Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar, vice chancellor of NSU, Islamabad received a certificate of honour from a UN organisation for providing the best technical higher education.

The potential success of these change processes, according to Dr. Mukhtar, largely depends on the TVET leaders responsible for putting policy into practice. He added that the UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET Leadership Program aims to build the capacity of TVET leaders and professionals from around the world and support them to become successful and effective agents of change in their institutions and beyond.

In a short period of time following an inspection, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar, vice chancellor of the National Skills University (NSU), Islamabad—the nation’s first technical university—received a certificate of honour from a UN organisation for providing the best technical higher education. The VC was selected from among 150 candidates worldwide.

This year’s UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET Leadership Program, according to Dr. Mukhtar, focuses on rethinking TVET systems and programmes to foresee demand, adapt, and take action for a just and environmentally friendly transition. Transformation, advancement, or reforms in a particular industry or society are driven by or started by agents of change.

“Notably, the idea of greening TVET has had immense momentum due to climate change over the past decade,” he said, adding that 150 leaders including him got training and guidance to evaluate, assess TVET markets, and propose changes required in the respective countries.

Moreover, he added, these agents of change will support TVET via an integrated network. He claimed that strategies for creating powerful change agents, such as those used in various TVET settings around the world, were discussed.

This group of change agents will develop action plans in the coming days to encourage greening in institutions and job markets, including national programs, and prevent the negative effects of climate change. The NSU is a top institution for technical education based on skills, with a focus on excellence and the economic empowerment of young people.

The National Institute of Science and Technical Education (NISTE) was converted to the National University of Science and Technology (NSU) in 2018 under university charter.

The NSU is a premier institution for skill-based technical education with a focus on excellence and economic empowerment of the youth.

Its principal objective is to equip the workforce with industry-relevant skills and knowledge, thus enhancing their chances of employability in the national and international job markets. NISTE is a primer institute for in-service and pre-service training in technical education.

Dr. Mukhtar joined the NSU in October 2019, and his passionate services yielded significant results as the university expanded to another fully flagged, state-of-the-art campus in Muridke.

Currently, the seven departments of the university offer nine programs or technologies of different levels and 17 courses in various technical fields. 180 students are enrolled in certificate courses.

420 students have graduated from the university with qualifications in seven different fields as a result of the university administration’s dedication.

The university currently offers nine programs or technologies at various levels and 17 courses in a variety of technical fields through its seven departments. 180 students are also enrolled in certificate programs right now.

The NSU is spread out over 26 acres and has a covered area of 296157 square feet. The university offers its students practical education in seven cutting-edge workshops, and it also has a library for their use.

The NSU is funded by the Ministry of Finance under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) instead of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and has been allocated and released Rs 200 million in 2022, compared to Rs 212 million the previous year.

Since its establishment, the government has released Rs 624 million, and the university has 149 staffers. All policy-level decisions are taken through legally authorised bodies, including the Senate, Finance and Planning Committee, and Academic Council.

According to the information that is currently available, the university will have to deal with challenging tasks in the future, including the approval of statutes, regulations, and recurring grants, the issuance of revised minutes, and administrative approval.

All of these tasks will be successfully completed amicably, according to Dr. Mukhtar. The American Institute of Pakistan has designated the NSU as the most appropriate institution to launch soft skills training programs (AIPS).

This was decided upon by the entire visiting team, which included Nadeem Akbar, Director of AIPS, based in Pakistan, and Professor Dr. Mike Hirsch, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas, during their visit to the NSU.

The “NSU Student Once, NSU Student Forever” model was well liked by Prof. Hirsch. He claimed that following the COVID-19 pandemic, his university in Austin, Texas, USA, had started several new initiatives, with re-skilling and retraining models like NSU being the most well-liked.

In contrast to the US, where the elderly make up the majority of the population, Pakistan is fortunate to have a young population, he added. In order to deal with the challenges posed by emerging technology, lifelong learning initiatives are being strengthened in the US.

Prof. Hirsch also visited various university workshops and was appreciative of the institution’s efforts to make its facilities accessible to people with disabilities.

The AIPS and the NSU have agreed to develop a curriculum for soft skills, and mutual exchanges of scholars and scholarly activities will be promoted between the two institutions.

Recently, Chancellor of the NSU and President of Pakistan congratulated students of the Information Engineering Technology Department of the university for securing first position in the coding competition, SoftFest 2022.

He recalled that skilled workers consistently find better employment opportunities with respectable pay than do unskilled people. “I’m happy to report that some of Pakistan’s top businesses, including System Limited, Muller & Phipps, and Dell Pakistan Limited, provided valuable assistance in the form of IT equipment, curriculum planning, and delivery that greatly aided in this achievement. The chancellor continued, “I encourage the students to learn code and other skills required in the country.”

This success reflects a unique University Advisory Council initiative of the public-private partnership model. All Advisory Council members strive to promote skills education, freely giving their time and resources to the university and countrywide.

The NSU’s founding vice chancellor took charge in October 2019 and has revolutionized the outlook of a deserted area into a vibrant university providing skill-based education in various technological domains. The university also offers short-term skilling and reskilling programs in trades widely sought by employers in the country and abroad.

The Advisory Council of the university is chaired by Mazhar Valjee from the House of Habib and includes prominent members from top-notch industries in Pakistan.

Professor Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar is currently serving as Founding Vice Chancellor of the National Skills University in Islamabad, having previously served as Vice Chancellor and Professor at three universities in Pakistan.

Through his judicious academic leadership and innovative governance, he converted a regional university into one of the top ranked in the country.

Dr. Mukhtar completed a Graduate Certificate in Research Management at Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia in the United States before earning his PhD in biosciences from Drexel University of Philadelphia. He also holds a Master’s and a Master of Philosophy in Biochemistry from Pakistan.

On an outstanding scientist (O-1) visa, he worked in a number of academic and administrative positions in the United States. Professor Mukhtar is a voracious reader as well. A human blood-brain barrier in vitro model was created by Dr. Mukhtar’s lab in order to comprehend viral neuropathogenesis and discover treatments for neurological diseases.

Dr. Mukhtar is committed to technology in biomedical research and serves as managing editor of Frontiers in Bioscience and on the editorial board of several research journals.

He has several research publications, including peer-reviewed research, review articles, invited articles, book chapters, commissioned articles, and critiques. His book, “Hayat Zauq e Safar: Kay Siwa Kuch Aur Naheen,” is in progress.