ISLAMABAD: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), loaded with the expectations of the two peoples, is entering its eighth year since its official inauguration.
Just in the year 2015, when CPEC officially started, Umer Idrees, a young man from Lahore, graduated from Punjab University. So far, he has devoted almost his entire career to CPEC.
Following the development path of CPEC, Umer Idrees’ work in CPEC has ranged from the infrastructure project of the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train System, to a project focused on improving livelihoods people called “Smart Classroom”, which will hopefully breathe new life into the Pakistani education system in the near future.
“The aim of the project is to modernize classrooms to improve the accessibility of students in one location to the best teachers in another location, overcoming the limitation of physical distances,” Umer proudly introduced the project. He now works as a site engineer.
According to Umer, smart classrooms use a variety of digital tools including smart displays, smart boards, digital textbooks and audio-visual tools to make classroom learning more efficient and engaging.
Over the past decade, the Pakistani government has focused on improving the higher education system and educational infrastructure.
Currently, a total of 100 smart classrooms are being built in 50 public universities in 49 cities, from Hunza in the far north to Karachi in the far south, covering all provinces and regions of Pakistan, which means that advanced education resources will be better utilized and distributed to young people across the country in the near future.
“This Smart Classroom project will revolutionize our education system that we have been following since the 20th century,” Umer assured.
As a site engineer, Umer’s day-to-day work goes far beyond engineering. More importantly, it works as a “bridge” of communication between the Chinese and Pakistani sides.
Involving no less than 100 classrooms in Pakistan, there is a lot of complicated communication work to be done during the whole project.
According to Chen Chun, project manager of China Railway Signal & Communication Shanghai Engineering Bureau Group Co., Ltd., Umer’s role in the project is key to the success as he is the one who communicates with universities as well as with the construction team to ensure that the entire project progresses in a balanced and orderly manner. “His contribution to the project is huge,” Chen Chun said.
Simultaneously, Umer’s life and career were nurtured by CPEC. According to him, his income has increased by more than 50% compared to his previous jobs before being involved in CPEC projects.
“A good source of income is always useful to us, because it brings prosperity to me and my family. It improves our way of life and our social status,” he said.
In addition, his engineering and communication skills have been greatly enhanced as the project falls within the high-tech information industry. “This job is like a training session for me to improve my abilities. Our work environment is very good and seniors always support us and give us confidence to make decisions. My abilities have improved a lot,” he said.
Last December, due to his excellent performance, Umer was awarded as one of the “Outstanding Pakistani CPEC Staff for the Year 2021” by the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan. Approximately in November, when these smart classrooms come into use, his hard work will be felt by more people.
Looking to the future, Umer is always ready to work for CPEC and grow together with CPEC. “I am an eyewitness that CPEC has created many jobs for Pakistanis. This helps them improve their income and lifestyle. From infrastructure to education system, CPEC has a great positive impact on the daily lives of our people,” Umer concluded during the interview.