Q1: How do you see technology is changing our lives?
Humankind has come a long way from living in caves, scared of darkness and not knowing what is happening around them. Technology was the only reason we could survive on this planet in the first place. We’re privileged to be living in a time where science and technology can assist us, make our lives easier and rethink the ways we go about our daily lives.
With the help of modern technology, the world is just two clicks away & this has changed our lives drastically, distances have converged, access to information is easy, our social behaviors have changed, even the average intellect is at a higher level. Now we have more & more options in every walk of life and these options are further improving.
The technology we’re already exposed and accustomed to has paved the way for us to innovate further that opens a whole new frontier with great opportunities. However this is where it tends to get scary, the nature of technology is that it makes old ways irrelevant, thereby it is imperative for us as being one of the largest population in the world, to understand that technology will make most of us irrelevant in future, if we will not adopt it with due respect.
Q2: How can we become a digital country?
Due to the recent event of COVID-19, the question is not only a wishful thinking anymore, but a serious concern. This is a critical moment in history, from here onward, some countries will prosper in a new global digital age however countries that are not ready will risk being left behind. In this context, we must have a digital roadmap outlining priorities to establish our digital future.
Technology will always be a force for growth, but technology is not automatically a force for inclusion. Without deliberate effort to include everyone, digital technologies can end up entrenching existing inequality. Therefore, the government, civil society and the private sector needs to come together to craft a shared national vision. Everyone has a role to play in this economic transformation to reform and craft a digital compact for inclusive development.
Being one the largest populations in the world, we need to put people at the center of our digital future. This requires equipping our people to benefit from opportunities. This implies the government not only ensures that the educational system is truly useful for workers and for business in the digital age but must also have the visibility of the effectiveness of digital transformation among the people. Additionally, the private sector needs to be involved in keeping the curriculum up to date.
Subjected digital roadmap must address the challenges to ensure building digital essential at one hand & on to the other, it must address the reforms required for processes in practice to replace them that are to be governed by technology in future.
Q3: How can we increase jobs?
Being the 5th largest population in the world, with most of our systems still having vast appetite to adopt technology, especially the public sector, there is a dire need of reforms that not only improves many of our decaying processes & methodologies. Employing technology as a mandatory component of these reforms shall help to offer better customer experience, improve efficiency & expansion of jobs via technology, that may further be exported in tenable or intangible forms for additional revenues.
Q4: What is the importance of Data for businesses?
Q4: How data can make an impact on the growth for businesses?
Q4: How to use data & information for growth & better performance?
All the questions above are interrelated at one level or another. I suppose this goes without saying that data is the most important resource a business can possess. With data, one can drive change with positive outcomes and support business growth. Data analytics certainly provides key insights that help to make the best choices to serve business and customers.
As we are in the transition phase into a new digital age, for most businesses, analytics will be the difference between success and failure. Without the ability to measure user behavior and other activities, it won’t be possible to achieve business objectives & maintain the competitive edge. Data analytics will help business at multiple dimensions, including but not limited to setting realistic goals, support decision-making, help in finding ideal demographics, segment audiences, create mass personalization, increase revenue / lower costs. Businesses with adequate data & right analytics shall be able to render improved service levels & shall maximize customer value, eventually determining business performance & growth.
Q5: How do you see the Industry Academia gap?
Well, the outcome of Academia certainly is the input for Industry, however I’m afraid that in my opinion, both components are not in sync. Over the last decade, the pace of technology has steadily increased, we have witnessed the transformations from enterprise developments to consumer market establishments, where more specialization demands emerged at a high pace.
I see that there is a disconnect between Industry & Academia, As a result, Academia focus to develop the future workforce at a generalized level, so that they can be accommodated easily, whereas the industry requirement tends to be more specialized. Thereby, I believe a close collaboration of industry & academia is essential to not only gauge the capacities, so that academia may produce the workforce in line with consumptions, but also develop diverse curriculum that employs the best potential of the students.
A good doctor may not necessarily be an equally good engineer. Different people have different traits, thereby specialized curriculum from the ground up, will help to cultivate the future workforce that can offload industry effort to transform the fresh graduates to be productive and industry can produce output at competitive prices in the global market.
Q6: Are you satisfied with the current educational system? What changes do you suggest?
I’m afraid to say that a great effort is required to streamline our current educational system. There are multilateral challenges & each of them needs to be addressed independently. Unfortunately, there is a lack of uniformity. Different systems of education are concurrently working in the country. The curriculum is also not uniformed which has given birth to different schools of thoughts. As a result of this polarized system of education there has occurred a great social partition in the society on political, social and economic grounds.
Further, every nation develops its generation based on vigorous training and education on social, political, economic and ideological grounds. Pakistani education system being directionless and has not been able to develop and guide its people on sound political and social grounds. There is a lack of cohesion in the system and it is more disposed towards general education which does not bring any skilled manpower to the market. Resulting there is increasing unemployment.
Curriculum is the instrument through which the objectives of education are achieved. The curriculum of education in Pakistan does not meet the demands of the current times. It is an old and traditional curriculum which forces the learners to memorize certain facts and figures without taking into consideration the reality that education is the holistic development of an individual. Hence this curriculum is not encouraging the interest of the learner for practical work, research, scientific knowledge and reflective observation, rather, it emphasizes on memory and theory.
Moreover, there is a lack of training opportunities for teachers in Pakistan. Although there are various teacher training institutes in the country. These institutes are either not well resourced or being poor run due to lack of funds, trained human resources and administrators. Moreover, in the overall policy formulation teachers have been ignored. They are regarded as an unimportant element which has led to alienation between the teachers and the system of education.
These are some of the vitals that in my opinion demand due attention and political will to implement the policies vigorously.
Q7: What is the future of E-Commerce you see in Pakistan?
E-commerce outlook in Pakistan was progressively on a rise before COVID-19 including food, property and car selling services through internet, however as they say, ‘Necessity is the mother of all inventions’, COVID-19 has made us see eCommerce as a regular part of our lives. This has enhanced the acceptability of eCommerce among consumers and there is a drive for businesses to offer the good & services online. As a result, online businesses volume surged many folds and businesses now are inclined to invest and establish online offerings of goods & services. In this context, indeed COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst for the future of eCommerce in Pakistan. Moreover, with a population of 213+ million, with 60+% youth, the eCommerce future has huge potential in creating millions of jobs & enhancing service levels.
Although there are various challenges down the road, such as consumer right protection, taxation structure, ICT infrastructure & telecom services, logistics, data protection, financial inclusion & payment digitization and regulation & facilitation etc., nonetheless, eCommerce is for sure going to be a major part of our future.
Q8: How do you see Freelancing in Pakistan why it is restricted to IT only?
Pakistani freelancers have already climbed at 4th position with 47% YoY growth and going forward, I see this trend to increase. With a massive population, where 60+% is youth, freelancing in the IT sector has established well, with 77% of the revenues earned by Pakistani freelancers under the age of 34 last year.
Here, COVID-19 has played another important role, that in my opinion, will accelerate the trend of freelancing in Pakistan. As it stands, a good amount of people are now adjusted to work from home and can manage its challenges, consequently due to the global market size, working as a full time freelancer is further growing rapidly.
Why is it restricted to IT only? Well, this boils down to demand and supply. Freelancing leverages the services industry and unlike the IT sector, the room for remote working is not pragmatic for many other fields.