EDUCATION AND THE ECONOMY

There is still a dearth and rising demand for economic managers and professionals in all areas of business life around the country

By TAJAMMUL HUSSAIN
June 20 - 26, 2005

Pakistan is presently one of the fastest growing global economies according to the latest figures released by the government. Of the intricate factors responsible for this historic growth is the growing public awareness and demand for higher education in vocational studies, especially business administration. Since we have a continuous flow of education seekers that is looking for new careers, the demand for public and private sector education has been on the rise for several decades.

This frenzy has necessitated the establishment of new departments in older centers of learning such as the Karachi University to serve the interests of this new generation of students exclusively. In addition, hundreds of private sector business schools have also sprung up all over the country to serve and exploit countless students seeking higher education.

These business schools are mostly concentrated in urban, industrial centers such as Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. However, the growing number of children in every nook and corner of the land has resulted in an uncontrolled explosion in the number of schools even in small towns and suburbs.

In this story, we will undertake a study of some of the biggest names in this now well established industry and how they are contributing to the country's present and future manpower requirements.

NUMBER OF BUSINESS SCHOOLS IN PAKISTAN

The mushrooming number of business schools in the country obviously implies that these institutions provide a varying degree of educational quality depending on factors such as the fee structures, location, faculty and alumni, and those managing the day to day affairs of the schools, to name a few.

Among the highest rated are the state-owned Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and SZABIST. These institutions have stood the test of time and are recognized in Pakistan and the rest of the world for their uncompromising services and educational standards established through their merit-based approach, value addition, intellectual rigor, and character building. They have established credibility over the years in providing executive training of high standard for serving executives.

IBA is the oldest business school outside North America, and was established in 1955, as a joint collaboration with the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania. Presently, IBA is the country's leading business school and the largest graduate business school in the Third World. It offers business oriented education as well as computer studies (in collaboration with IBM World Trade Corporation).

Its two Karachi campuses (at the Karachi University and the evening campus off M A Jinnah Road) are real centers of excellence spread over 80 acres, and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). IBA's two libraries also hold the single largest collection of books on business and economics and are regularly updated with latest information, books and magazines from across the business world.

The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) is a pre-eminent Lahore-based academic institution, with the aim to serve as a catalyst for economic growth and social development with a focus on resource management. LUMS, like its successful opposite numbers, is known to develop high quality professionals and scholars with vision, courage, dedication and commitment to excellence. It remains the number one choice for the elite of Punjab for all the right reasons.

Another name worth mentioning is the private sector institution SZABIST, which has been a benchmark for quality business and vocational education in Pakistan since its inception in the early 90s. Other significant players include the College of Business Management (CBM), BIZTEK, Iqra University and Hamdard University.

However, there are hundreds of institutions of varying sizes across the country whose only strength lies in the advertising campaigns they run. Since there are limited checks on the quality of deliverables in the country, many businessmen have exploited this vulnerable section of society to their heart's content.

COMMERCIALIZATION OF EDUCATION

Although most institutions are masters of deception when it comes to advertising and marketing their 'businesses', only the toughest make it to the line after having proved their capability and true dedication to quality education. Over the years, we have witnessed hundreds of new players enter the game with promises of greatness and glory, proudly displaying their affiliation with several international universities. This phenomenon has been partly successful owing to our national craving for all things 'foreign' or 'imported'.

While those that stood the test of time remained truly committed to their cause and have earned their rightful place in education, there have been countless that sprung up overnight and disappeared in the same way. In addition to this, there are the international names from lesser states in the Far East (the Phillipines and Thailand in particular) and parts of Eurasia (especially Cyprus) that exploit disillusioned students who get entangled in their vicious webs. The Mafia also exists within Pakistan and there have been infinite instances of this nature since education turned into a lucrative industry back in the 90s.

Some experts point to the population explosion of the 70s, 80s and 90s (going on unabated as we read) as the most predominant reason for this scenario. Others think that the unfair distribution and concentration of wealth is responsible for the situation. While we may agree with both schools of thought, the fact that the situation prevails, and will prevail for decades to come, is mind boggling; and the threat to developing professionals and new entrants to the workforce is acute.

Although the better institutions generally prevail and prosper in the presence of healthy competition, the competition is not always 'healthy'. Some players have been known to use unethical, cut-throat tactics to lure students and defeat competitors.

