Scarcity of Funding Will Strangle Higher Education In Pakistan

The present PTI government has minimized funding for higher education and research in Pakistan. This decision of the government will further deprive the country from quality higher education and research facilitation at the university level.

iteracy rate and particularly the rate of higher education and research in Pakistan is already quite disappointing due to unwise policies of the present governments, but this particular decision of the present government will further push higher education and research to the brink of disaster. Higher education is the prime input for the acceleration of technological, scientific and research oriented skill in the country to achieve the objective of speedy economic development and higher productivity. Discoveries, innovations, scientifically accelerated socio–economic development, modern research and latest industrial and agricultural technologies are the outcomes of the productive research oriented higher education. The better the quality of higher education; the better becomes the outcome of research in multiple fields.

Higher education in a country has a direct correlation with the accelerated socio –economic and technological development and also with the human development. Therefore, higher education has an immense role in developing human resources, research and technological knowledge for the productive utilization of the factors of production. Computer, artificial intelligence and software engineering are other new productive fields for the acceleration of marginal productivity and revenue generation. Hence, hammering higher educational facilities will certainly slow down the tangible returns and productive research activities in a country like Pakistan. Comparing the socio–economic development and growth in the developed world against developing countries today, we can safely say that the developed countries achieved distinction in speedy socio–economic and technological development because of their advanced higher education, applied computer technologies and research-based industrial production.

Developed countries are prime examples of why quality higher education and research facilities are vital. The increasing per-acre yields, higher marginal productivity and rapidly changing technological and scientific outcomes speak volumes about the efficacy of advanced higher education and research activities.  All such innovations and discoveries as a result of focused researches and studies have certainly helped western countries multiply productivity, minimize production costs, increase living standards and standardize industrial and agricultural productivity. Resultantly, the income of the people has also increased over the years, as has the overall standard of living and purchasing power. Take the case of USA as an example. Such is the US’ level of agricultural productivity that not only has it achieved self-sufficiency in food production, it is forced to destroy millions of tons of wheat, maize and coffee every year that is in excess of what is needed for consumption or exports. It’s the same case with dairy, fish, honey and poultry sectors. 

 

Higher education in a country has a direct correlation with the accelerated socio –economic and technological development and also with the human development.

 

The West’s monopoly over innovation in the defense and health industries, as well as its prowess in industrial, agricultural and human development sectors has given a strong leg-up to the economies of countries in the first world. This economic and industrial dominance has also helped them rise above their world peers when it comes to politics and politicking. It is economic and defense might that lets them dictate and makes others act according to their whims and wishes. 

 

Lack Of Research Culture

In contrast, higher education and research in Pakistan has lost its importance over the past few decades due to several reasons, including financial hardships, lack of qualified scholars, poor research facilities and substandard higher educational facilities. As a result, the country has not only lagged far behind in terms of developing a cultural of progress and innovation, but has also failed to develop its human capital to the fullest. Furthermore, crop yields have dwindled, industries have shrunk and the economy has become more and more dependent on foreign assistance. Pakistan is one of the youngest countries in the world in terms of population, but a lack of innovative spirit means that a majority of our youth is left with doing work the same mundane way it was done 30 years ago, while the rest of the world continues to devise newer ways of increasing productivity and minimizing cost and time expenditure with each passing day.

The West’s economic and industrial dominance has also helped it rise above it world peers when it comes to politics and politicking. It is the economic and defense might of the western countries that lets them dictate and make others act according to their whims and wishes.

 

Innovation, discoveries and research potentialities and application of modern technologies is essentials to compete in the consumer market of the world and to reduce the marginal cost and raise the marginal productivity to compete in the world market. It is therefore suggested that:-

  1. Potential higher education as an input needs to be re–activated and it may be productively amended for the enhancement of research capabilities of the youth. Therefore, maximum input be provided for the skill development of the youth for their innovative research work and technological development of different sectors including agriculture, industry, manpower, excavations of deposits, minerals, oil and gas etc.;
  2. All the bureaucratic hurdles and obstruction of the Higher Education Commission in the name of quality improvements be removed and free unconditional facilitation be extended to all educational institutions for the free delivery of the quality higher education at all levels;
  3. All such higher educational institutions and applied research organizations be properly financially assisted without any discrimination for the development of the research culture in the country;
  4. Personal grudges and likes and dislikes and biased approaches of the controlling authorities at the national as well provincial levels be minimized for achieving the desired objectives of developing innovations, discoveries and modern technologies;
  5. Free hand to all such research and educational institutes with the required guidelines from the HEC and HERA is certainly encouraged but not the authoritarian hold on personal grudges and biased approaches be extended to adversely suffer the desired goals of imparting quality education and research;
  6. Resource generation for transformative effect and self-sustaining of the educational and research institutes be encouraged and facilitation to raise patents of the universities and research institutes be appreciated;
  7. Unnecessary, biased ban on admissions of the educational institutions on personal grudges on the basis of financial greed be immediately lifted on such higher educational institutes. in addition, international collaborative research and academic exchange activities need to be facilitated to speedup research culture and economic development.
About The Author

Prof Dr Asmatullah Khan is the former Vice Chancellor of UST Bannu, and the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Preston University, Kohat. He is a seasoned academic with a keen eye on the education sector of Pakistan and can be reached at drasmat1953@gmail.co