STATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

S.M. ALAM, M.A. KHAN & BARKAT KHANZADA
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Feb 22 - 28, 2010

In the Holy Quran, Allah says to Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW), "My Lord! Increase in my knowledge" (Surah TaHa -20, Makki, Verse-114). We being Muslims must pray to Al-Mighty Allah for the increase of our knowledge. Knowledge has great power and it is the very first motto of education for everyone. Without education a man is illiterate and deficient in society. Education is a factor of significant importance and is a basic and prime component of human resource development of a country.

Education plays the role of leadership in the society. The functions of the college or university are to develop the people physically, mentally, and spiritually. It improves and promotes the economic, social, political, and cultural life of the nation. All over the world, universities are guiding and cooperating with the industrial and agricultural development organizations and they are developing their economics in various fields rapidly and meaningfully. In Pakistan, after more than five decades, the developmental indicators are not showing positive results and have affected the colleges and universities education in the country.

The participation rate at higher education is less than 3% for age group (17-24) while world average for same age group is 16.2% and 68% in South Korea. Pakistan at this point is in need of some serious attention by the government and the private sector to revamp its deteriorating education system. The government as per budget of 2009-10 is spending only 2 per cent of its GDP on education. The current expenditure is extremely very low. It will not be enough to tackle the ills of our education system. Onus is now on the private sector to take measures for providing better education to the people of this country but again we only see the business community coming forward to open institutions with the sole purpose of earning.

According to one report, there are 216,490 educational institutions and out of this 106,435 in Punjab, 46,862 in Sindh, 36,029 in NWFP and 10,381 in Balochistan.

There are problems of quality of staff, students, library, and laboratory. There is a need of unique, comprehensive research facilities to probe the causes of financial crisis, weaknesses of examinations system, ineffective governance, and academic results.

It has been observed that access to research facilities are very limited in universities. Quality is very low in the fields of academic, administration, and research equipments. Faculty and staff need development in knowledge and skills. There are inadequate funds. Misappropriation of funds is common. Character building of the students is ignored. Dishonesty, lack of mannerism and etiquette, unpunctuality, non fulfilling of commitments prevail every where. Immoral values, indiscipline, disrespect of elders are also common. There is no linkage between university and industry. Examination system is faulty. Good governance is non-existent.

Considering the gigantic problems of higher education in Pakistan, the researchers determined the present profile of higher education in Pakistan by examining the past efforts for the improvement of higher education and found that the education budgets have never been sufficient.

Education experts, ministers, university teachers, administrators, planners, examination experts, students, and community leaders should pay attention to the following points. Enrolment in universities can be increased by ensuring adequate education environment, quality teaching, facilities of library and laboratory, and research equipments. Development of faculty and staff should be ensured through meaningful continuous in-service training. Funds for higher education should be increased reasonably. Character building of students should be focused. Linkage between university and industry should be established. Good governance should be ensured. New disciplines should be started to meet the need of the institution. Night classes should be started with transport facilities. Political activities should not be allowed. Rules and regulations should be enforced. A teacher irrespective of institutions should be soft-spoken, affable, benevolent, dedicated, with good oratory skills, working tirelessly for spreading the working spirit and inculcating intellectual, moral, spiritual, ethical, aesthetic values in students.

There is a need of removal of bottlenecks to tap the full potential of higher education sector including inefficient use of available resources, lack of monitoring, lack of standardization of private universities, lack of attention to research and development, ineffective governance and management structures and practices, inefficient regulatory steps, poor recruitment practices and inadequate development of faculty and staff, lack of internship facilities for students of higher education institutions and universities, inadequate funding, strange fee structure of private universities, lack of foreign investment, shortage of debts facilities, and lack of moral training in higher education institutions.

In the present educational scenario, Pakistan is in dire need of educated resource persons for social, political, economic, scientific, and cultural advancements. Education, if utilized effectively, is the only tool that can help the country to compete with the other countries of the world.

Any person with honesty, zeal, enthusiasm, devotion to works, punctuality, commitments, fear of Allah, simplicity, high character, manners and etiquettes, no greed, and peace and tranquility can promote higher education standard in the country.