Higher education challenges | Teachers await incentives
Higher education in Pakistan
June 23: Higher education in Pakistan is facing many challenges which
include the total number of universities, enrolment of students, gender based
equity, quality of teaching and research, institutional governance, curriculum
and violence in institutions.
The total number of universities and degree
awarding institutions in both public and private sectors is 130 for the
population size of 170 million which is quite less than required. Although, the
preceding government had established many new institutions, yet the need is not
satisfied and every district should at least have one university. There are many
districts in Pakistan where no higher education institution is available and
many students who cannot afford to go to other places abandon their studies due
to unavailability of universities in their home districts.
In addition, the
number of students in the higher education sector is very low. There are only a
little more than 700,000 students with less than 4 percent of the total
population. Though enrolment of females in the universities has increased to 10
percent, yet it is alarmingly at a very low level. Only 400,000 female students
were enrolled against a population of 86 million women according to mid 2009
estimates. The poor representation of the 51 percent population of the nation in
higher education demands emergent steps to rectify the situation.
the quality of our existing institutions in terms of teaching and research
cannot be compared with the rest of the developing world, let alone the
developed world. The quality of research is even worse than our teaching
standard. It is a common practice in our universities to carry out fake research
based on trivial results and sometimes on plagiarism. The biggest fault of our
research is its non-linkage with social and societal system without which our
society cannot get benefit from the efforts of our research, even if it is a
genuine and scholarly work.
Another challenge is that the government and funding agencies as they sometimes
dictate the institutions which makes them less productive. Moreover the
universities are administered in a bureaucratic leadership style which does not
provide enough space for the people to participate with vigour and enthusiasm
that leads to dissatisfaction in among faculty members and students. The overall
environment is not at all progressive. There is no second opinion that a liberal
environment is a prerequisite if we want our system to be productive.
Finally, a very important aspect of our university life is the violence and
unrest caused by our students. The biggest cause of this nonsense phenomenon is
incessant interference of political parties in our institutions for the sake of
their political gains. The government should take concrete steps to eradicate
all sort of political interference in our institutions, be it from radical and
conservative religious groups or from liberal and progressive political parties.
The higher education institutions are for education only and these should not be
the battlegrounds of political conflicts. Any political party, which has a
student wing functional in universities, must be advised to avoid such practices
through legal and constitutional bindings.
The writer is a professor at the
University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore and currently research fellow
at the Monash University, Australia. -By Dr Tauseef Aized
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Teachers await promised incentives
Islamabad: Lack of will in bureaucracy and the procedural delays have marred the
introduction of new service structure for teaching staff in the Federal Capital,
an initiative (taken by the teaching community) to restore teachers' morale and
There has been no specific policy with regard to promotion of
teachers at 435 schools of the Capital while all the provincial governments have
announced special packages for the teaching community. In Punjab, new service
structure for schoolteachers was introduced in September 2007 while NWFP
government upgraded their teaching posts in October in the same year while
Balochistan and AJK governments elevated the status of schoolteachers in 2008.
In Pakistan Metric Trained Teacher (MTT) are kept in BPS-09 and Trained
Undergraduate Teacher (TUGT) are given BPS-14. The emoluments of the primary
teacher hardly offers a worthwhile incentive for performing at the optimum
level," lamented a teacher. The introduction of new service structure for
teaching staff in educational institution situated in the capital was approved
on August 21, 2007 by the government.
According to the proposal the minimum
qualification of primary teachers will be B.A/B.Sc. with preference for B.Ed.
They may be placed in BS-16 and re-designated as Junior Lady Teachers.
Similarly, minimum qualification for teachers at secondary level was decided to
be M.A/M.Sc. They may be redesignated as Lecturers and placed in BS-17.
Earlier, the case for the up-gradation of the posts of teaching staff was
referred to the Finance Division for their concurrence but the Finance Division
referred it to the Establishment Division. Education Ministry had proposed the
implementation of the new service structure for the teachers from July 1 but due
to the delaying tactics by the officials of the ministries the decision was not
As the teaching posts in ICT institutions are in low grades,
the candidates from Sindh, Balochistan and even from NWFP do not find any
attraction in these posts due to which provincial quota posts of these provinces
mostly remain vacant for years.
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QAU VC, HEC served notices in academic's promotion case
Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued notices to Vice Chancellor
(VC) Quaid-i-Azam University and Higher Education Commission (HEC) in a writ
petition filed by an Assistant Professor of the university regarding his
Justice Raja Saeed Akram directed the respondents to file their
para wise comments within two weeks and adjourned the hearing.
details, the petitioner Dr Syed Anwar Iqbal, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
department of the university moved the court through his counsel Advocate
Mushtaq Hussain and made Quaid-i-Azam University through its Vice Chancellor and
Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan through its chairman respondents in
In his petition, Dr Syed Anwar stated that he applied for the post
of associate professor of Anthropology at the university in response to an
advertisement in national media and according to procedure a departmental
committee was constituted which was responsible to scrutinize the applicants'
He added that after the scrutiny, the dossier was sent to the dean
Faculty of Social Sciences for his remarks but the then Dean Prof Zafar Iqbal
Cheema instead of participating in scrutiny went on leave for a few days and
passed on this file to Prof Naveed-i-Rahat as an acting dean who wrote very
negative and pessimistic remarks and disqualified the applicant on age of
previous ten years long personal based enmity of Dr Naveed-i-Rahat with the
Dr Anwar continued that when this dossier reached the VC, he was
shocked to notice Dr Naveed's participation in this scrutiny procedure and sent
his dossier to foreign experts.
He informed the court that later, the
selection board, in view of foreign experts' reports and his vast experience in
the field of Anthropology, selected him as associate professor.
added that the syndicate of the university deferred his selection with the
comments to have a review on his validity of score of publications.
in his petition that respondents No 2 be directed to submit his judicious
comments on the petitioner's publication in the light of comments received from
He further prayed that respondents No 1 may be
directed to approve his promotion on the basis of report of selection board with
all back benefits. The Nation
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Preston University Convocation
Islamabad: Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek will be chief guest
at the 32nd convocation of Preston University on June 23. This mega event will
be held at Jinnah Convention Centre, said a press release issued here. Bachelors
and masters degrees will be conferred upon more than 350 graduates at the
convocation. Gold medallions and merit certificates will also be awarded to the
graduates who have stood first in their respective fields of specialisation. The News
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