Prime Minister Imran Khan has formally initiated the conversion of the PM House into the Islamabad National University. The announcement was made during a seminar titled “Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan. PM Khan, during his speech at the inauguration ceremony, said that the purpose of establishing a University or Centre Of Excellence(COE) at the PM House was to reduce the gap between the government and public.

The premier stressed the importance of “quality education” for a nation’s “progress and development”, adding that the overall level of education will be improved during his term.

There are about 188 universities in Pakistan but the standard of higher education is awful. House Of Wisdom was also mentioned by Imran Khan but a glance must also be cast on the private sector of education which only distributes degrees without any wisdom. The major structural issues in the higher education system of Pakistan are leading to poor governance of the educational institutions and questionable quality of education. Governance differences are present both in public and private sector universities. It is very rare to find a member of the board being appointed because they possess knowledge of how universities need to perform or they have an outstanding academic contribution.

According to the World Bank Report (2000), Pakistan has a high level of accountability but it is of the negative kind. The board of governors has a low degree of autonomy. Private sector universities in Pakistan have grown by a large number in the last two decades. However, at one end, the growth of such institutions provides more variety to students; there are some universities with questionable status.

Quality Assurance for the academia, as well as the government and policymakers, is essential to guarantee outcomes for the managing of higher education institutions (HEIs). Inspection and accountability are externally monitored, whereas teachers, a variety of programs etc derive quality internally in institutions.

HEC has acted like any other bureaucracy in the country where policies are made on the basis of a reaction to the problem rather than to actually find the cause of the problem. Higher education institutions are still in confusion. Unfortunately, coherent policy for higher education in the country has not been formulated at the national level. The board of governors of universities seems unaware of these structural issues of universities. This leads to universities being unable to cope with the challenges. These challenges include the evolution of new markets and the creation of new professions and vocations.There is a need for decentralisation in terms of decision making.

Higher Education in Pakistan is not at par with international standards leaving a dearth of qualified graduates who can help with the rebuilding of the higher education institutions. Even competitive exams like CSS results have further exposed the scenario.

There is a need for the public sector’s boards to be remodeled to cope with the changes and to be able to provide good governance. There is a need to improve the quality of faculty and the programs being offered.

There is no doubt in accepting the fact that education brings about a change in the social, political and cultural scenario of the country; though the change remains slow it does have an impact on the society at large. It does bring about improvements in the organizational problem-solving through the use of design, structural paraphernalia, globalized need and quality based systems.

Indeed, Pakistan is suffering not only from the economic problem but there’s a mild diversity in case of Education. Lack of education is the main reason behind the backwardness of Pakistan. Poverty has led many homes to discourage their children from going to school. Educational infrastructure, ghost schools, the culture of absenteeism, a multiplicity of educational system, gender disparity, lack of technologies, bad governance and poorly-trained teaching staff are the major reasons behind the education crisis. Lack of education is one problem that needs to be solved as only it can lead to a brighter future of Pakistan.

Education’s condition is despicable throughout the country as its literacy rate is 58% with huge gender disparity. 43% literacy rate is noticed in families while less than 3% of families know how to read in FATA. Nearly 5.1 million children have been deprived of the basic right of Education in Pakistan. Education is the only cure of the instability in the state and can bring Revolution through evolution, by eradicating the social evils.

The education system is needed to be revamped making a space for the science, IT, management, and pupil with the excellence to go to the higher education pursuing the education of their own choice. Lesser emphasis on technical education means the lesser manpower for industry and hence the lesser finance generation. The allocation of funds for education is very low as it never went beyond 1.5 to 2.0 percent of the total GDP. There is a need to increase it around 7% of the total GDP.

Teachers should be offered more financial benefits by increasing their pays. Government should strictly check all private educational institutions for keeping a balance of standards and level of practices. Workshops must be arranged for teachers as a continuous feature for learning.

Education serves as the backbone for the development of nations. The countries with the effective impressive need oriented, saleable and effective system of education come out to be the leaders of the world, both socially and economically. It is only education which can turn a burden of the population into productive human resource. Pakistan’s current state demands that the allocations for education be doubled to meet the challenges of EFI, gender disparity and provision of teachers in the workplaces earlier than 2018 as per stipulated qualifications. Millennium Development Goals are yet to be realised latest by 2015. We have to revisit our priorities to keep the country on the track of progress.

 

The writer is medical doctor by profession and a content writer, freelance writer and a poet. He is a motivational speaker and columnist and has written for a number of English dailies like Dawn, Express Tribune, The Business and The Educationist etc. He is also Alumni of LUMS and doctor at CMH Hospital.

 @DrZeeshanKhanA1