Academia-industry collaborations

There is a dire need to build and strengthen the academia-industry gap in Pakistan which is expanding with each passing year. The industry experts and professionals from the corporate sector and the faculty members from business schools and degree-awarding institutions can sit together to discuss the way forward in this regard. The concept of academia-industry linkages is to have educational institutes build productive linkages with the corporate sector. The faculty members need to know the mindset and skillsets required by the corporate sector. They can impart industry-centric learning in classrooms to develop a relevant outlook. Similarly, the corporate sector needs to know what curriculum and courses the students are studying. The industry leaders can share their input on how to restructure the curriculum to suit the industry’s demands.
The academia especially the faculty members, and the corporate sectors especially the top-level management from various domains. needs to collaborate to carve out a strategy. There should be a unison of thought, a concerted spirit, and an urgency to revolutionize how students are being educated in universities and business schools.
The academia-industry gap began expanding when faculty members and industry leaders pursued living a life in their silos. They interacted with their immediate, direct stakeholders within their organizations. The cross-organizational and cross-domain interaction has to continue and take momentum to create a ripple effect. Business schools do organize guest speaker sessions which is a first step towards building academia-industry linkage. These guest speaker sessions need to be more than just a talk. Industry leaders should have an audience comprising students from all fields of study. The information and experience these speakers share have to benefit every student irrespective of what degree program they are pursuing.
Furthermore, the concept of guest speaker sessions should not be limited to or exclusive to only universities, business schools, or degree awarding institutes. This concept should have a trickle effect in colleges and schools. The distance between academia and industry did not sprout in universities, its origins have remained in how education is imparted with a myopic viewpoint in schools and colleges. Imagine students of primary classes and those in their intermediate / O/A levels learning about the courses they are studying from corporate leaders through talks and one-on-one discussions. These conversations and discussions will enlighten the students’ thoughts and broaden the range of vision that these future architects should develop to become successful professionals. The course structures from at least the intermediate levels to the university levels must include Pakistani content. Students should learn about the Pakistani market, its dynamics, its business models, and best practices.
Indeed, Western authors present a viewpoint that helps students in Pakistan learn conceptual perspectives. However, their practical applications cannot be replicated in the Pakistani market. This is where Pakistan’s corporate leaders can share their insights, ideas, experiences, and research to help students and professionals alike learn about the local market. Every educational institute must incorporate a strategy in their course curriculum where learning from industry experts is made compulsory. This is the only way for both to grow and develop otherwise living in silos will only damage the student’s learning process.

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