Some experts hinted that there are numerous institutions that keep shifting their campuses and changing names owing to legal issues. Complete changes in their managements are also a frequent practice. This is done to portray a new image every now and then, since the initial name, plan and administration may have failed to produce the desired results.

STANDARDS PREVALENT AT INSTITUTIONS

IBA, LUMS and SZABIST are reputed to develop high quality professionals and scholars gifted with vision, courage, and dedication. These students and professionals are committed to the pursuit of excellence. They improve academic and management practices in Pakistan through the generation, assimilation, and dissemination of knowledge.

Over the years, they have made significant and meaningful contributions towards social and economic uplift of Pakistan through human resource development, and serve as an intellectual resource base in the region. Hence, their contribution to the country's economy is unanimously considered indispensable.

On the other hand, smaller institutions serving the tidal wave of low-income groups are managed by unprofessional educationists who are out to make hay while the sun shines. The number of such institutions has never been anticipated or determined. Since most of the students attending these institutions have no prior exposure to quality education, they are easily enticed with promises of a bright future as is apparent from a glance at one of the millions of advertising campaigns around each metropolis.

However, it is tragic to see some of these aspiring and ambitious youth learning the ground realities by experience when they are on the verge of entering the workforce. These youth are made to believe that once they have completed their education, they will be highly sought after by major conglomerates and MNCs.

Resultantly, thousands of under par professional are born every year with little to show for their efforts. Nonetheless, as long as there are students running frantically and willing to go the extra mile for an apparently reliable education and sound career, there will be more top-quality and sub-standard institutions joining the bandwagon in the years to follow.

As an unwritten rule, contemporary schools must be able to provide a vast variety of courses since competition is fierce and the race is heating up to boiling point. As a result, most schools today provide business education along with Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Technology, E-Commerce, Finance, General Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, etc.

This leads to additional deterioration in the quality of faculty at institutions that cannot afford good educators at this level. Moreover, many educators and students here are under the impression that the quality of the curriculum is all that matters; the quality of the teacher is secondary in some cases and altogether irrelevant in others.

The government seems to be focused on raising the literacy rate in the country to please donor agencies and the New World Order with its eyes shut. At a conference some years ago, a representative of the federal government's education wing was quoted as saying that the present focus and aim of the government is to increase the number of graduates in the country regardless of the standard and quality of the professionals being churned out in the thousands. Such sentiments can only produce negative trends and encourage unconstructive practices that will jeopardize the economic future of the country as well as its moral fibers.

FACULTY STANDARDS

Probably the most important corner in the education triangle is the teacher who sets standards and makes a definitive impact on the life and psyche of the developing minds from the grass-root levels. Unfortunately, in a society that has little sense of direction and remains severely devoid of values, teachers (especially school and college teachers) are grossly underpaid, insecure and irresolute. Therefore, children brought up by these teachers lack confidence and sense of direction.

Although some colleges and institutions retain an excellent faculty without compromise, faculty in a majority of lesser institutions is usually inducted from among former students who are naturally short of confidence when dealing in matters of importance such as pay scales, insurance, over-time, and other employment benefits with their new employers- their former educators.

Unfortunately, according to a student of one such institution, the enthusiastic new teachers, lecturers and professors are deficient in industry know-how as they have no hands-on experience. Moreover, since they have just replaced their own educators, these educators know fully well how long their employers will need them and their services, and are therefore sometimes compelled to resort to unethical practices to make both ends meet.

Once more this works to the advantage of employers as under-paid fresh grads will do anything for a career, especially one that is as prestigious and lucrative as education in these days. Similar trends have created a vast pool of unemployed professionals and an even greater pool of insecure workers.

However, this exercise is in sharp contradiction with the prevalent practices at world-class schools including the top schools in Pakistan. For instance, IBA, SZABIST and LUMS faculty is highly educated from recognized international institutions. These schools recognize the value of quality education not only as a development tool for the country but also as a reputation enhancer for themselves. Their strength is derived and enhanced thanks to this intellectual approach, the quality of management, the quality and variety of courses offered, and affiliations at the international front.

This does not imply that they have no faculty members educated exclusively in some of the better schools in the country. Although the number of locally groomed educators is small, exceptional professionals are inducted to serve at these institutions in various capacities. Their own qualities are supplemented by fellow faculty members and training and orientation programs that are a regular feature at most noteworthy schools.

