A noted education expert has called for decolonizing higher education in Pakistan in order for the country to become a knowledge creator.
Professor Dr Salman Sayyid, a renowned social scientist from University of Leeds, UK Pakistan and its higher education was merely a “consumer” of higher education rather than a producer of new knowledge. His comments came during a seminar organized by Punjab University’s Institute of Social and Cultural Studies on ‘Decolonizing Higher Education in the Global South’ and the challenges facing higher education.
Sayyid has a degree in international relations, a masters in ideology and discourse analysis and his doctorate was in government. Before joining Leeds on a five-year University Research Fellowship, he was working in universities in London and Manchester. He has also made a film – Everything You wanted To Know about Muslims But Were Afraid to Ask.
In his address at PU, Dr Sayyid said there had been major transformation in higher education sector throughout the world and efforts were being made to make higher education economically viable. He said the universities in global north played important role in contributing towards local and regional economy.
However, universities in this part of the world had failed to produce desired results due to colonization of higher education. Sayyid said decolonization of higher education would result in recognition of importance of location, adding that a simple replication model made local universities inferior and irrelevant.
Prof Dr Omer Abdullah said students in UK had had a debt of almost 60,000 pounds on average when they graduated, adding that British higher education system was now counted as one of the most expensive higher education systems in the world. Abdullah went on to say that higher education sector was lacking appropriate research funding.
PU Faculty of Islamic Studies Dean Prof Dr Hammad Lakhvi, ISCS Director Prof Dr Rubina Zakar, and Dr Yasmin Hussain from University of Leeds were also present at the seminar along with a large number of faculty members and students.