SUKKUR: “It was not a child’s play to grow a two-room institute into a full-fledged degree awarding university,” says Sukkur IBA University Vice-Chancellor Prof Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui. In an interview with Truth Tracker at his office, he shed light on the history and working of the a prestigious institute of the country.
“Consolidated efforts by my best team just made it possible in 25 years.”
Achieving recognition is one milestone but afterwards, there has been no break for Mr Siddiqui and his team.
“Once you gain recognition at home and abroad, it becomes more challenging not only to maintain your achievements but also keeping pace with the rapidly changing technology,” he says.
“And to achieve this goal, we are now eyeing to compete in the fields of Info-tech and Biotech.” In the future, he plans to establish info-tech and biotech departments.
Prof Siddiqui is the founding father of the Sukkur IBA University, whose motto since day one is Merit, Quality and Excellence and vision is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). According to him, the future lies in STEM.
“Now we have taken a U-Turn,” he said with a big smile.
“Don’t take me wrong; it’s not like going back to where we started all this, but we are moving towards achieving the goal as the top university in Artificial Intelligence, Info-tech and Biotech.”
Narrating the story about the establishment of the institute back in 1994, Prof Siddiqui says, “I was the commissioner of Sukkur at that time and felt that there was not a single business school throughout Sindh excepting one in Karachi and other in Lahore.
“Being an education loving person, I decided to establish a business school and acquired two rooms in the Public School, Sukkur, which at that time was under my administrative control and started the Sukkur Institute of Business Administration.”
Then, he started looking for land to construct the building and acquired land on Airport Road.
Once this was done, Mr Siddiqui looked to friends for help.
“After my transfer to Karachi in the late 90s, then commissioner of Sukkur division Khalid Soomro and then federal education minister Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah helped me acquire funds for the construction of the building. We managed to construct the first block of the present building and shifted here back in 1998.”
Whenever he shares the story of the IBA Sukkur, Mr Siddiqui looks fresh. “It is not a child’s play to develop an institute into a degree awarding university. It has happened because of years of hard work and dedicated efforts to raise a small institute into a gigantic university.”
“Credit for this also goes Registrar Sukkur IBA University Engr Zahid Hussain Khand and of course my team,” he says.
The mission of Sukkur IBA University is to contribute and serve the community by imparting knowledge through innovative teaching and applied research at the global levels of excellence, he said. “We aim to establish and sustain a competitive meritorious environment by strengthening faculty and using state of the art technology to produce graduates with analytical & creative thinking, leadership skills and entrepreneurial spirit, who possess a global outlook and are conscious of ethical values,” he added.
The Sukkur IBA University is offering various undergraduate programs, including, Business Administration, Education, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering (Power, CS, Telecom, Electronics), Energy Engineering (Renewable), Mathematics, Physical Education & Sports Sciences. Besides we are also offering graduate programs, including MBA, MS, ME, MPhil and PhD.
As far as our faculty development program is concerned, there are 184 faculty members, of which. 76 are PhD, 64 MS/MPhil, 44 are Bachelors and Masters, while 91 of our scholars are abroad on the faculty development program.
“One of our signature programs are the National Talent Hunt Program with the collaboration of OGDCL, through which 75 students each from all four provinces are selected on merit and thus turning Sukkur IBA University into Mini-Pakistan. This is fully funded the program, aimed not only at bridging the gap between urban-rural education, but also preparing students for quality higher education,” he explains.
“Sukkur IBA University organize outreach sessions all across the country to identify meritorious students. Similarly, under the Sindh Talent Hunt Program, 300 students are selected throughout Sindh, who undergo six months of a zero-semester at Sukkur IBA University. After a zero-semester, the toppers are given scholarships and those failing to maintain prescribed GPA could continue their education on a self-finance basis,” he added.
According to him, one of our unique ideas is the establishment of Community Colleges, these community colleges besides providing basic education, are also equipping the students with technical and vocational training. This is a long-term initiative of Sukkur IBA University, through which more access is given to the community to acquire a quality education.
Presently there are 12 community colleges across Sindh, while the establishment of 26 more community colleges is on the cards. Giving an example of the fully funded scholarships he says that the Sukkur IBA University is the only institute in the country, where only 30 per cent students are studying on self-finance, while 70 per cent are studying on scholarship, which is provided through government support, corporate donors, individuals, philanthropists and merit-based-scholarship.
The vice-chancellor says their Executive Development Center is providing technical and managerial skills to individuals as well as public and corporate sector and so far EDC has trained around 6,000 employees of various public, private and corporate and NGOs. Besides, our Education Management Organization is managing support to the schools and hiring of additional teaching and support staff, besides establishment of cheating free examination centers. Centers of excellence include, Research and Innovation Centre, Executive Development Centre, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Incubation and Career Development Centre.
The registrar of the Sukkur IBA University, Engr Zahid Hussain Khand, who also owns the institute like his offspring, said the university’s SIBA Testing Services is providing testing services to various government, private and NGOS, helping them in recruiting right persons for the right jobs.
About the initiatives and facilities at the campus, he said: “We are the first university in Pakistan for having a solar system, which is producing 964 KWp of clean and renewable energy, and thus we are saving tons of CO2 emission in the environment, which is spread through conventional means of producing electricity.
“Not only this we are also supplying excess electricity, produced through our solar system to the power utility SEPCO through the net-metering system. Also, we are the first university in Pakistan to have been officially recognized as the Green Campus by WWF. Our Fab Lab is the first ever in Pakistan, which has been established with the collaboration of Fab Foundation, USA. Through Fab Lab, we can turn conceptual modelling to real-world objects.
“Establishment of Behavioral Lab and Blockchain Innovation Center are yet another milestones of our university. At our Trade Centre (Finance Lab) students are provided with an opportunity for mock trading. Mathematics Resource Centre and English Writing Centres are aimed at providing students with most modern learning methods.
“Sukkur IBA University’s BBA Agri-business program is seen as the marriage between Agriculture and Business fields. Our Chinese Language Center is preparing the workforce for CPEC. This is not all. We have also established first-ever Behavioral Lab and Mobile Science and Technology Lab, apart from many other initiatives. Establishment of the Media and Communication Department along with a full-fledged Television Station and FM Radio Station, Science and IT Park and Center of Excellence and Artificial Intelligence Center are also on the cards.
“Never compromising on its motto of Merit-Quality-Excellence, Sukkur IBA University sticks to its resolve in providing quality education to the youngsters, so that they could prove an asset for their families and nation, as well,” he concludes.