SZABIST, LUMS and IBA have a diverse faculty, a majority of which has been educated in leading universities of the US and UK. Hence, when an institution of such caliber claims to have a curriculum that is designed and executed as per international standards, the declaration is justifiable as there is sufficient emphasis on team projects, project-based learning, case studies, experimental learning, simulations and lectures.

However, similar claims by lesser institutions are questionable to say the least. Since the majority of their faculty is home-grown, and in some cases has been educated under diminutive educators to begin with, their execution and teaching methodology lack the punch that quality education packs. Furthermore, despite popular claims of international affiliation and recognition, their curriculum does not adhere to international standards.

REPUTATION AND RANKING

SZABIST was rated at Number 50 among the top business schools of Asia by Asiaweek while LUMS was placed at Number 23 at the beginning of the present decade. However, both institutions have taken quantum leaps and have managed to display exceptional results since then and are rapidly climbing the ranks. This is mainly due to the stringent rules and regulations enforced by the managements at these institutions and the quality of professionals they have created.

SZABIST has been ranked among the top MBA Schools of South Asia in the Asia Inc. Survey 2004 of Asia's Best MBA Schools for two consecutive years (2003, 2004). Another reputed international business magazine, BusinessWeek, has listed SZABIST among the best business schools of the world for the fourth consecutive year (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) along side other top international schools including Wharton, Kellogg, Harvard and MIT.

Other centers of educational excellence to feature prominently in such pages include IBA and LUMS. Hamdard University, the College of Business Management, Iqra University and others are doing a reasonable job striving for excellence and giving the leading schools a run for their money. Some experts are optimistic that some of these emerging universities will make their mark internationally in the foreseeable future.

NUMBER OF ECONOMIC MANAGERS CREATED EVERY YEAR

Although our uncountable institutions create innumerable professionals every year, only the best of the best make it through into organizations of high repute. Graduates holding exceptional academic records at leading universities are hand-picked by major business houses well before they complete their courses. This is one of the most striking incentives for students learning at good institutions.

Some of the worthwhile employers include ABN Amro Bank, Citibank, Fauji Foundation, Habib Bank Limited, ICI Pakistan Limited, Unilever Pakistan, Union Bank, NestleŽ Milkpak Pakistan, United Bank Limited, Novartis Pharma, Packages Limited, Pakistan State Oil, Pakistan Tobacco Company, Procter & Gamble Pakistan, Shell Pakistan and Standard Chartered Bank.

These organizations induct raw talent and academicians and polish and equip them to meet the challenges of the times. Some of the success stories emanating from these aspiring professionals are gratifying for the employers as well as the employees. These organizations have also achieved their business targets and are an encouraging example for newly established multinationals.

This illustrates that there is still a dearth and rising demand for economic managers and professionals in all areas of business life around the country. With the economy looking robust and investments coming from in-land and abroad, it is imperative that we establish more quality schools that will provide a home-bred generation of high-tech professionals. Pakistan must create more educated professionals at home if it is to face the challenges that lie ahead, especially following the enforcement of the WTO.

EMPLOYMENT RATE

As mentioned earlier, students of reputed business schools are identified and selected by multinational companies as well as major local business houses before they have even completed their courses. The students are further groomed during their internship period and quickly grasp the pros and cons of the business world with their hi-fi skills and superior knowledge base.

However, there are hundreds of thousands of under-cooked professionals also being created at the same time. These students enter the labor market determined to excel but lack the genuine business skills that multinationals and other good employers demand.

Their despair leads them to another set of wolves that feed on fresh flesh and build business empires with low quality products and services that will continue to remain in demand in a cost-conscious society. However, if we are to compete in the global economy with efficient forces such as India and China, we must work out a way to check unethical business practices without delay.

In the late 80s and early 90s, there were hundreds of thousands of unemployed doctors and engineers since those were the only two meaningful professions in the country. Since then, the country has gone through a positive shift from the traditional values and more and more people are giving business education more preference as compared to medical and engineering.

Consequently, there are now hundreds of IT professionals as well as business school graduates who are finding it increasingly difficult to develop a niche for themselves in the demanding state of affairs. The future of these agents of the aging workforce is a matter of serious consequence for the nation.

