President Arif Alvi, while highlighting the huge potential of the youth bulge of the country, has called for setting a vision for higher education as the Muslims could not keep pace with adoption of technology and this needed to change on the war-footing.


He made these remarks in his video message to Vice Chancellors’ “Forum 2023 Universities in the Islamic World: Towards Disruptive Technology in a Globalized World,” held in Islamabad from March 19 to 20 which was jointly organized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Islamabad, COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Islamic World Educational, and Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), and British Council Pakistan.


Over 250 Vice Chancellors, including 40 from 20 OIC countries participated in the Forum, which was aimed at sharing experiences, pooling resources, fostering collaborations, strengthening networks between universities, and promoting dialogue on the future of higher education in the Islamic World.


In his opening remarks, the chief guest, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Rana Tanveer Hussain, called for skill development of the youth and said that the universities needed to respond more effectively to the emerging challenges.


Dr Salim M. Al Malik, Director General, ICESCO, enlightened the audience that the development of robotics would make 97 million jobs obsolete in the next 10 years, 375 million people would have to switch their jobs, causing immense disruption and increasing the digital divide.


Chairman HEC, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed urged the participants to contemplate how the Muslim Ummah could be steered into the right direction. He gave an overview for establishing the platform of VC Forum and how it would help higher education institutions in the Islamic world to collaborate and contribute to socio-economic development.


Air Cdre Muhammad Ismail, SI(M) (Retd), Consultant Quality Assurance, NUMS, Ex Consultant QAD, HEC, spoke on the topic of “Revised Quality Assurance Framework for Pakistan”. He was referred to by most speakers as he had significant contribution in HEC’s Policy making during his tenure as Consultant at HEC.


A Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) between the HEC and the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) was also signed during the opening ceremony. This MoU is expected to enhance the capabilities of entrepreneurs and knowledge-based start-ups by matching them with global investors and providing them with global networking.