Published Date: Apr 22, 2014
Higher education key to resolving issues: Speaker
Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed has said
that there is a need for creating impact of knowledge in terms of
indigenous solutions to Pakistan’s problems and development issues.
He said this while delivering a special lecture on ‘The State of Higher Education in Pakistan’ at the SDPI here Monday.
Ahmed highlighted that higher education institutions are increasingly
getting clustered in bigger cities, while there is an equal need for
quality education in smaller cities of the country.
He said since
the formation of the HEC in 2002, the state of higher education in
Pakistan has improved significantly in terms of research output and
quality. It is now time to think of ways in which higher education can
have real impact for the welfare of the society at large. He stressed
the need for a value-based education system.
On the issue of fake
degrees, he said making the information about validity of degrees public
has damaged the reputation of the HEC. In the context of the 18th
amendment, he said that there should be a centrally set minimum standard
of education. However, a consultative process is being pursued with
provincial governments with regards to higher education policy.
Abid Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, highlighted that it is important
that real world problems and issues of development be covered in the
curriculum taught at universities. He added that in Bangladesh and
India, universities are proactive in linking research with policy, while
in Pakistan think-tanks are playing a more active role in the policy
domain compared to universities.
He suggested that the HEC could
issue a standard template for maintaining a district data profile, while
universities can follow the template in collecting data. This would
help in minimizing the oft-quoted discrepancy of data available for both
academic and policy research.
Dr. Muhammad Qaiser, VC, University of
Karachi, observed that there needs to be more funding for higher
education and the budgetary share of higher education needs to be scaled
up to at least 4 per cent. He added that there should be greater
balance between basic research and applied research to find solutions to
Dr. Asad Zaman, VC of the Pakistan Institute
of Development Economics (PIDE), observed that liberal arts and culture
are becoming neglected in higher education in Pakistan. This is
unfortunate, since we have a strong poetic heritage, which can be very
important in inspiring students to serve the nation and create impact of
the knowledge acquired.
Dr. Eatzaz Ahmed, VC, Quaid-i-Azam
University, highlighted the need for better quality of education at the
college and high-school level. He added that there is a need for
qualitative measures for gauging the impact of knowledge.
Yasinzai, Rector IIUI, observed that investments in higher education
over the last one decade have changed the landscape of the country.
Pakistan now has a share of 0.25 per cent in global academic literature.
He stressed that basic research should be pursued, while maintaining
adequate balance for applied research. It is also important to enhance
the quality of higher education so as to prevent brain drain from the