THE NEW WORKFORCE

Running into some of these aspiring professionals is always a delightful experience since their academic and professional stories are as diverse and versatile as they are. Determined to prove their professional prowess, these young guns are always prepared to go the extra mile in pursuit of recognition and experience, with that 'the boss is always right' mind-set.

Once again, this attitude has worked to the disadvantage of the working class since the concept of ethical business and working hours is now a thing of the past. The new labor force is also oblivious to the concept of over-time, which employers gladly paid not too long ago. This reflects poorly on our national productivity which is noted to be among the lowest in the region and another sensitive issue that must be addressed on war-footing.

There is no doubt that fresh blood must be pumped into an organization or a unit/team to ensure its sustainability over a period of time. However, the talent being employed must be capable of performing given tasks and be dexterous enough to juggle priorities instantly and flawlessly round the clock.

In the developed world, employees are often further nurtured and trained to excel in their respective areas and kept up-to-date by their employers. Unfortunately, few employers in Pakistan make the effort to do so unless they absolutely have to.

SUMMARY OF PUBLIC SECTOR BUDGETARY ALLOCATION FOR EDUCATION 2003-04 (RS. IN MILLION)

 

CURRENT

DEVELOPMENT

TOTAL

Ministry of Education

1408.537

3107.102

4515.639

Higher Education Commission

5305.647

4477.613

9783.260

Federal Government Education

     

Institution in Cantonments & Garrisons

788.267

59.258

847.525

Federally Administered Tribal Areas

1595.722

518.533

2114.255

Federally Administered Northern Areas

464.135

304.504

768.639

Federal Government Special Education Institutions

189.825

105.925

295.750

Cabinet Division 1

4.960

---

14.960

Establishment Division

49.728

---

49.728

Youth Affairs Division

---

145.412

145.412

IT & Telecom Division

---

576.818

576.818

Ministry of Scientific & Technological

     

Research

---

65.892

65.892

Ministry of Women Development (Nutrition

     

Support Program for Girls in primary Schools)

---

700.000

700.000

Other Federal Ministries/Divisions/Organizations

3886.313

---

3891.615

Government of Punjab

38387.289

6188.247

44575.536

Government of Sindh

17337.124

1677.867

19014.991

Government of NWFP

11361.138

2680.932

14042.070

Government of Balochistan

4289.207

1457.997

5747.204

Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir

2510.000

375.000

2885.000

G.TOTAL

87968.194

22066.100

110034.294

 


 

ENROLMENT IN PUBLIC SECTOR UNIVERSITIES (2001-2003)

UNIVERSITY

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

University of the Punjab,Lahore

10984

11112

11223

University of Engg. & Tech.,Lahore

4854

6517

6984

University of Engg. & Tech., Taxila

1368

1572

1592

University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

5566

5232

5342

University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi

2905

3222

3630

Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan

4310

4484

5602

Islamia University, Bahawalpur

3322

3563

3852

Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi

1015

1580

2010

University of Karachi, Karachi

12195

12368

12929

NED University of Engg & Tech., Karachi

3320

3303

3378

Sindh Agriculture. University, Tandojam

5331

4191

3986

University of Sindh, Jamshoro

7476

7476

7970

Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur

3282

3173

2111

Mehran University of Engg. & Tech. Jamshoro

3996

4000

3279

Quaid-i-Awam University of Sciences & Tech., Nawabshah

1760

1845

1619

University of Peshawar, Peshawar

17637

18166

18711

NWFP University of Engg. & Tech., Peshawar

1422

1395

1562

NWFP University of Agriculture, Peshawar

1283

1215

1786

Gomal University, D.I. Khan

4644

5135

5212

University of Balochistan, Quetta

6003

6022

4801

Balochistan University of Engg. & Tech., Khuzdar

411

395

336

Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

2591

2594

2775

Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad

357595

315025

448512

International Islamic University, Islamabad

6102

8413

10406

National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad

3473

5384

5930

Karakoram International University, Gilgit

-

-

224

Azad Jammu & Kashmir Univ,Muzaffarabad

1763

1805

1838

Source: Higher Education Commission, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad.

