ICCI and AIOU to work for promoting academia-industry linkages

ISLAMABAD (PR): Prof. Dr. Nazir Ahmad Sangi, Vice Chancellor, Allama Iqbal Open University visited ICCI and held a meeting with Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry to discuss different options for promoting strong academia-industry linkages, which are very important to accelerate the pace of industrialization and produce high value products.
He said universities cannot operate as isolated islands of knowledge because knowledge has no value unless it is shared and focused on current needs. Therefore, bridges need to be built to connect universities with clusters of industries to meet the emerging needs of society.
He said international conferences of academia should be made useful & productive with the collaboration of business community to develop linkages between business and academia at local and international level. He informed that AIOU is going to organize the 27th Conference of Association of Asian Open Universities on 1st – 3rd October 2013 at Islamabad on the theme “Leveraging the Power of Open and Distance Learning for Building a Divergent Asia: Today’s Solutions and tomorrow’s Vision” and ICCI should cooperate in this event.
AIOU Vice Chancellor said about 200-250 participants from around the world would participate in the conference and it would be a unique opportunity to highlight the soft image of Pakistan to the outside world. He also discussed different options to promote academia-industry linkages and said that ICCI should collaborate with AIOU to make the Conference more meaningful and productive.
Speaking at the occasion, Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that academicians of SAARC, ECO and ASEAN countries should be invited to the event, which will help in promoting regional connectivity in education field and exploring new avenues of promoting trade and exports with these countries.
He said universities are the hubs for innovation while innovation done in universities attracts huge demand from industry leading to increased and diversified economic activities. Therefore, there is a great need to develop strong linkages between industry and academia for workforce development and making innovative products based on new ideas. He said that China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia & Turkey have achieved good results for their economies by developing academia-industry partnerships and we have to work more hard to make some visible progress on this front.
He appreciated the AIOU’s “Educate a Child” Scheme which is aimed at raising resources and extending education facility to common citizens of rural areas with special focus on out of school females. He said AIOU should develop feasibility of this scheme for Chakwal region and share the same with him so that he would arrange support for educating the poor children of Chakwal through this scheme. 
Both organizations reaffirmed for promoting better academia-industry linkages and work closely to achieve mutually beneficial objectives.

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