This year marked the sixth iteration of the Huawei ICT Middle East Competition in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. The competition is a Huawei annual ICT initiative, designed to nurture global ICT talent. On 23rd December, winners were announced and Pakistan’s team one consisting of Sateesh Kumar, Iqra Fatima, and Bhagchand Meghwar along with their instructor Dr. Faheem Khuhawar Instructor won 1st prize of 20,000 USD. Not only so, the 2nd prize was also grabbed by Pakistan’s team two consisting of Hafiz Rizwan, Adnan Ali, and Mukhtar Memon along with their instructor. Team Jordan won the third prize of the competition.
This year, the final round of the competition witnessed participation of 11 teams from countries covering the entire Middle East Region. Over the month of October, Huawei’s Talent Ecosystem team carried out multiple roadshows at more than 134 universities, hitting a registration number of 10,150 candidates. The Preliminary Round of the competition was initially conducted, carried out through both online and onsite examinations that 3000 students STEM students nominated by HEC undertook. All Government issued SOP’s were followed for the onsite exams.
The National Finals consisted of the top 500 students, who all had all participated in the enablement trainings prior to the finals. Interviews were taken of the top 50 students to test their skills and expertise from which 8 top students were shortlisted for Regional training.
The next phase of the competition followed further interviews and lab tasks. 8 students were interviewed after regional training and the top 6 qualified for Regional Exam which was scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia. The top 6 students made it to the next round. Regional Finals were conducted from 21st – 23rd Dec in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Faheem stated, ““Pakistan team outclassed in every step of selection process and won the first and second prize in the grand final in Riyadh, excelling in all categories such as routing and switching, security, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, 5G and Wireless LAN.”
Fatima from Team One said, “Every team consists of three members and was given a task to demonstrate their skill in the lab. We were assigned to make protocols to make Wi-Fi connections more secure. We completed it with the best security solutions and won first prize with $20,000 cash reward thanks to the trainings given to us by Huawei.”
Meghwar, who was born in Tharparkar, Sindh, exclaimed, “I come from a village where there aren’t a lot of resources on hand, so it is like a dream for me to win such a prestigious competition.”
In a Twitter post, the Pakistani embassy in Riyadh congratulated both the winning teams. The trainers of both Pakistani teams received excellent tutor awards as well.
The competition has always been well received in Pakistan as it promotes innovation and creativity while serving as a link between the classroom and the professional workplace. By nurturing university students’ talent in Pakistan, it also contributes to increasing national ICT competitiveness while enhancing digital transformation efforts.