BUSINESS EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN
INTERVIEW: Cdr.(R) AZHAR NISAR, DIRECTOR SIR ADAMJEE INSTITUTE (BBA/MBA program)
Sep 10 - 16, 2007
Commander (R) Azhar Nisar, is an Engineer by profession. He served the Pakistan Navy for 25 years at various positions including chief engineer of PN ships and head of the training schools. He had the chance of receiving specialized professional training in USA and UK and inducting two ships in PN. He earned his MBA degree from Hamdard University. At Bahria Foundation he was key manager to establish Bahria Boat Building Yard at Korangi fish harbor for construction of fiberglass boats and managed for 3 years. He possesses a rich variety of experience in teaching TQM, HRM, Operations Management and leadership at Bahria and Hamdard University. He has the experience of acting as change agent for reengineering the organization. He has joined SAI (BBA/MBA program) with a mission and commitment to introduce Total Quality in all aspects of educating the young business graduates.
The business education program at Sir Adamjee Institute, FBArea, was commenced in the year 2004 in affiliation with University of Karachi. Since then 4-years BS (Bus. Admin.), MBA-2 years (M) and MBA-3 years (Eve.) has been introduced successfully. Its first batch of MBA will graduate at the end of this year. The emphasis at SAI is on character building, developing good leaders and a responsible member of our society integrated with extensive coaching in academics. Academic discipline is of utmost importance at SAI. Use of modern training tools and teaching techniques are a norm at SAI. Students are encouraged to make use of computer and internet facilities to enhance their capabilities and enrich their knowledge in relevant fields. Well-equipped computer laboratory and up to date library speak itself of the quality education at the campus.
This institute is a project of The Pakistan Memon Educational & Welfare Society. Academic management at SAI is being done by renowned COMMECS Educational Trust. To help promote the cause, the PME&WS grants numerous merit-cum-need basis scholarships and endowments. Here are the views of Mr. Azhar on promoting Education at large.
PAGE: Contribution of your organization towards promotion of education in Pakistan?
AZHAR: Realizing a dire need of business education in the time of rapid economic progress of Pakistan, Sir Adamjee Institute (SAI) has been established with a clear objective of providing quality education. In a locality where not many can afford high cost of higher education, we are providing generous scholarships on merit-cum-need basis to those who qualify our criteria of selection.
PAGE: Would you like to comment on cost of education in our country-how we can take education to the grass root level in the society?
AZHAR: To provide quality education at the grass root level the only solution seems to me is the private and public sector partnership. The government has the infrastructure which private sector needs. e.g you can see around many government schools and colleges having vast purpose built campuses but the purpose is lacking. On the other hand private sectors are devoid of such a structure demanding phenomenal costs. If government provides these building to private sector they can easily bring the cost down and spread the benefit of education to masses. In addition, the paucity of qualified and dedicated faculty makes it more expansive for private sector to provide quality education at low price.
PAGE: Usually speaking, our educational institutions right from the beginning are divided into English and Urdu medium for teaching- this bilingual system is a great source of segmentation and class approach in the society. How to address this issue and what are your recommendations?
AZHAR: I would say that greater emphasis be given on functional English rather literary. High school graduates must be made to communicate in both written and verbal form. Scenario developing out of WTO and free trade, the impact of English in international communication cannot be overemphasized. I would recommend additional efforts in developing communication skills before students join for higher education.
PAGE: For ensuring sustainable economic growth, the importance of education cannot be underestimated-is it the sole responsibility of the government to take education to every one or it's a collective social responsibility of both the government and society? In your opinion how to achieve that cherished goal.
AZHAR: As I have stated earlier that the government or private sector alone cannot provide quality education to masses. Both should join hands to take this responsibility. More over all education activities needs to be integrated with the industry and business sectors. This will entail greater degree of exposure towards industrial sectors through internships both at the high school and university level.
PAGE: How do you see the quality of education in Pakistan and simultaneously the quality of faculty-how to improve both sides of the picture?
AZHAR: Obviously most of our faculty is the ultimate product of the current educational system, which has not proved to be fruitful. There is a need for developing faculty through continuous training and development programs. We have to analyze that what quality is of the graduates who opt teaching as a profession? Did we ever place adequate importance to this sector and considered it a source of development rather than expenditure? Definitely not, as a result we have lost the cream joining the education profession. Through the process, gradually we have reached to current state of deterioration.
In my opinion, a two-pronged strategy is necessary. Whereas high school education be compulsory for all citizens with no or little cost, University education is the right of only promising candidates. Those who develop the ability for higher education be given chance for steering the nation. However, those who are promising must get higher education at no cost. Introduction of National Testing Service is considered a step toward selecting the right candidates for higher education. I believe over a period of time this foundation laying will take us in producing the desired quality of faculty, which will in turn propagate in producing results not only in education sector but in all walks of life.