Research culture is a fundamental part of the education sector all around the world with its capacity to bring innovation and new dimensions ultimately opening realms for new thoughts and work processes every day. Research also has the tendency to ignite a passion to investigate the areas of interest and explore them in detail. In a four-year BS/ B.A(Hons) program, the students are seen searching for summary and shortcuts, but the research section is one part of our educational system that does not allow them to think smart about themselves. With consistent rejections and unending editing, the students ultimately have a pack full of learning experience.

Unfortunately, In Pakistan the research culture, instead of getting critical, is becoming a burden for the students and dejectedly an “extra load” for the supervisors as well. It is a universal fact that research is hard as nails, essentially when dealing with an amateur but at the same time this somewhat magnifies the responsibility of the supervisors. Furthermore, the learners of research are dependent on their supervisors entirely as in Pakistan we have a limited number of PhDs available in public and newly established private sector institutes. There exists a limited amount of faculty within the department amongst which there is a rare possibility that one can find a specialist in the relevant research field. At last, the unavailability of the supervisors adds the cherry on top and students consider themselves being forced into an uninvited problem with no happy ending. Their overwrought and neglected faces seem as if they have made a deal with the devil and cannot retreat.

The flipside of the situation can be seen even drastic than the prior one. There exists a pile of complaints submitted to the Deans and HODs of various departments dealing with negligence played on the part of the students enrolled in graduate and post graduate programs. With the consistent checking of papers and frequently established quizzes as per “HEC criteria of student evaluation”, the supervisors tend not to brag about their passion as an academic researcher and place their scholastics ethics at a side eventually dealing students professionally i.e. according to their ease and emotional availability.

Considering this situation, the question arises that as a country having 57.9% literacy rate by 2018 with its education already suffering its mid-life crisis, do we actually need to blame students for their negligence or the issue straightly ascends to the ill performance of the teachers that are historically acclaimed to be the torch barriers of light?

Relevant to the decreasing research culture in Pakistan is the time limits and the extensions of those time limits. The time limit mentioned in the degree program is sufficient if the supervisors start exactly from the prescribed time given in the semester schedule, but this too is compromised with unexpected strikes and Jalsa’s and at times by those the so-called university events that have swallowed the classroom environment and has made it rather a station to mark your presence. It takes a great deal of time for the supervisors to get back to their daily work routine and to be just, who would like to start up with a pile full of roughly composed grammatically ill documents which are not even formatted on the pattern of MLA and APA research guides.

As the research part is the last knot to the degree and the course work is complete, therefore majority of the students tend to remain home and visit universities only if required. With the absence of the students and at times no access to the students, the supervisor and the researcher both get in a problem. In the course work duration, where the teachers are seen distributing notes and resolving class matters with just a simple face to face interaction, the sudden shift to email correspondence does not mesh with the student psychology. When the text messages, phone calls and even Facebook messages are neglected, the researchers feel abandoned ultimately abandoning their research as a result of it.

In recent years, a lot of university students are seen openly blaming their supervisors for their research delay as it causes a barrier for them in attaining their jobs. With the limited seats available in every sector, it is the utmost desire of the students to finish their degree on time and start earning for better living. Adding to this is also the depression and trauma faced by the parents of the researchers who must submit extra fee for monthly or yearly extensions. Due to such instances, some researchers tend to leave their degree and at times freeze their semesters simply because they cannot afford it.

It is high time that we must understand the importance of research culture in our country and try to encourage it as much as possible. The increased trend of conferences and symposiums within various private and public-sector institutes is commendable, but it can worth appreciating if inspite of the professor, assistant professors or lecturers, we will see more students and budding researchers presenting their papers. The supervisors ought to place the research on the priority list and try their best to boost up the students to complete their research on time, motivating them for further publications and journal reviews. Furthermore, the stake holders of the research culture i.e. HEC , University Board and Deans must consider modifying their rules and regulation for better performance. There must be a half yearly check and balance system on the research students to view their research progress. Also, the research supervisors must be taken in confidence for overcoming their supervision problems. If such subtleties and nuances are resolved than it can benefit the researchers in general and the research culture in particular.

 

The writer is M. Phil in English literature and author of The Bloody Muse.

areebasohaail@gmail.com