Red Carpet Treatment

Red Carpet Treatment

The welcome committee at UCP

An invitation to speak to 300 IT undergraduates at Pakistan’s University of Central Punjab proved to be an offer Editor Ian Hunter could not refuse.

Landing at Lahore airport in July is an experience. Firstly you notice loads of people – thousands – all busy with the service minutiae that goes in to making things happen in Pakistan and, secondly, as you walk outside the terminal you notice the heat. Good grief! Even at five in the morning my shirt was soaked just getting the 100 yards to the hotel taxi.

My invitation to Lahore’s UCP Faculty of Information Technology had come from Professor Zaeem Yaqoob Khan, Director of Job Placement. I was to get a tour of both the IT and Engineering faculties which were spread over two campus’, deliver a talk on the state of the communications market in the UK and discuss the skill sets required by graduates entering the jobs market. Piece of cake – just another day at the office. Hmm…

The tour of the faculties, scheduled for the Monday was preceded the previous day by a guided visit to Lahore castle – where I was shown all the bits we Brits had destroyed during our time in charge, and the Mosque. Now only the third largest in the world, having once been the biggest, it was an experience.

As was the tour of UCP. The IT faculty is significantly ahead of the game compared to the Engineering campus which reminded me of my time Kingston Poly in the ‘70’s. IT seemed to have garnered a far higher share of resources and was turning out competent bright graduates eager to make their mark in business. You could not help but be aware of just how keen they were to do well – a bit like Kingston in the ‘50’s I am told.

 

Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, Pro-Rector of the University of Central Punjab – Comms Business Magazine gets read in all the right places.
In truth I was welcomed warmly and treated like royalty during my tour. Not only was there an official photographer at my elbow but also a camera crew from the national TV broadcaster – apparently this was to be a news item later that afternoon. Comms Business Magazine is clearly newsworthy. The day ended with a presentation from the Dean and the hotel receptionist went home that evening with a great bunch of flowers.

Bad place to need a beer but by paying cash up front you get one delivered to your room in a plain brown paper bag – no receipt of course.

Three days in and I was beginning to understand a little bit of how things worked and looking forward to doing the talk. Scheduled for 3.00pm I was keen to set up half an hour beforehand as you don’t want to screw up in front of a large audience. Alas it was not to be, for protocol demanded that at 2.30pm I had afternoon tea with the Pro-Rector of the University and other senior members of the faculty. I switched my laptop on at the lectern at

3.00pm precisely with crossed fingers. I needn’t have worried as the lecture on the market, complete with convergence and applications slide concluded successfully in front of more cameras, a souvenir keepsake digital UCP clock for my office and more flowers. The hotel receptionist thought I wanted to marry her.

My visit also co-incided with an agreement being signed between the university IT faculty and a UK company, Ghost Software. We reported on Ghost in our September issue. In a nutshell the deal means that Ghost will help UCP develop courses that will take account of new technologies in the market place and accept four placements from the University each year provided students meet up with the standards required. I don’t think they will have a problem there.

For our part, Comms Business Magazine is keen to maintain the relationship and it is likely that we will put in place an award scheme for students that complete innovative communications projects during their time at the University.

University of Central Punjab – www.ucp.edu.pk
Ghost Software – www.ghost-software.com
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