'QUALITATIVE EDUCATION IS NOT A PROGENY OF HIGH FEE STRUCTURE'

INTERVIEW: DEAN FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT, ADMINISTRATIVE SCIENCES, KU

TARIQ AHMED SAEEDI (tariqsaeedi@hotmail.com)
July 07 - 13, 2008

Business or professional higher learning in Pakistan has grown into a hot pursuit by many students who have aspirations to become corporate leaders. But, unfortunately, the fee structures of higher learning institutions do not slightly reflect the consideration of average household incomes of major portion of the population, thus slicing snobbishly the group of aspirants into to duo halves. One consists of pupil who can afford to have quality education in international standard atmosphere while members of other side have no option than to miss the real fabric of quality business education in pseudonym business institutes.

For any reason whatsoever state has never been active to improve the education sector. Despite having achieved few commendable milestones in the higher learning sector, last government only in outgoing years realized actively state's responsibility of public education. At business higher learning front apparent lack of regulation on fee schedules of private-run institutions motivated commercial benefits seekers in numbers.

Pakistan's public sector universities presently that are offering sustenance to students hailed from low income segments of the society are very few in numbers. One of such state-funded universities is University of Karachi, which has been awarding degrees in business education for almost half century. KU was the pioneer of starting business education in Pakistan in mid-fifties. Even today congenial fee structures of its courses are giving equal learning opportunities to all strata.

For example, one can graduate with business subject specialization from KU by paying Rs. 10,000 to 18,000 per semester in a wide contrast to Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000 per semester prevalent fee charged by private-run institutions. "Qualitative education is not a progeny of high fee structure," said Dr. Abuzar Wajidi, Dean Faculty of Management and Administrative Sciences in an interview with PAGE, "it is a sheer deception". Dispelling the opinion that employability ratio of students, dropped out from high charged institutions, is relatively immense because of emblem on their degrees, he clarified, "this is not always the case". The products of exorbitant fees getters do not belong to middle or lower income groups instead mostly to well influential elite of the economy. Their backgrounds are also very important to get them on a good job following graduation, said he, saying, "So access to job is not a just criterion of judging quality of education in our corporate culture." Dedication, commitment, motivation, and loyalty of mentors are fundamentals to assess standard of any education centre.

At the time when Institute of Business Administration was under the direct authority of vice-chancellor of KU, it hadn't been given separate degree awarding status. Finally, however, for some reason IBA parted its way and embarked on its own higher learning in business education. It was somewhere in 1994 Sindh Assembly conferred independent degree awarding status to IBA.

Since long onwards KU could not gather building blocks to fully revive higher learning studies in business discipline, however, commerce and public administration remained intact in producing commerce and public administration graduates. Insofar as studies in business disciplines were concerned students traffic was somehow diverted to IBA. The revival of business education occurred exactly following the establishment of Karachi University of Business School even though this had not been a full fledged revival.

Dr. Wajidi said the purpose behind establishing KUBS was to reinvigorate education in business subjects from the ever-supreme plate form of KU. For about 13 years KU has been awarding business education degrees. Replying to a general impression about low reach of KUBS, he said, the school was conceptualized having westernized higher learning models in front, but it could not have elongated its horizon beyond commerce and statistics departments.

World for higher studies has evolved into a new era and "term like business administration has been obsolete". It is analogy to faculty of Arts, which is commonly in world renamed as faculty of Social Sciences. The fuss of renaming does ensure quality of education and has elastic impact on process of education, to a question he replied. "Consider, business administration restricts the chance of diversifying into numerous other administrative sciences studies, and makes induction of metropolitan, governance, office sciences an absurd match," he explained, maintaining, in the wake of stiff competitive market and dynamic higher learning, with many subject options onboard under descriptive title only can an educational institution elevate its quality standard par excellence.

He sounded probably disbelief over the disproportional correlation of qualitative education with numbers of disciplines. He says, "offers do not matter, what does actually is capacity of putting quality in each offer". The string that led to broadening of departmental scope in higher studies at erstwhile business school of KU was weft to bring departments of commerce, public administration under the academic jurisdiction of faculty of management and administrative sciences. The objective of restructuring and reforming has long term advantages for expansion. In future, the subjects taught would turn out to be exclusive departments. Already public administration, business administration, commerce departments are separately operating. "In near future we may have different departments for Human Resource, Hospitality, and Hotel Managements." The whole idea was a brain child of, among others, Dr. Pirzada Qasim, he said, remarking, "KU is blessed with a visionary VC".

Banking and Finance is surfacing as a most demanding major of management sciences. "In 2,500 candidatures top preference was given to banking and finance," he told, "Employability ratio of our pass-outs is 95%. Admission is granted strictly on merit basis. Behind scant numbers of seats particularly in MBA and BBA, he dubs unimpressive infrastructure, wide student teacher ratio-1/70 as opposed to standard 1/25-, and budget constraint as root causes. In 2 to 3 years funds availability to KU was improved. Within scarce resources we have to provide quality education. Seven week continuous professional development course against Rs. 11,000 is aimed at to enhance and update skills of professionals engaged in financial or management tasks. He said increase in government funding is indispensable to augment education standard of public sector universities. Faculty of management and administrative sciences will emerge as a model faculty, he concluded.