INTERVIEW WITH DR. A.R. ZAKI, CHAIRMAN KARACHI UNIVERSITY BUSINESS SCHOOL

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Oct 31 - Nov 6, 20
11

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.

DR. ZAKI: My educational career started from Sindh Muslim College Karachi. After doing my graduation in commerce, I completed my masters from the faculty of business administration and commerce, Karachi University and received my PhD in business administration from Karachi University Business School under the supervision of Professor Dr Matin A Khan who has been the Dean and Director of IBA. I have around 29 years of teaching experience in the field of business administration and commerce. I joined KUBS as the Chairman in 2003. It was the early evolutionary period of the department and I did my best to establish and develop it in terms of standards and quality. With the help and cooperation of the vice chancellor, we keep updating our syllabus, and have offered several new programs. We try to give our students both theoretical and practical knowledge by inviting people from corporate sector. And the result of all these efforts is that our graduates are accepted in different sectors and organizations very successfully. Recently an award ceremony was held in which KUBS was enlisted as the best business school in Asia for which I went to Singapore to receive this award titled as 'Innovation Leadership Award'.

PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT DUE TO BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT EDUCATION IN SINDH AND IN PAKISTAN?

DR. ZAKI: Social development cannot be isolated. It is something that is dependent on economic development and on business and trade. Pakistan's state has gotten worse in this regard over the period of last few years. Trade deficit has risen, GDP has fallen, challenges of unemployment could not be ignored, and inflation rate is too high. In this scenario, to overcome these problems we need to grow our literacy rate and business and management education can help improve the economy, and eventually social development is the result because people then work at more professional level in skilled way leaving positive impact on economic and social developments.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ABOUT PERFORMANCE OF EDUCATION SECTOR.

DR. ZAKI: Regrettably, education sector is the most neglected area in Pakistan. Very poor investment is done in this area, particularly the primary and secondary education, which provides the basis of educational career to a student. Government schools infrastructure is particularly very pitiable. During the recent floods, several schools have been closed and have suffered a great loss. However, as far as education in colleges and universities is concerned, the situation has improved to a great extent, but the importance of good education from the grass roots level could not be ignored.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ABOUT UNIVERSITIES IN PAKISTAN.

DR. ZAKI: Around two decades earlier, the number of universities was extremely limited, particularly the government-run universities. But now the situation has changed for the better. Along with government universities there are several private universities now established and running successfully, catering to the needs of students. However, lack of resources at times creates problems. Nevertheless, check and balance has to be there on regular basis in order to ensure the quality and standard of education on higher level.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ABOUT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCES PROVIDED TO THE NEEDY STUDENTS.

DR. ZAKI: Poverty has affected every sector and students are no doubt among the worst sufferers of it. As said, education has never been on the priority list. It is not even considered a compulsory and primary thing by many, especially poor people whose first concern is the fulfillment of basic needs. In this condition education remains a dream for many. Children are sent to earn livelihood in school-going age and those who manage to study somehow despite of the crunching poverty face challenge in completing education. On the other hand, the authorities remain ignorant and do not bother to know the factors behind it and find the solutions.

PAGE: GIVE YOUR VIEWS ON THE EFFORTS OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR PROMOTION OF EDUCATION SECTOR.

DR. ZAKI: It's a sorry state of affairs when we look at the efforts of government regarding education. Japan, the world's second largest economy, spends around 10 percent of its national budget on educational related facilities. South Korea's input to education has elevated to about eight percent. And, similarly there are several other examples around the globe like Australia, Canada, and Singapore, which have big budgets allocated for education sector. In Pakistan, however, no proper investment has been made to improve the sector. As far as higher education is concerned, in the last 10 years, improvements could not be neglected. Dr. Attaur Rahman and his team's role is commendable. With the ever increasing population, the proportion of universities has also risen, though not with the same ratio but the situation is encouraging. Many universities including University of Karachi are facing financial difficulties. Government should apprehend the gravity of the situation and take action to save this powerful weapon of education.