INTERVIEW WITH PROF. DR. M. ABUZAR WAJIDI, MERITORIOUS PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KARACHI

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Feb 21 - 27, 2011

PROFILE

• Dean, Faculty of Management & Administrative Sciences and Director, Evening Program.

• Deanship has been assigned for the third time.

• Former Actg. Vice Chancellor, Dean of Arts, Dean of Education, Chairman, Deptt. of Public Administration, University of Karachi

• Teaching postgraduate, M.S. and Ph.D classes.

• Field of specialization: Human Resource Management, Local Government, Comparative Public Administration and International HRM.

• Introduced Human Resource Management as a specialized subject for the first time in public universities of Pakistan.

• Played a key role in the establishment of a full-fledged department of public administration at the University of Karachi in 1997.

• Has so far produced more Ph.Ds under his supervision.

• Has attended and participated in a number of national and international conferences in US, Australia, Canada, Europe and Asia.

• Member Syndicate, University of Karachi & University of Balochistan

• President (Pakistan Chapter), Association on Employment Principles and Practices (AEPP), New York, US.

• Member, Journal of the Council of Employees Responsibilities and Right (CERR), AEPP, New York.

• Subject Matter Expert (SME) to the renowned organization λCommonwealth of Learning' (COL).

• Books authored:

(1) "Local Government in Pakistan with Special Reference to KMC"

(2) Labor Administration (2004).

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF?

DR. WAJIDI: At present, I am Dean Faculty of Management & Administrative Sciences and also Director of Evening Program, University of Karachi. Going back to my childhood, I remember to have been a naughty child. However, my elders also took good care during my upbringing that I was considerate to my colleagues and friends and respectful to elders. I did my schooling at Dhaka and after migration to Pakistan, I accomplished my graduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies with complete devotion and determination concentrating on specializing in management subjects. My mother, a household lady, and my father, a lawyer, always encouraged and supported me for acquisition of knowledge and education. During my university education, I conducted tuitions and that is where I explored a teacher in myself. After doing my masters, I was appointed lecturer. I deeply owe to my parents, my teachers and my siblings for their support that enabled me proceed ahead with my studies and then professional career. I have persistently struggled throughout my life and great amount of inspiration to struggle comes from the most unfortunate incident that I witnessed as a youth, which is the debacle of Dhaka (the capital of former East Pakistan).

I specialize in human resource management, HR development and local government. I feel privileged to have authored nearly fifty articles (published in national and international journals of repute) and two books.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ABOUT BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN?

DR. WAJIDI: Education in business administration in Pakistan is seen with quite a value in present time. Growing businesses and commerce in the present global concept of the world, influenced by modern technological advancements, has become a matter of great focus. In today's business, you cannot afford to ignore application of technology. Business administration is not only about business or commerce alone, it is also a matter of communication and relations with other people, other organizations and other nations. A better understanding of the people you are doing your business with, is likely to bring you increased success in business. A good command over your professional education very much brightens chances of success in your business dealings and outcomes. In Pakistan, a large number of students seek admission in business administration. As in other fields of life and education, I would suggest that this field pays off very well to those who have inclination for this particular education. Those students who have tendency for this sort of education, have bright chances of becoming successful business administrators.

PAGE: WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO PROVIDE QUALITY EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN?

DR. WAJIDI: I understand that a uniform system of education for all is the pre-condition to straighten things in the educational system of Pakistan. There are some main factors to influence the entire course of education like poverty, illiteracy, poor health conditions, uncontrolled population etc., which call for immediate attention of the government as well of the wealthy and elite of the country. Education policy needs to ensure that every child in Pakistan gets proper education without hardships and in an environment conductive to learning. Lack of literacy at large has placed our country at stake due to intolerance which has become the most serious challenge these days not only for Pakistan but for many nations of the world. Another important aspect I would like to point out is upkeep of merit, which should be strictly observed in all educational institutions and all public and private sector organizations. All these factors directly or indirectly influence quality of education. Both teacher and student have to recognize and respect each other's place in the process of learning. Morals and ethics must be considered an integral part of the process of learning. I am confident that ethical and moral values together with techniques of education can enhance quality of education in Pakistan.

I also believe that quality of institutions and organizations depends on quality of their human resource. I would strongly emphasize on development of human resources of educational institutions observing modern trends of HR development and management.

PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON UNIVERSITY FUNDING FOR RESEARCH?

DR. WAJIDI: In discoveries and inventions in all fields of life, research plays the key role, and no doubt, process of research requires generous funds. Without adequate funds, a university can hardly show even a moderate output in terms of producing researchers who in their future career have to play an important role in progress of a country in terms of physical, social and management sciences. During recent few years, unfortunately, funds for research have been cut down for universities, which has placed a rather negative impact in terms of supporting research studies and projects. The ultimate impact falls on the country and its people. Therefore, grants for research to universities should match their needs. With limited resources for research, candidates are constrained to explore possibilities of funds availability in foreign universities, and in such cases, there are less chances that having completed their studies abroad, researchers would return to Pakistan for national service.

PAGE: WHAT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN BY PAKISTAN TO STOP SKILLED WORKFORCE FROM LEAVING PAKISTAN?

DR. WAJIDI: Skilled workforce prior to recent years were attracted because of higher wages and salaries abroad. However, these days, element of insecurity and law and order situation has also become another reason to stir this workforce fly outside their homeland. With limited foreign investment in Pakistan, unemployment has also increased. However, energy crisis (both electric power and gas) has emerged as a new threat to country's economy. During the past months, many industries have shut down due to power crisis resulting in unemployment of hundreds of thousands of workers (and multiple of these numbers when you include family members of the victims of power crisis). I think maintenance of law and order must be assigned top priority. Once work environment is peaceful, investors will be encouraged to put their money in various ventures, which will serve as a means to encourage skilled workers to serve their own country and nation. You have to have or create jobs for the skilled workers to convince them work at home instead of trying their luck in other countries.

PAGE: WHAT INCENTIVES EDUCATION SECTOR NEEDS FROM THE GOVERNMENT?

DR. WAJIDI: The sector of education like that of health in Pakistan requires top priority attention and practical measures for improvement. Education is right of every citizen, which through government policies should reach the citizens. In present economic circumstances, the most important incentive in the education sector can be a convenient access to quality education for everyone and employment opportunities for all those who accomplish their education at different levels. Keeping in view our cultural background, education of morals and ethics should be an essential part of education throughout process of education. As for higher education, vital importance requires to be attached to research and development. Without promoting research in all fields of sciences, it will be very hard to survive respectable in this world which is full of challenges. Researchers need to select such topics for their work that are directly related to solution of economic and social issues of our people. Educator at all levels should be facilitated with attractive remunerations and opportunities which will inspire them give out their best to those who they educate.

The Higher Education Commission has cut down grants for public university during the last 2-3 years which has considerably affected the research and development projects of the varsities. Performance and effectiveness of universities greatly depend on research grants from government. These grants require generous enhancement keeping in view increasing research needs. Another element asking government's attention is budgetary grants for education in the country. The current budgetary grant should be at least doubled if education is to prosper in Pakistan.