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Government Aims to Revolutionize AI with 1 Million Trained IT Graduates

NEWS DESK

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government of Pakistan has embarked on an ambitious plan to train one million IT graduates in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and allied technologies by 2027. Recognizing the significance of AI in various domains, the government aims to bridge the technological gap between Pakistan and the rest of the world by producing a larger number of skilled technical professionals in AI.

As per the IA policy document, a well-defined and standardized model will be developed, requiring the recruitment of 10,000 new trainers to deliver impactful education in AI and allied technologies. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) in 2022 revealed that only 10% of the computing and IT workforce in Pakistan possesses AI and allied technologies skills.

To address this gap, the policy emphasizes the need for a comprehensive national program that raises public awareness about AI and related technologies, targeting the 90% of the population with internet access. This program will be designed and implemented by the Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence and Allied Technologies (CoEAI), which will revamp the curriculum at all educational levels, provide training to the existing workforce, and offer specialized programs for marginalized women and individuals with disabilities.

In line with the IA policy, the federal government will launch an awareness program on applied AI for employees ranging from Grade 12 to Grade 22. This program will encompass all allied staff, technocrats, and employees from different departments and institutions at both federal and provincial levels.

This initiative presents an excellent opportunity for skill development among public sector employees in AI and allied technologies. The objective is to train at least 70% of the current IT and AI sector workforce, as well as 100% of new recruits. Additionally, the government aims to support a minimum of 1,000 AI-led research and development projects in academia and the private sector through fiscal and non-fiscal assistance.

To promote international recognition, the government will facilitate publishing in high-impact journals and conferences. Research students engaged in applied research in AI and related technologies will be eligible to apply for financial support, publication fees, and travel grants based on competitive criteria.

Furthermore, the government plans to file over 2,000 patents for AI-driven goods and services in Pakistan by 2026. To support hi-tech initiatives in AI and allied technologies across the country, the government will establish the National AI Fund, operating as a spin-off of the Ignite Technology Fund.

To enhance the presence of AI and allied technologies, the government will establish a Centre of Excellence in AI (CoEAI) in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad, along with auxiliary AI centers in Peshawar, Quetta, Multan, Gilgit, and Faisalabad. These centers will play a pivotal role in promoting and advancing AI in Pakistan.

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