The Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) has launched a new four-year BSc programme in Agro Industrial Engineering Technology with an aim to fulfill growing needs of technical experts in ginning, flour, rice, ghee and sugar mills and poultry processing units. In this regard, National Technology Council Chairman Major General (Rtd) Akbar Saeed Awan participated as the chief guest, whereas MNSUA Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Asif Ali was the guest of honour in the event.Reportedly, he visited labs and lauded efforts of the university to acquire modern equipment for practical training sessions of students as the private industries have been facing certain issues while hiring technical workers to operate modern machines and improve their efficiency and quality of eatables. Later, he inspected Agriculture Mechanisation Research Institute (AMRI), Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) and agricultural engineering labs in AMRI.Earlier, the VC appreciated Dr Alamgir Akhtar Khan and his entire team for introducing a new industry-oriented need-based programme which has been lauded by many renowned industrialists and educationists in Pakistan. He revealed that a survey was conducted to examine awareness about the necessity of agro-industry, and surprisingly industries in Southern Punjab were undergoing similar issues.“Industries could not find technical staff which possesses understanding of functionality of industrial processing units, raw material storage sites and marketing strategies,” he said, adding that none of the academic institutions in Pakistan was offering a programme which addresses such industrial issues. Meanwhile, Dr Alamgir Akhtar Khan told that a special curriculum has been formulated for the degree programme. Malik Jahan Zaib Dharala, a progressive mango grower, expressed his confidence on the programme that it would certainly meet industrial requirements for the agricultural sector in Pakistan.Nellum Seed Corporation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Syed Hassan Raza briefed that the agro-industry required advanced techniques to meet international standards. In this regard, he said that the programme could produce technologist for increasing exports, thus benefiting economy of the country.He appreciated new teaching methods which enhance intellectual capability of students as students would be spending their last year of programme in industry for hands-on practice and experience.Meanwhile, several industrialists examined various perspectives for improvement in the programme and reiterated their support wherever possible.Subsequently, Major General (Rtd) Akbar Saeed Awan addressed participants and said that the programme would certainly benefit economy of Pakistan.He also described the vision of National Technology Council (NTC) which aims for Pakistan’s development and prosperity by quality education and use of technology.NTC is a body delegated by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to regulate technology-related programmes in Pakistan. NTC aims to ensure that a steady stream of top-class technology graduates and professionals are equipped with proper knowledge and skills through maintaining standards of professional ethics, and ensuring that national and international benchmarks are met appropriately and providing opportunities for a steady professional development.He emphasised on the significance of hands-on job experience and supervised industrial training, and said that there has been a lack of such practices in engineering and technological domains, which has lead to low-level proficiency and expertise for confronting actual challenges on fields.Later, the VC distributed souvenirs amongst representatives of industries supporting the programme in terms of developing its curriculum.Published in Daily Times, September 20th 2018.