The Federal Government of Pakistan has embarked on a momentous endeavor aimed at equipping 1 million IT graduates with the skills and knowledge of Artificial Intelligence (AI). And, its allied technologies by 2027. Recognizing the pervasive significance of AI across various sectors. The government has taken note of Pakistan’s relative lag in technical expertise. Prompting the need for a comprehensive effort to address this disparity.
According to an IA policy document, meticulous planning will be undertaken to develop a standardized model for training. Necessitating the recruitment of 10,000 new trainers who can impart impactful education in AI and allied technologies. An insightful survey conducted by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) in 2022 revealed that only 10 percent of the computing and IT workforce possesses the necessary skills in AI and its allied technologies.
To tackle this deficit. The policy document emphasizes the implementation of a nationwide program to raise public awareness regarding AI and related technologies. Moreover, to ensure widespread internet access. The Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence and Allied Technologies (CoEAI) has designed a program that aims to revamp curricula at all educational levels. Encompassing training for existing professionals as well as specialized initiatives tailored for marginalized women and individuals with disabilities.
The government has also committed to an ambitious awareness program. It is intending to provide applied AI training to employees ranging from Grade 12 to Grade 22. This program extends to all staff members, technocrats, and allies working across various federal and provincial departments and institutions.
The initiative seeks to skillfully develop the public sector workforce in AI and allied technologies, with the objective of training at least 70 percent of current IT employees and ensuring 100 percent of new recruits possess the necessary expertise. The government, in line with the policy document, will offer fiscal and non-fiscal support to facilitate over 1,000 AI-led research and development initiatives in academia and the private sector. This includes financial assistance, publication fee coverage, and travel grants to promote high-impact research and international recognition.
Furthermore, the government aims to facilitate the filing of more than 2,000 patents for AI-driven goods and services by 2026. To provide support to 1 million IT graduates and foster innovation. A National AI Fund will be established alongside the Centre of Excellence in AI (CoEAI) in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. They will also establish additional supplementary AI centers in Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Gilgit, and Quetta. These initiatives aim to bolster the presence and application of AI and allied technologies throughout Pakistan.