THE Pakistan Engineering Council’s (PEC) governing body elections are to be held on Aug 1. Like always, professors and engineers are actively campaigning for their groups. They have increased communication with young engineers for seeking their votes.

Unfortunately, once the elections are over, they would switch off their cell phones and would not even bother to listen to the concerns of the junior engineers.

According to Section 8 of the PEC Act, 1976, the council is responsible for a number of functions, which include awarding accreditation to institutions, registering engineers, providing assistance to the federal government through think tanks, promoting the engineering profession, encouraging creativity and innovation, ensuring the professional development of engineers through academics, and establishing standard engineering contracts. The PEC officials have violated all these sub-sections.

Besides, Section 14 (1) authorises the council to accredit engineering institutions approved by the governing body in consultation with the Higher Education Commission (HEC). But the real picture is different. The PEC has accredited a number of institutions which lack proper infrastructure, including laboratories, staff, trained faculty members, number of PhDs, etc. PEC’s accreditation teams visit academic institutions just as a formality. That is why we are not producing technical minds, and engineering universities have been churning out engineers without much in the name of innovation, as is evident by the fact that despite having such a large number of engineers, Pakistan ranks 107th in the Global Innovation Index.

The PEC issues supervisory certificates to young engineers and the ‘business’ of those certificates is not a secret. During the first wave of the Covid pandemic, thousands of engineers were fired without any prior notice, and the PEC remained silent. All those who are running for PEC elections should remain as active as they are these days for the betterment of the profession and the welfare of the engineers.

Abdul Qayoom Ansari
Lahore

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2021

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