Challenges Faced by Pakistani Universities in International Ranking
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Challenges Faced by Pakistani Universities in International Ranking

Challenges Faced by Pakistani Universities in International Ranking

As per the latest QS World ranking, no no Pakistani university is included in the top 300 universities of the world and that’s alarming, considering the scope of the research that’s being carried out in our educational institutions. Though the world ranking is not the only criterion to judge the performance of any university it does give an overall idea about the perception that a university holds. Also, this ranking becomes important in targeting a wider audience in a globalized world. Talking about Pakistan, and specifically the public sector universities of the country, there are various challenges that the higher education sector is facing, starting from inadequate funding to low-quality production of the research and hence, it’s pertinent to address this issue if we are to excel as a nation and build our identity around education and research. Here are some ways that we can map the problems that can improve the position of Pakistani Universities in the International Ranking.

Bridging the Academia and the Industry

The ever-increasing gap between Academia and industry is one the of reasons, the public sector universities are lagging in producing quality researchers and academics who would perform well in their respective professional fields. The problem is much worse when we talk about the fields of Social Sciences because they are still not being seriously by our law-maker and policy-devisers. The syllabus taught in fields such as international Relations, Political science, Sociology, etc., is not only outdated but also has no practical output. With the advent of data science, all these fields have been now digitalized and have become data-oriented. We see decision-makers in the West, base their policies on the data provided to them through university researchers to solve the problems. But in Pakistan, there is no concept of adapting the research being carried out in the universities to solve political and social issues. Hence, we see no development in the field of research as far as Social Sciences are concerned.

Inadequate Funding

Considering the economic turmoil that the country is facing, there is a cut on the budget for education and the higher education sector suffers the most through these cuts. Recently, HEC had to stop the finding of some scholarship programs due to the lack of funding available. But the scope of these cuts in the budget cuts goes way beyond that as many universities are still unable to develop proper dedicated computer labs and digital libraries for their students, one can assume what would be the situation of physics and chemical laboratories. It is also because of the inadequate funding and lack of resources that Universities are unable to give research grants to their students and researchers and hence we result in the production of low-quality research that is not even applicable in the real world. The lack of funding is a major cause that hinders Pakistani Universities in International Ranking.

Lack of trained Professional Teachers and Instructors

Mostly, teachers and instructors get hired in public universities through different provincial programs and exams like PPSC, etc. Most of these exams are solely based on the memorization stuff and no analytical and critical skills are needed to pass the written examination. Hence, we see the instructors in public sector universities lacking the skills to critically analyses stuff and are not trained enough to answer the questions being posed by youngsters. Another dimension is the lack of understanding of modern gadgets and social media platforms among University Professors who are older in age. This directly translates to students not getting equipped with the modern tools of communication and networking. Hence it further adds up to the problem for Pakistani Universities in International Ranking.

Addressing the Challenge

There are many ways in which we can address the challenges and can help our public sector universities improve their international ranking:

  • Special mechanisms should be in place to bridge the gap between the industry and academia and to inculcate academics in the industry and to carry this policy forward, the private-public partnership should be encouraged.
  • Education should be a minimum of 5% of the country’s total GDP and under this, the special budget should be allocated to giving scholarships so that our students have exposure to the outside world and can excel in their field of study. Special grants should be announced to build state-of-the-art libraries and laboratories in universities and colleges.
  • To train professional instructors and teachers, equipped with modern tools, training sessions must be conducted monthly on district bases that would encourage teachers to use mediums like Chat-GPT and inculcate them in daily teaching practices.

Conclusion

To conclude, one can say that the challenges our public universities of Pakistan are facing with regard to international ranking is multi-faceted and have many dimensions. In order to seriously address this challenge, proper policy should be devised on the state level and its implementation must be ensured. But most importantly, there is a need to declare an education emergency, solely focusing on developing good researchers who are data-oriented and can play their role in solving the country’s economic as well as social problems. Only then, the station of Pakistani universities in international ranking can be improved.

Related: Student Loan Programs in Pakistan

The writer, Muhammad Saad, is an M.Phil scholar of Political Science at GCU Lahore.

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