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On campus: Bridging gap between education & employment

Updated July 07, 2014

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A primary school should at least be housed in a five-marla building, while the middle and high schools should run at least in 10-marla and 15-marla buildings, respectively. — File photo
A primary school should at least be housed in a five-marla building, while the middle and high schools should run at least in 10-marla and 15-marla buildings, respectively. — File photo

A YOUNG Pakistani entrepreneur has earned a rare honour of being selected by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, for a week-long MITx Entrepreneurship Bootcamp on his innovative idea of bridging the gap between education and employment in Pakistan.

The MIT has selected as many as 50 innovators from around the globe for the quality of their ideas through a rigorous process of selection and has invited them to spend an intense week immersing in both the study and practice of innovation-driven entrepreneurship beginning from Aug 18.

At seminars with the MIT entrepreneurship faculty, the participants are expected to gain exposure to the cutting-edge entrepreneurship research and methodologies. The participants will also meet with MIT engineers and scientists to get a close-up view of innovations that will shape world’s future.

Young entrepreneur Imran Ali Rajput, who has earned his MS in Total Quality Management from the Punjab University, has been selected for his innovative idea “Inovadors” – a 21st century entrepreneurial venture providing out-of-box solutions in three most important fields in the present times – education, business and technology. He says the Inovadors envision a world in which every problem gets solved.

Explaining Inovadors, Mr Rajput says it offers Java Home Tuition Services, E-Learning platform, Solutions and Recruitment Services – free of cost – to bridge the gap between education and employment in Pakistan by equipping youth with skills and knowledge required to foster the educational standards and employability. He wants to target the students from underprivileged areas, colleges, universities and the unemployed youth.

Through his entrepreneurial venture, he plans investing in human skills and knowledge by offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to the college students and unemployed youth – for the first time in Pakistan. It will also offer counseling services to the students, who have enough resources but lack direction to excel.

Saying that he always preferred working on his dream – to be an innovator in the field of education than to be hired by someone else, Mr Rajput adds that he has developed Learning Management System (LMS) and offered career counseling services to 500 underprivileged students in remote areas across the country.

Being close to achieving offering MOOCs, he says in the decades to come everyone will have free access to education – in the form of MOOCs being offered by the top universities; healthcare facilities and business would be social, too. “I am very close to offer MOOCs to the people of my country with the help of industry leaders and academics who are willing to work for free,” he tells.

At Inovadors, he also says, he has started a campaign ‘Pakistan Now’ - knowing the importance of giving back to the community – for education, healthcare and green environment where we will be planting trees, donating blood, and providing students with the e-learning facility.

While Imran Ali Rajput celebrates his success that the world’s top university has recognised his Inovadors idea worthwhile from those coming from around the world and invited him to “Experience Entrepreneurship at MIT”, the next moment his spirits dampen as he has no money to undergo the “experience.”

Confirming admittance of Mr Rajput to the programme, the MIT soon afterwards tells that he has not been awarded any scholarship and suggests him to explore different funding options by reaching out to different community and aid organisations in Pakistan.

Since then, Mr Rajput is running from pillar to post to get the funds and even requested the MIT for a scholarship. The MIT has refused and instead asked the young entrepreneur to deposit the fee at the earliest or let it know that he is not coming. “We have a number of applicants on the waitlist, who are still waiting to hear if there will be available seats for them,” says an MIT official.

While every door is closing on him, Mr Rajput, a resident of Hafizabad, has made a last-ditch attempt by requesting Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to fund for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of participating in the MITx Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. Estimating the cost at around $10,700 including $6,000 MIT tuition fee, he says this opportunity will enable him to contribute his bit in helping youth to build a better future for themselves and the country.

It merits mentioning that on chief minister’s initiative some 40 top position-holder boy and girl students of different boards of intermediate and secondary education from across the country are currently on a one-month tour of prominent universities of Britain, Germany and Sweden.

THE executive district officer (education), Lahore, has issued show-cause notices to some private schools in Gowalmandi to shift their campuses to safe buildings during the summer vacation as the department cannot allow them to function in dangerous buildings.

The EDO office says the private schools that have yet not got registered with the education office will be fined. There are around 500 private schools that are yet to be registered.

According to the registration policy, a primary school should at least be housed in a five-marla building, while the middle and high schools should run at least in 10-marla and 15-marla buildings, respectively.

With regard to the implementation of Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Ordinance 2014 in terms of private schools offering education to 10 per cent underprivileged children, the EDO office is planning its implementation after Aug 14. — mansoormalik173@hotmail.com

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2014