Thursday, June 28, 2012

IT and Telecom boom next year in Pakistan or just a joke?

Telecom IT Pakistan Boom Laptop Budget Shahbaz Sharif Yousaf Raza Gillani Raja Pervez AshrafThere seems to be an IT and Telecom boom next year in Pakistan as revealed by our Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani when he  announced that federal government will spend Rs. 17 billion on the IT infrastructure and fiber optic connectivity in un-served and underserved areas of the country in the coming budget.
He was speaking at the 3rd convocation of Virtual University (VU) in Lahore. He further said that government has so far spent Rs. 22 billion on IT in Pakistan and to further hunt the talented youngsters from the backward areas of the country and making use of their skills he announced an IT award of Rs. 20 million.
Few more announcement on the occasion;
  • Broadband centers will be setup at the level of union council. 30,000 IT jobs will be created in these centers
  • Directions to Telecom and IT Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for expediting the 3G licensing process
  • Creation of 100,000 jobs in the year 2012-13
While talking about the importance of education Gilani said, “Education and particularly IT education is a matter of life and death for us”.
On March 15, Gilani, on his visit to Islamia University Bhawalpur agreed upon constructing an IT block at the cost of Rs. 20million.
Already, Chief Minister Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif has announced that PML(N) will distribute 350,000 more laptops in the province in the next budget in addition to the laptops that he is distributing currently.
Analysts believe that these tall claims are mere political stunts just to play with the sentiments of our younger people who are potential voters in the upcoming elections. It may be figured out easily from one of the statements of Gilani  at VU function while hitting hard Shahbaz Sharif’s laptop scheme that “distributing laptops will not guarantee education in the country”
To me, these are just statements because reality is really shocking and miserable. According to a latest report by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Pakistan has over 50 million illiterate people and the budget allocated by government to fight this menace is only Rs. 0.02 (two paisas) per person. UNESCO analyzed the period between 2005-06 to 2009-10 and found out that over the period government of Pakistan reduced the budget sharply for adult literacy by 98%. Scary…isn’t it??
What kind of boom can we expect?? How serious both the governments are for the promotion of IT education in Pakistan is not clear but at the time when Rajaz Pervez Ashraf came to deliver his speech at VU University function, students in the hall started saying “Hai Bijli”, “Hai Bijli” and Gilani kept smiling on this.

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