Rs8 billion engineering varsity to be set up in Swat

Published January 18, 2021
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved a plan for establishment of Swat University of Engineering and Technology within three years at a cost of Rs8 billion.— File photo courtesy of Creative  Commons
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved a plan for establishment of Swat University of Engineering and Technology within three years at a cost of Rs8 billion.— File photo courtesy of Creative Commons

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved a plan for establishment of Swat University of Engineering and Technology within three years at a cost of Rs8 billion.

The varsity is being set up to produce market-oriented graduates. The state-run universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are financially dependent on the government and fee collected from students. However, the new university in Swat would be self-sustainable, according to official documents.

The documents reveal that triple helix model would be applied on the university by connecting government, industry and academic with each other.

Project director says it will be the first self-sustainable university of KP

“Swat University of Engineering and Technology is envisioned to be a self-sustainable university exercising entrepreneurial initiatives to overcome constraints, adapt to changing conditions and thrive in future,” Dr Najeebullah, the project manager of the university, told Dawn.

He said that the new university would offer degree programmes that were benchmarked against international standards and by implementing international practices for curricula design and teaching.

Dr Najeebullah, who has done PhD from University of Cambridge, UK in material sciences, said that from day one the university would explore all auxiliary enterprises for its self-sustainability. “We will focus on building technical, management and outreach capacity of SUET and strengthening its coordination with Higher Education Commission, industry and government stakeholders besides international partners,” he said.

The project manager said market-driven curricular programmes were planned for all the disciplines to be taught in the university. He added that curricula and extra-curricular programmes would be developed with the support of international partners and public and private sector stakeholders.

He said that the university would also develop teaching and research laboratories with the help of international partners to align the curriculum as per national and international needs.

Dr Najeebullah said that the university would help in promoting knowledge-based economy. He added that the research products and graduates would support shift of economy towards technology-oriented business to sustain strength of the established industries.

The project director said that a key organisational development feature of SUET was to build international relationships for translating its vision into action, especially with regard to quality engineering education and research.

“In this regard, SUET will enter into technical cooperation partnership with the University of Utah, USA, which will also facilitate building its connections with other reputable international engineering universities, research institutions and policy think tanks,” he said. He added that they would make efforts to introduce dual/joint degree programmes with such universities.

Dr Najeebullah said that to save SUET graduates from joblessness, their entrepreneurial skills would be developed to make them job providers instead of job seekers by establishing their own businesses. He added that the university would produce international level graduates in different disciplines and would help in public policy formulation and establishment of new enterprises.

The project director said that there would be three major sections of the university including academic wing, think tank and enterprises for sustainability plan of SUET. 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 formulation.

He said that the enterprise wing would be responsible for fund raising and exploring different business opportunities. The university would provide seed funding to entrepreneur for establishing their startups, he added.

Dr Najeebullah said that the university would establish Swat Engineering University Enterprise (SEUE) with the help of Utha University USA. He said that the best universities of the world earned in billions through such enterprises.

The SEUE will also be responsible for managing seed funding and linking international venture capitalists for real technology transfer to happen. Unfortunately, the province has no venture capitalist firm while the number of such firms is in hundreds in Cambridge University and Silicon Valley.

The venture capitalist firms invest in ideas through equity shares. The University of Utha will link SUET with venture capitalists in the US for commercialisation of new high tech products for the best utilisation of local natural resources.

Karman Bangash, the adviser to chief minister on higher education, said that initially six disciplines including electrical and civil engineering, institute of materials, mining and metallurgy, computer engineering, bio-medical engineering and institute of manufacturing would be introduced in the university.

“It will not be another engineering university rather focused has been made on international linkages and students exchange with the best universities of the world,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2021

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