History

Overview

Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology is located in a rapidly changing and fiercely competitive global environment, Pakistan has to make bold strategic choices in order to achieve sustainable growth in the manufacturing sector. 

This calls for massive structural changes and a major paradigm shift in the sphere of production. The answer lies in achieving technology and knowledge-based industrialization with a view to creating a sound base for promoting an integrated and competitive industry culture in the private sector.

History

The Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences & Technology (PAF IAST) is our collaborative venture with select Austrian and Chinese Universities

In 2005, the then Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Atta-ur- Rahman, presented and got approved a Rs 250 billion Project to establish seven state of the arts Universities in collaboration with China, Italy, Austria, Sweden, France, and Germany. These Universities of Engineering, Science, Technology in Pakistan (UESTP) were to transform the Higher Education sector in Pakistan so as to enable the country to train its growing young population to become a part of the global technological revolution that was taking place. Despite signing of agreements and approval by the Government of Pakistan the Project was shelved in 2008.

However, a large body of young scholars had been sent abroad. Close to 300 PhD students were sent to Austria. Dr Atta Ur Rehman through his personal contacts enlisted the support of two very prominent academics in Austria. Prof. Michel Rode and Prof. Amin Tjoa. Both played a key role in developing the academic collaboration between the two countries. Prof. Michel Rode was eventually awarded the Sitara-i-Pakistan by the President of Pakistan for his outstanding contribution towards this cause.

Fortunately the dream was not lost. In 2007 the President of Austria conferred upon Prof. Atta-ur Rahman, the highest Civil award of Austria (“Grosse Goldene Ehrenzeischen am Bande”) . This happened to be a watershed moment for a ′fresh Start′ of his dream of establishing an Institution that had degree programs with practical skills embedded in its design. So that on graduation they could be easily absorbed by industry.

To this end, the  services of Prof. Michael Rode, Prof. Amin Tjoa and Prof. Haroon Ahmed (University of Cambridge) were instrumental in preparing the “design framework” for this new project located in Haripur. The format or design followed was the one used for Fachhochschule in Austria, and it was further upgraded by incorporating that of Technical Universities with postgraduate research programmes with the involvement of China and Austria. The ′Fachhochschulen′ are the universities of applied sciences and had been running for over twenty-five years in Austria and were as such producing ready industry graduates. After several visits to a number of Fachhochschulen in Austria, agreement was reached for the formal collaboration. Similar visits were made to China and finally eight foreign universities agreed to partner in this initiative, three from Austria and five from China, making it the first university in the world with both a BS and MS programmes for the Fachhochschule portion and PhD and postdoctoral programmes in 5 Centers of Excellence in the Technical Engineering university portion. A dynamic Technology Park was also planned to be integrated within the university. A PC-I was developed and presented to the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was approved for Rs 08.6 billion on Jan 11, 2018.

On Jan 13, 2018, the Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Parvez Khattak laid the foundation stone of PAF-IAST.

In October, 2020, the Prime Mister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan inaugurated the new campus and launched the first admission call in five disciplines.

international-collaboration

Aim

We aim to raise the standards of technical education in Pakistan at par with those of most advanced industrial economies, notwithstanding the problems confronting developing nations in trying to achieve standards in advanced countries: standards that are constantly on the rise at a pace much faster than the economic capacity of a developing country. At the same time, we are fully conscious of and alive to the need of linking employment with education by harnessing high-quality manpower produced by such projects to induce, not only an inward flow of technology investment into Pakistan but also enable the generation of local hi-tech industry. The technology park integrated into the scheme of Pak-Austria Fachhochschuleis a cardinal feature of this holistic concept.

Fulfillment of this novel concept, however, will remain an elusive dream without creating a critical mass of high-quality engineers and a hi-tech industry base. The whole spectrum of hi-tech industrial base in the country, therefore, needs to grow fast to develop an industrial infrastructure capable of supporting the progress of a diverse array of growing industrial companies.

Teaching Resources

The Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology boasts the latest teaching and practical laboratories equipped at par with partner universities. Effective plans are in hand to keep pace, through a process of monitoring by their accreditation bodies, with the highest standards of the curricula, teaching resources, and the learning outcomes adopted by the foreign partners. On completion of the initial establishment phase, the quality and output will be gauged, and programs accredited, using internationally-recognized criteria.

PAF-IAST Inauguration

Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan inaugurated the PAF-IAST on 17th September 2020, along with Governor and Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Prime Minister said on the occasion The Institute is one of the initiatives of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which envisages creating highly credible technical education infrastructure both at tertiary and hi-tech industry levels.

Imran Khan said that Pakistan has capabilities to advance into a development phase by changing the way of thinking. It is the need of time for stepping forward in the ­eld of science and technology for opening a new era of development in Pakistan.

The premier urged for choosing a path to transform Pakistanis into a great nation and Allah Almighty will de­nitely give success to those honestly pursuing a target.

He thanked China and Austria for assisting the authorities in Pakistan as the establishment of the institute was an important project of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government

Skilling Pakistan

Providing relevant skills for industrial and economic development; improving access, equity and employability; and assuring high standards in skills development.

Strengths & Features

Technology Park

The PAF IAST programs are closely integrated with a parallel program for the development of technology-driven enterprises. For the holistic achievement of the concept, it is necessary to dovetail the institute’s educational infrastructure with a corresponding and compatible growth in the high-technology industry in tandem. To meet this critical need, PAF IAST has a sound plan in place to build on its state-of-the-art campus an Innovation Technology Park. To boost innovation, every faculty member, trained in Austria and China, will be offered an average grant of USD 50,000 for developing new projects in the Innovation Park. A sum of 10 million USD has already been set aside for this purpose. The new projects, which will be implemented largely in collaboration with scientists of Austrian and Chinese partner universities, could potentially lead to joint patenting and industrial production.

International-Quality Training

The teaching faculty are being hired through a highly competitive process, involving active expert assessment by partner universities abroad. For the implementation of the Fachhochschule model of education, faculty members of the institute, with PhDs from premier foreign universities, will attend at the partner universities in Austria and China intensive training related to specific pedagogical and managerial skills.

Equivalence with Standards in the Developed World

To ensure quality, subject to the approval of accreditation bodies of Pakistan and the partner universities in Austria and China, double degrees will be awarded to students. The collaborator universities will be responsible to ensure that the teaching and research programs at PAF IAST, in all essentials, are equivalent to theirs. Equivalence will be achieved by following identical syllabi, laboratory experiments, and assessment mechanisms. For maintenance of requisite standards, the accreditation agency in the partner country shall be involved to assess at regular intervals the quality of instruction at PAF IAST. The equivalence of degrees will be the key determinant that the graduates of PAF IAST have acquired education of international standards comparable to that of the graduates from the collaborator universities in Austria or China. In other words, there shall be no quality gap between the Pakistani graduate engineers and the engineers who graduated from the partner universities. Eventually, equivalence will be demonstrated, recognized, and accepted by all stakeholders in the program in those degrees of the collaborator institutions will be awardable to all such graduates as can qualify the academic standards set forth by the relevant accreditation councils.

Faculty Development

Under the HRD program, during phases 1, 2, and 3, around 200 faculty members will be trained in Austria/China for periods of up to 6 months. Those holding M S/MPhil or equivalent degrees will be sent to technical universities in Austria and China on 4-year Ph.D. programs in relevant disciplines.

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