 


 

TOTAL NUMBER OF ENROLMENT BY PROVINCES 2000 - 01

 

URBAN

RURAL

TOTAL

 

BOYS

GIRLS

TOTAL

BOYS

GIRLS

TOTAL

BOYS

GIRLS

TOTAL

Punjab

1078441

1103164

2181605

4107467

2607164

6714631

5185908

3710328

8896236

Sindh

691165

614805

1305970

1253794

488461

1742255

1944959

1103266

3048225

NWFP

276876

1208274

1485150

549529

767568

1317097

826405

1975842

2802247

Balochistan

171268

104526

275794

298612

167107

465719

469880

271633

741513

ICT

43295

40898

84193

33035

29073

62108

76330

69971

146301

FANA

70935

8344

79279

39534

6204

45738

110469

14548

125017

FATA

-

-

-

289860

64220

354080

289860

64220

354080

AJK

282725

22833

305558

225235

21560

246795

507960

44393

552353

 


 

TOTAL NUMBER OF TEACHERS BY PROVINCES/FEDERAL AREAS (2000-2001) PUBLIC SECTOR ONLY

 

URBAN

RURAL

TOTAL

 

MALE

FEMALE

TOTAL

MALE

FEMALE

TOTAL

MALE

FEMALE

TOTAL

PUNJAB

29150

31460

60610

109837

76317

186154

138987

107777

246764

SINDH

33120

33009

66129

65838

10834

76672

98958

43843

208930

NWFP

6444

2666

9110

47391

15343

62734

53835

18009

71844

Balochistan

4552

3112

7664

13464

3121

16585

18016

6233

24249

ICT

905

2410

3315

1116

1071

2187

2021

3481

5502

FATA

-

-

-

11569

3374

14943

11569

3374

14943

FANA

469

315

784

2463

486

2949

2932

801

3733

AJK

945

724

1669

8975

7363

16338

9920

8087

18007

 


 

TOTAL NUMBER OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS BY PROVINCES 2000-01

 

MOSQUE

PRIMARY

+PRIMARY

MIDDLE

HIGH

HIGHSEC

Punjab

8,082

44,068

52,150

6,227

4,430

312

Sindh

-

39,049

39,049

2,084

1,460

138

NWFP

3,210

19,165

22,375

1,970

1,383

181

Balochistan

813

9,000

9,813

690

479

-

*ICT

18

232

250

50

82

32

**FATA

231

3,164

3,395

308

202

8

***FANA

-

1,142

1,142

152

119

-

****AJK

-

1,409

2,948

4,357

992

543

Pakistan

13,763

1,18,768

1,32,531

12,473

8,698

711

*Islamabad Capital Territory
**Federally Administered Tribal Areas
***Federally Administered Northern Areas
****Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Source: Pakistan School Education Statistics 2000-2001, Academy of Educational Planning and Management, Ministry of Education, Islamabad.

 


 

ENROLMENT IN PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS (2003-04)

 

MALE

FEMALE

TOTAL

Enrolment in all PhD programs
(Public + Private Sector)

3391

1290

4681

Enrolment in all Science, Engineering and Technology programs
(Public + Private Sector)

27488

4585

32073

Enrolment in all Medical programs
(Public + Private Sector)

11529

12636

24165

Enrolment in all MPhil programs
(Public + Private Sector)

4917

2450

7367

Enrolment in all Agriculture/Veterinary
Science programs (Public + Private Sector)

12325

3533

15858

TOTAL

59650

24494

84144

 


 

AUDITED EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION

FEDERAL

(IN MILLION OF 1999-00 RUPEES)

 

1997-98

1998-99

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

Primary

794

903

964

1006

2484

Secondary

987

947

1090

1118

1304

University & College Education

2550

2161

2453

2072

3091

Professional / Technical Education & Teachers Training

1027

986

1193

1090

527

Others

1346

1126

1182

1056

2025

TOTAL

6704

6123

6882

6342

10431

Source: Government of Pakistan, Finance Accounts 1997-2001 & Civil Accounts 2001-02, Auditor General of Pakistan.

 


 

STATE OF TERTIARY EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN (2003-04)

ENROLMENT

Public Sector

Private Sector

Total

ALL BA/BSc / BCS PROGRAMS

289169

36831

326000

ALL MA / MSC / MCS PROGRAMS

217397

21206

238603

ALL MPhil PROGRAMS

5908

1459

7367

ALL Ph.D PROGRAMS

4474

207

4681

ALL DIPLOMA / CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS

227646

2183

229829

TOTAL

744594

61886

806480