2022 Revisiting the Benefits of Higher Education in Pakistan By Dr Muhammad Imran


Pakistan is in the course of an financial (IMF negotiation, rising gas price and inflation), political (political instability and polarisation) and environmental (heatwaves and water shortage because of local weather change) disaster. Nonetheless, there isn’t a critical analysis and experience produced by larger schooling establishments in Pakistan on tips on how to handle these challenges, despite billions of {dollars} being spent within the final 20 years.

The tragedy of upper schooling is that new universities have been established within the final 20 years, hundreds of fine and dangerous analysis papers have been revealed, with the quantity rising yearly; hundreds of native and worldwide PhD college students have graduated and novel programmes have been applied by the Greater Training Fee (HEC). Nonetheless, this data and achievement haven’t translated into authorities actions and benefited wider society.

It’s because a research-policy-society contract in larger schooling in Pakistan is missing. Pakistan’s financial, political and environmental crises has been broadly researched within the developed world. Nonetheless, this analysis has not been contextualised and transferred to Pakistan’s governance, coverage, and social atmosphere.

Let me give the instance of my very own space of analysis in city and environmental planning. A long time of worldwide local weather change analysis produced by the Worldwide Panel for Local weather Change (IPCC) exhibits that Pakistan should act swiftly to guard its waterways, biodiversity and agricultural soil, that are crucial for human safety in our nation. Nonetheless, this high quality analysis has by no means been translated into insurance policies for food manufacturing, city improvement patterns and vitality consumption. There isn’t a doubt that new ministries (Ministry of Local weather Change) and departments (Environmental Safety Authority) have been established within the final 2 to three many years, new laws has been handed, and programmes (CNG vehicles, the Billion Timber venture) have been initiated. Nonetheless, these actions are too little and too late with none sturdy analysis and affect. In reality, these actions have grow to be workout routines in advertising and getting invites and travelling to worldwide boards.

Environmental NGOs have centered on advocacy and activism by organising walks and elevating consciousness. Their work has improved local weather change protection within the media, however they’ve failed to provide political leaders like Al Gore and activists like Greta Thunberg who could make local weather change the core subject of the nation. Due to this fact, the local weather change debate is completely absent from nationwide political priorities, insurance policies, funding mechanisms and nationwide media. Even Covid-19 did not compel us to replicate and restructure our economic system and budgets away from reliance on conventional consumption patterns.

The time has come for the HEC to replicate on its achievements and deficiencies, after which discover methods to advertise a research-policy-society contract for lecturers in Pakistan. The a whole bunch of lecturers of Pakistani origin working in universities within the developed world (over 100 are working in New Zealand universities and analysis institutes) may also help to determine this contract. As a member of the educational neighborhood, I see three doable choices for future motion.

The primary choice is to proceed analysis as typical as per the HEC’s criterion of publishing in affect issue journals. This feature is based on the hope that political leaders will take some coverage motion whereas lecturers keep politically impartial. The HEC and universities can even put money into new methods to higher talk the outcomes of educational analysis. Nonetheless, this selection naïvely assumes that revealed analysis might be translated into coverage and actions, which is already occurring on a small scale in several sectors.

Because the second choice, the HEC may promote social science analysis and advocacy, specializing in a greater understanding of why transformative change has not occurred in several sectors and tips on how to allow institutional, political and social change. Up to now, the HEC’s analysis funding and scholarships have been dominated by pure science and technical disciplines. The analysis focus and funding can be prolonged to social science and humanities with this selection. There isn’t a doubt that social science wants extra funding, however there isn’t a proof that exposing the powers and vested pursuits by means of social science analysis will result in transformative actions inside an affordable timeframe.

The third is the unconventional choice of fixing the main focus of analysis and related funding to the holistic affect of analysis excellence. Publication affect elements, quotation counts, download views, and H-indices can solely be accepted if the revealed output positively modifications society, the economic system, and the atmosphere. It will be unethical and irresponsible for the HEC and lecturers to publish analysis with out making any distinction within the social, financial and environmental crises Pakistan is dealing with now and within the close to future. The HEC ought to think about solely analysis that works intently with the governments and different stakeholders to deal with the societal issues by means of the co-creation of regionally implementable information. The third choice is the one efficient strategy to produce sturdy native analysis that addresses the tragedy of upper schooling in Pakistan.

Hope is at all times there however revisiting the HEC’s insurance policies on analysis and establishing a research-policy-society nexus may translate hope into motion.

Printed in The Specific Tribune, June seventh, 2022.​

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