Jan 19 - 25, 2009

Education is a factor of significant importance in economic development. In less developed countries including our, the expenditure on education is quite small as compared to the other sector of economy. In the present educational scenario the Muslims are far behind in knowledge compared to Christians. A recent report says that less than 3% students in the age group of 17-24 years are enrolled in a college or a university in our country.

This figure is more or less true for 57 Muslim countries where negligence in learning, science and technology have led to a collective political turmoil, inefficiency in planning, utilization of resources, lack of coordination and economic decline. The Muslim's world contribution in the research and development (R&D) is very poor. Only 2% of the technicians are involved in research activities in Muslim world.

There are 500 universities in these 57 Muslim countries; that is one university for every 3 million people. The present population of the Muslim world is nearly 1.5 billion. In 2004, Shanghai's Jiao Tong University published record-Academic ranking of world's universities, and not a single university from Muslim countries was in the top 500. The ranking shows that Harvard University in USA leads the ranking of these 500 universities. Others in that orders are seventeen from the USA & three from other countries and these are: Harvard, Stanford (USA), Cambridge (UK), Berkeley, MIT, GIT & Princeton (USA), Oxford (UK),Columbia, Chicago, Yale, Cornell & San Diego (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Pennsylvania, Los Angles, San Francisco, Wisconsin, Michigan and Washington (Seattle, USA).

This ranking was based on several measures of research performance, academic quality including academic citations, research papers published in quality Journals as assessed by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Industrialized nations spend 2.3% of GDP on R&D, whereas 57 Muslim countries spend only 0.2%. United States alone spend 2% on R&D. The total GDP of Spain is more than all the Arab oil producing countries which are 12 in numbers. Hardly 16% of the Muslim population is involved in industrial production as compared to 60% of the western population.

One cannot ignore the services of Western world in the improvement of the quality of human life irrespective of religions. West serves the humanity by its great contribution in the education and health services. The journey of knowledge-based economies started during the seventeenth century-known as age of industrial revolution and mass production in the West.

ComsTech reports that scientific research in Muslim countries is so poor that only 2,500 articles out of the total 2,60,000 articles are published every year there. It means only 1% is contributed by Muslim world. In science from 500 universities in Muslim countries, P.hDs holders are less than 500, while 3,000 alone are from UK. Today Arab World consists of 23 countries with population of about 400 million. None has a noble prize winner in the field of Science. The combined annual GDP of Muslim countries is under $2 trillion less than that of Germany $ 2.4 trillion.

Steel is a symbol of industrial production. Arab world contributes only 1.7% to global steel production, which is less than the steel production of a single South American country, Brazil. The Muslim world has only 230 scientists per million people. The USA alone has 4,000 scientists per million. Western world has very great contribution in various inventions and these are: Gunpowder (UK 1245), Printing Press (Germeny,1475), Binocular (Holland,1595), Thermometer (Italy,1643),Typewriter (USA,1668), Electricity (USA,1729), Soap (Germany,1758), Steam Engine (UK.1769), Balloon (France,1783), Parachute (France 1797), Electric battery (Italy 1800), Paper Machine (USA, 1809), Gun (USA,1811), Stethoscope (Scotland,1819), Cement (UK,1824), Electric Magnet (USA,1828), Railway Engine (UK,1829), Pistol (USA,1835), Short Hand (UK,1837), Harvester (USA1838), Rubber (Scotland,1841), Bicycle (Scotland,1842), Lith Machine (USA,1845), Sewing Machine (France,1850), Ice Machine (USA, 1861), Burner gas (Germany,1855), Steel (UK,1856), Dynamite (Sweden,1866), Microphone (USA, 1877), Gramophone (USA,1878), Electric Bulb (USA,1879), Neel (Germany, 1880), Fountain Pen (USA,1884), Gas mantle (1885), Telephone (USA1885), Car-petrol (USA,1886), Tyre (UK,1889), Photo-colored (France, 1891), Tractor (USA,1892), Blade-Razor (USA, 1895), Diesel engine (Gernmany,1895), X-ray (Germany, 1895), Telegraph (Italy,1896), Washing Machine (USA,1907), Glass (France, 1909), Mercury Bulb (USA, 1912), Bomb (USA,1916), X-ray Tube (USA,1816), Scooter (UK,1919), Gasoline (USA,1922), Loud speaker (USA,1924), Television (Scotland(1026), Atom Bomb (USA.1920), Submarine (Holland), Ball Pen (Hungary,1938).

