractive metallurgy like blister, chromite, stones and coal, copper, etc. which is exported to other countries. They maintained that if the process is facilitated locally to convert the ore to finished product it will help the local investor to grab the major chunk of profit and will also contribute to GDP of the country.
The Chambers of Commerce were advised that processing raw material to final product may be started at medium scale rather than investing heavily in the beginning. The Chambers appreciated efforts of HEC to organise the meeting, and assured their complete support to the universities. The businessmen and industrialists stated that they can make arrangements to train and provide internship opportunities to the university students.
The representative of Lasbela Chamber of Commerce said that 75 per cent revenue of Balochistan is from Lasbela industries. He suggested that final year students may be sent to the industry for training.
In his concluding remarks, the HEC executive director urged the universities to benefit from various HEC initiatives like Technology Development Fund, National Research Programme for Universities and University-Industry Technology Support Programme. He assured them that HEC will fund projects if presented under any one of these programmes. He also emphasised that universities should send a maximum number of students to industry for the internship. The HEC executive director said that such meetings will be held on a regular basis.
Published in The Balochistan Point on May 29, 2017