Islamabad - Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr Mukhtar Ahmad has announced the establishment of the Social Sciences Council of Pakistan, a conceptually independent body comprising professionals for further development of research culture in all disciplines of social sciences.

Speaking at the 2nd National Symposium on Thematic Research in Social Sciences yesterday, wherein scholars showcased their research in various fields of social sciences, the HEC chairman said that HEC will release separate funding for the Council and will cater to its needs.

Dr Mukhtar, vice-chancellors of different universities, faculty members, researchers and students converged at the Commission’s office to attended the daylong symposium.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman HEC urged the participants to identify weak areas in social sciences which could be focused for result-oriented research. “Social sciences is a very important area but at the same time it is a missing link in our education system. It is our academic responsibility to strengthen our nation socially.” He said that strengthening of social sciences in the country is necessary to keep the society intact.

The chairman said the HEC has been according due importance to all the three aspects of social Sciences i.e. academic, research and social outreach, and several remarkable steps have been taken in this regard. He said that Pakistan has gained the membership of Asian Social Sciences Association (ASSA) and efforts are afoot to hold the association’s meeting in Pakistan.

He said that HEC places 30 percent of slots in its all scholarships programmes for the students of social sciences, adding that it has already doubled the budget for social sciences. He promised that the existing budget for social sciences will further be enhanced in the next year.

He lamented that as compared to economic and technological development, social progress is taken for granted. He emphasised the need for setting up schools for research in Social Sciences so as to promote post-graduate researches in the field. Referring to the mushroom growth of illegal universities as well as campuses in the country, he said that HEC is against the use of higher education for commercial purposes. He urged the universities to pay special attention to improvement of governance and quality of education.

In his keynote address, Dr Kaisar Bengali, Adviser to the Government of Balochistan, stressed the need for conducting research on prevailing social problems of the country. Emphasising relevance of researches to the social needs while pointing out problems like poverty, injustice and unemployment, he said that the structural imbalance of economy creates panic and needs to be addressed. He maintained that Pakistan does not lack resources; however the equitable distribution of resources is a need of the hour for national development.   

Dr Bengali urged the students to rise up and vent their anger against the deteriorating situation in the country through productive research on critical issues of the society and areas linked to the social uplift.

“If we have to make the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project a game changer in the real sense, we will have to make supplementary investment as well, as building connectivity is necessary for the purpose,” he said adding that development of infrastructure will help benefit from CPEC. Terming the improvement of public transport system in Islamabad as admirable, he said that the development must be made across the country.

The scholars including Dr Tahir Amin, Vice Chancellor Bahauddin Zakariya University, Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais, Professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences, Dr Najma Najam, Dr Pervaiz Ahmed Memon, Sukkur Institute of Business Administration, Dr Fauzia Maqsood, University of Gujrat, Dr Sami Ullah, University of Gujrat, Dr Asma Manzoor University of Karachi, and Dr Ijaz Hussain, Beaconhouse National University and others shared their findings with the Symposium participants.