A Vision for the National Skills Strategy, 2008-12” seeks to achieve
The Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences & Technology (PAF-IAST) is our collaborative venture with select Austrian and Chinese Universities
The Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (PAF-IAST) is unique in its concept, approach and methodology. The project concept stems from the slogan “Skilling Pakistan” and envisages creating highly credible technical education infrastructure both at tertiary and hi-tech industry levels.With this twin-aim concept, the project is a quantum leap forward in the fast burgeoning knowledge-based economy, far beyond a mere educational program.
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 Fachhochschule is 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.
From this perspective, this unprecedented initiative in Pakistan supported by several universities based in Austria and China for awarding degrees to our students assumes enormous importance of its kind. The institute will comprise academic departments and research centers covering the areas of process engineering, design, and media technologies, applied computer sciences, medical technologies, energy, and environmental engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, transportation engineering, mineral resource engineering, extraction metallurgy, and agriculture and forestry.
The Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology boasts 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.