It would not be wrong at all to proclaim that Pakistan is far behind in terms of research produced by the institutions of higher education. The culture of research has not fully blossomed for multifarious reasons. The researchers need to come forward and talk about their successes and failures while conducting research and guide the budding researchers to learn from their experiences. Unfortunately being dogmatic is considered to be the best option, which ultimately leads to alienation and the researchers end up doing the work and keeping it to themselves instead of guiding others to follow their footsteps.
The outcome of research in Pakistan belies the claims made by the successive governments over the period of decades. Nothing concrete has come up to lead Pakistan to the path of being one of the leading countries in Asia for research culture.
Lack of third party supervision coupled with a dearth of quality academic professionals is the reality which must be focused. Unfortunately, there is not much in our higher education institutions for enhancing our aspiring researchers and also to augment students’ understanding of research and dissertation writing. A lack of critical thinking aggravates the situation further.
Successive governments have endeavored to promote research-oriented higher education but to no avail. Research-oriented culture is sine qua non to improve the country’s economic conditions as well. There seems a chasm between the industry and the academia at present. The liaison between universities and the industry can help increase the country’s gross domestic product.
Research creates new knowledge so the higher education as well as the state-run research institutions are to be encouraged in this regard. Pakistan’s economy could turn into a knowledge economy incase research is carried out in the fields of tourism, energy, mining, automobile, agriculture, chemical industry, medicines, textile, etc. on modern lines.
Almost all leading world economies such as the USA, South Korea, Japan, Germany, the UK, China, others are knowledge driven. It is pertinent to question that how much new knowledge is created by the higher education of Pakistan and how much fund is allocated every year. Moreover, the quality of research and the global acceptability must be deemed necessary while talking about the research produced by the higher education institutions. Quality supervision is mandatory for quality research and it must be ensured that the supervisors are also answerable to someone.
The prevalent economic woes could be addressed with the help of the institutions of higher education. The research produced by the universities in various sectors could help boost the economy sooner rather than later. Universities do help the governments in terms of increasing agriculture output (USA, France, Brazil are the leading instances), ameliorating services, becoming leading financial hub of the world and revolutionizing aviation industry. Australia and New Zealand have increased milk production with the help of research.
Almost every university has been digitized and given access to the latest research journals, however, knowledge creation still remains a far cry in Pakistan.
Pakistan does face the challenge of dearth of quality faculty and the development of curriculum on modern lines.
Some private sector universities do charge millions of rupees, however, the students end up getting a so- called dream job, to say the least. Research does not seem to be the preference of the majority of the students as well since getting a job in a renowned organization is the ultimate goal which majority of students look forward to.
There are applied economic research centers in Pakistan. Pakistan’s economy is in the doldrums for almost two decades, to be precise. It is pertinent to question the contribution of the applied economic research centers of universities for the economic health of Pakistan.