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The Dawn

Published Date: Apr 22, 2014

State of higher education has improved

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed in his first public speech as chairman Higher
Education Commission (HEC) said on Monday that the reputation of the
commission had been damaged after information about validity of degrees
of certain individuals was made public.

Dr Ahmed was delivering a
special lecture on ‘The state of higher education in Pakistan’ at
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

However he
declined to speak any further on the issue of fake degrees.Dr Ahmed said
the higher education institutions were clustering within the bigger
cities, while there was a dire need for quality education in smaller
cities too.

“It is now time to think of ways in which higher
education can have a real impact on the welfare of the society at
large,” said Dr Ahmed, stressing on the need for a value-based education

He said the state of higher education in Pakistan had
improved significantly in terms of research output and quality since the
formation of the HEC in 2002.

In the context of the 18th Amendment, he said there should be a centrally-set minimum standard of education.

a consultative process is being pursued with provincial governments
with regards to the higher education policy. Dr Abid Suleri, SDPI
executive director, noted that it is important that the real world
problems and issues of development should 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 more active in the policy domain as compared
to the universities.

He suggested that the HEC can issue a
standard template for maintaining a district data profile, while
universities can follow the template for collecting data.

Dr Asad
Zaman, vice chancellor (VC) of the Pakistan Institute of Development
Economics (PIDE), observed that liberal arts and culture are being
neglected in higher education curriculum.

“This is unfortunate,
since we have a strong poetic heritage which can be very important in
inspiring the students to serve the nation and create impact of their
acquired knowledge,” he said.