PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to establish an engineering and technology university in Swat with the initial estimated cost of Rs4 billion that would produce market-oriented graduates.
The planned Swat University of Engineering and Technology (SUET) would be run on triple helix model to connect government, industry and academic with each other.
“Unlike other universities in the province that solely depend on the government funds, the SUET will have its own sustainability plan,” said Hamid Naveed, chief planning officer of higher education department.
Mr Naveed has been appointed as focal person for establishment of SUET at fast track by chief minister. Administratively, he said, the new university would be different from the rest of the universities as a decentralised system would be implemented to address issues at low level.
The new university would be a joint venture of the private sector and academia, said Dr Najeebullah, who is involved in planning for the SUET.
SUET will be run on triple helix model to connect govt, industry and academia
Dr Najeebullah has done PhD from University of Cambridge, UK in material sciences. He is founding director of US-Pakistan Centre for Advance Studies.
He said that government, industry and academia would work jointly under the banner of SUET. Initially, he said, six disciplines would be established including energy engineering, civil engineering, institute of materials, mining and metallurgy, biomedical engineering, computer system engineering and institute of manufacturing in the university.
Dr Najeeb said that the institute of manufacturing was sort of a research centre where the students would conduct research on problems being faced by local industries and their solution.
He said that SUET would be linked with the best engineering universities of the developed countries like the US and UK for exchange of knowledge. “We will also make efforts to introduce dual/joint degree programmes with such universities,” he added.
Dr Najeeb said that linkage with the best universities of the world would constantly improve quality of SUET that could lead to the students exchange programmes as well.
To save SUET graduates from joblessness, he said, their entrepreneurial skills would be developed to make them job providers instead of job speakers by establishing their own businesses.
Asked about SUET’s own plan of financial sustainability, Dr Najeeb said that the academia and students would conduct consultancies for various government departments and corporate sectors.
For instance, he said, Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation was working on the many projects, so SUET would conduct consultancies for it and other government owned companies.
According to feasibility study of SUET, it would produce international level qualified graduates in different disciplines and would help in making public policy formulations and establishment of new enterprises.
It would also be a hub of skills development and executive courses and would conduct applied research to solve the indigenous issues.
Regarding the justification of establishment of SUET, the official documents reveal that each year almost 15,000 candidates apply for different disciplines of University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar. However, UET as per the approved number of seats by statutory bodies can only accommodate 1,790 students. This humongous number of applicants clearly demonstrates the need of engineering education in KP.
The documents say that for sustainability plan of SUET, there would be three major sections of the university including academic wing, think tank and enterprises.
The academic wing will look after all the academic activities of the university. The think tank will conduct case studies and based on empirical finding will help government and private sectors in public policy formulations.
The enterprise wing will be responsible for fund raising and exploring different business opportunities.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2020