Inventions and Discoveries in various fields in 20th century: Types of blood (Australia,1901), Airplane (USA,1903),Vitamins (Brtain,1906),Structure of atom (1911), Leprosy (France,1913), Insulin (Canada,1921), Penicillin (Scotland,1928), Radar (Britain/Germany,1933), DDT (Switzerland, 1939), Surface to Surface Missile (Germany, 1942), Dialysis Machine (Germany,1943), Microwave Cooking (USA,1946), Polaroid Camera (USA,1947), Breaking Sound Barrier (USA, 1947), 1st Sex Change Operation (1952), Polio Vaccine (USA,1952), Structure of DNA (USA,1953), Microchip (USA, 1959), Laser (USA, 1960), Tranquilizer (USA,1963), First Heart By Pass Operation (USA,1964), Heart Transplantation (S.Africa,1967), Walk on Moon (USA,1969), CAT-Scan (Britain,1971), Use of Balloon Angiography (1977), 1st Test Tube Baby (Britain,1978), Eradication of Smallpox (WHO,1988), Genetic Fingerprinting (Britain,1984), Cloning of Sheep Dolly (Scotland,1996).

It must be noted that these valuable inventions and discoveries are used for human benefits in all the countries of the world and the people are getting benefits by their uses.

Western scientists have swept the Noble Prize Awards which was established in 1901 in the memory of Alfred Noble of Sweden who invented Dynamite. The noble prize includes $1.4 million cash, a gold medal and a diploma and is held on 9th December every year.

The awarded fields are Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Medicine & Physiology. By 2006 all 758 individuals and 18 organizations were awarded various Noble Prizes. Some of the countries having total awards secured are: USA (164), UK (111), Germany (94), France (44), Switzerland (25), Russia (21). Canada (18), China (6), Japan (12). Isreal (8), India (7), Egypt (4), Pakistan (1), Bangladesh (1), Turkey (1), Iran (1), Palestine (1), Jewish Origin Nationals (53).

Linus Pauling was the youngest person (25yrs) and Raymond Davis Jr. the oldest person awarded noble prize in physics in 2002 at the age of 88 years. Women have bagged 12 prizes in different fields.

From the above discussion, it is clear that in spite of great natural resources and wealth, the Muslims all over the world are severely lacking in education, research work etc. It is because Muslims have forgotten the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Prophet (PBUH). Instead we are taking Riba (interest), telling lie, not paying Zakat properly, not even reciting the Holy Quran in true sense and not offering five times prayers, and openly doing bad deeds and not helping the poor etc.

Education in Pakistan: Education plays the role of leadership in the country. The function of the educational institution is to develop the people physical, mentally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. But unfortunately, the expenditure on the expansion of education is quite small as compared to the other sectors of the economy. Pakistan's literacy rate is also very low as compared to even SAARC countries. If we take some middle income countries, their literacy rates will be relatively high and so will be per capita income, e.g. Malaysia and Brazil have literacy rates of over 78% and 81% with per capita income of over US$ 3000. The high income countries have literacy rates above 95% with per capita income of 25,510 dollars on an average. Thus a high literacy rate leads to a high per capita income and the role of education in economic development becomes very significant.

The most concerning thing for Pakistan is that it has been placed at 135th in terms of public investment in education out of 200 countries. On the index of availability of scientist and engineers, Pakistan ranks 61 out of 93 countries. Pakistan stands 31 out of 35 Muslim countries in literacy rate. The above data obviously show the very low literacy rate even if we compare Pakistan with Muslim countries. Literacy rate is claimed to over 45% in Pakistan. But real literacy rate in the country may be around 10%. The word literacy is defined as an ability of a "person" who can read a newspaper and write a simple letter in vernacular language. The global definition of literacy should be ability to read a newspaper and write a simple letter in English understand and speak English. Pakistan education system is mainly divided into five levels: Primary (from grade one through five); Middle (from grade six to eight); High (from grade nine through ten); intermediate (grade eleven & twelve); and university programs leading to graduate and advanced degrees.