Islamabad: Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, Former Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC), stressed Wednesday the significance of knowledge economy, explaining how knowledge and innovation are key factors for socio-economic uplift of any country.
He was delivering a special lecture entitled “Building Knowledge Economy” organized by HEC in collaboration with the Institute of Policy Reforms (IPR) at Commission Secretariat in Islamabad. The lecture was attended by vice chancellors, academics, researchers and a large number of students. On the occasion, over 60 universities of the country were connected through video-conferencing.
Mr. Humayun Akhtar Khan, Chairman IPR presided over the session. Dr. Hafeez A. Pasha, Managing Director IPR, Dr. Akram Sheikh, former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission and Dr. Mahmood-ul-Hassan Butt, Consultant HEC were also present on the occasion.
Dr. Atta said the world has changed and it is not material resource but knowledge that puts countries on the track of development. He emphasized that the countries which have realized importance of knowledge and innovation and properly invested in developing their human resource have leaped forward, leaving others far behind.
Giving an example, Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman said that Singapore has a population about one-fourth of that of Karachi but only one company from that country has exports double those of the whole of Pakistan. He said Malaysia has been spending at least 25 per cent of its budget on education for the last 30 years and today it accounts for 86.5 per cent of the total high tech exports of the Islamic world and is ranked ninth in the world in this category.
He said that three important pillars for building a knowledge economy include the government policies, university research and the private sector. He praised the current Government for giving special attention to the higher education sector and increasing budgetary allocation for this sector. He also appreciated the efforts of Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, for adopting a holistic approach for development of higher education and research across the country.
Dr. Atta suggested that the Government should develop and implement a Legally Binding Technology Transfer Policy which should be an essential component for all national projects approved by the Planning Division”, adding that the Government should create a Revolving Innovation Fund to support indigenous technology development in public and private sector. He further said that the Government should urgently re-structure National S&T Organizations.
He said that the Government should encourage private sector R&D and business development through incentives including Venture Capital funding/matching grants for training / new product development, besides improving quality of technical training institutes, by making international Accreditation mandatory to guarantee quality of output.
Earlier, Dr. Mahmood-ul-Hassan Butt, Consultant HEC, welcomed Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman for sparing his time to speak to academics, researchers and students. He appreciated the Founding Chairman HEC for vehemently advocating the concept of knowledge economy, which he said was inevitable if we have to compete in the comity of nations.