KARACHI – Pakistan’s premier International Conference on Experiential Learning (ICEL) at the Institute of Business Management (IoBM) featured prominent corporate leaders, academicians, scholars, and government officials. It was held on November 16, 2019, at IoBM. During the ORIC-IoBM session, Prof. Dr. Kaiser Bengali, Pakistan’s leading economist accentuated the need for academia to write their documents in a language the policymakers and government officials can understand.
He viewed that academia must take the first step to reduce the gap with the industry. Dr. Bengali said that academia must collaborate with the industry for mutual growth. The participants of this discussion shared their views on the triple helix approach. Under this concept, academia, industry, government, civil society and the media will collaborate for research, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.
While sharing his outlook, Veqar ul Islam, CEO, and Director, Jaffer Business Systems, said that simplicity in today’s world translates to scalability. According to Mr. Veqar, business processes must be user-friendly to influence the masses. Addressing the audience, Dr. Amjad Waheed, CEO, NBP Fund Management called for the academia to conduct marketing of their research and the services they offer to the industries. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Muhammad Memon, Chairman BISE, Hyderabad shared that the academia must connect with the industry for the latter will provide them with resources and capital.
Sharing his views, Rafique Mustafa, representing the Planning and Development department, Sindh government, said that the industry, academia and the government must collaborate to find avenues for growth in their respective sectors. Engr. Irfan Ahmed, Chairman IEEE, Karachi and Dr. Zain-ul-Abidin, Director General, R & D, HEC were also the panelists during this discussion.
Addressing during the inaugural session, Majyd Aziz, President Employers Federation of Pakistan stressed upon the need to acquire relevant skills, knowledge, and experience to achieve professional excellence. He advised students to pursue internships not at the offices but in the field. They must work with the lower management to understand the industry and business.
During his address, Talib S. Karim, President IoBM said that the challenge to faculty and management is to bring technology to classrooms. He said that the post-millennial generation spends more time on their smartphones and has a shorter attention span.
He emphasized the need for the use of technology in education to initiate a flipped classroom teaching methodology. The ICEL 2019 was organized under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Amanat Ali Jalbani, Conference Chair, and Dean CBM. He highlighted that experiential learning is embedded in the curriculum of IoBM. He mentioned the capstone projects that enable students to identify solutions to the problems faced by industries. Speaking at the conference, Dr. Syed Irfan Hyder, Rector IoBM, presented five basic structures that support experiential learning initiatives. These are curriculum, campus, learning, grading, and teaching. Dr. Hyder mentioned that IoBM students have completed 500 capstone projects in collaboration with 200 companies to resolve the real issues faced by the industry.
Keynote speaker of ICEL, Dr. Alice Kolb, addressing via video link from Hawaii, said that experiential learning is an endless process of discovery by students and faculty. Dr. Kolb, President, and CEO, Experience Learning Systems, USA, stressed that learning is a holistic process. She viewed experiential learning as a philosophy rather than a tool. Addressing the audience, Beau Lefler, faculty at the University of Hong Kong, said that students keep their studies and live separate. He said that experiential learning help students blend their life with the learning process. This facilitates them to comprehend theoretical knowledge and apply it to real-life situations and issues to resolve.
This two-day conference will continue on November 17. During the ICEL 2019, experiential learning professionals and experts will share case studies, research, and practices through panel discussions, presentations, and workshops. They will cover various disciplines such as media management, business management, education, health management, and environment and energy.