Books on research projects at universities
Books on research projects at Pakistan / Foriegn universities
Islamabad: Prof Dr Moinuddin Aqeel is a strange person. Strange in the sense that
he is among those few men of letters whose primary concern is research
- in a society that has no love for research and relishes hearsay
instead. A research scholar to the core, Aqeel sahib was the first
person to carry out a research on Urdu research. His book Pakistan mein
Urdu tehqeeq, published some 22 years ago by Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu,
surveyed the topics and the standard of Urdu research that had been
published till then. An author of some 45 books, most of which are
based on pure research, he has not only been associated with research
projects at universities in Pakistan, but has an enviable research
experience at foreign universities also.
What happens when
such a man becomes head of a university's Urdu department? Yes, you are
right: research activities - the primary function of any university -
get a boost. I may safely assume that of late there must have been a
lot of work going on at the newly created Urdu department of the
International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) as it is now headed
by Prof Aqeel. An idea of the department's working may be had even by
looking over the first issue of its research journal Mayar.
In his brief editorial note, Dr Aqeel has mentioned quite a few points
that are worth pondering. He says: "As a result of encouragement and
incentives offered by the Higher Education Commission, we have seen a
commendable increase in the quality and quantity of research works in
Pakistan during the last few years. This holds true not only for social
sciences, but the editing and publication of research journals has also
experienced a marked improvement. Until a few years ago, the research
activities of teachers at our universities were not satisfactory but
now most of the government universities, their departments of social
sciences and especially the faculties of languages and literature are
engaged in meaningful research and the regular publication of research
journals from various varsities has created a healthy competitive
Another concern of his is enhancing the
standards of research, and he says: "It is manifest by the selection of
its topics for research that the nascent department of Urdu at the IIUI
is determined to achieve a modern, scientific and international
research standard. We discourage research projects that are
superficial, cursory or trite or are of personal interest as they have
no utility in the wider perspective of society and futuristic
Here, Dr Aqeel has rubbed a vein that hurts most
as far as Urdu research is concerned. It is disturbing that Urdu
departments at most of our universities cannot think beyond what is
apparent. They are content with hackneyed and old topics when it comes
to research. Take dissertations, for example, upon which our
universities have conferred degrees recently. Most would be limited to
a few areas and maximum number of these theses would be titled "XYZ:
Shakhsiat aur fun" (personality and art). What is ridiculous is the
fact that most of the personalities that these dissertations carry out
research on are either third-rate authors or somehow related to the
so-called research scholars.
The contents of this newly born
star are dazzling and include some real big names of Urdu research and
criticism such as Haneef Naqvi, Abu Salman Shahjahanpuri, Muhammad Ayub
Qadri, Arif Naushahi and Muhammad Umer Memon. The journal has six
sections and each one has some exciting research articles. The first
section has papers on research techniques, sources for research and
editing of texts. Khalid Sanjrani has introduced a newly discovered
letter of Allama Iqbal addressed to a German aristocrat. Another
article, written by Muhammad Yameen Usman, in this section gives some
interesting information about Begum Atiya Fayzee's life and her
A very special portion is one that deals with
documents of archival importance. A rare correspondence between Ghalib
and Mir Syed Ali Ghamgeen (1753-1851) has been reproduced. Iqbal's much
talked-about poem Shama aur shaer had lured many translators and they
tried their hand on it. It was rendered into English in 1925 by M.
Rashid and was published in book form from Los Angeles. This rare and
the earliest English translation of the poem adorns the English section
Here one has to talk about the editor Moinuddin
Aqeel again because in addition to a note to a paper, there are at
least three research papers that bear the name of Mayar as author. It
simply means that Dr Aqeel has penned them and has withheld his name
since he shuns publicity. This aspect makes Aqeel sahib stranger still.
Dr Najeeba Arif, the co-editor, has beautifully translated a very
useful research paper from English. Titled "Aids to reading Persian
manuscripts, from editorial point of view", the paper gives some useful
guidelines for editors and compilers of Persian literature.
Citing the references and enlisting the sources has always been an
apple of discord in Urdu research and different scholars have been
applying different methods. Mayar has set an example in this sphere,
too, and the students of research (and their supervisors as well) can
learn a trick or two if they study the citations of the papers
published in the journal with the intent to update their knowledge in
this regard as well.
What makes Mayar rare is its avoidance
of self-glorification: the title does not carry the name of the editor
though the research journals of other universities print it in bold
letters. It does not carry messages from higher-ups either. Written by
their personal assistants or secretaries, these messages do not add to
any research journal's value, or any publication for that matter.
True to its name Mayar, the research journal, has set a new benchmark
for research journals in Pakistan. It is not very often that a newborn
journal's first issue becomes a standard in itself by which the quality
of others may be measured. If I recall correctly, there had been only
one such example in the past, Tehqeeq, the research journal of Sindh
Universit's Urdu department. With its first issue in 1988, Tehqeeq
became a specimen of what a research journal should be like. The then
chief editor of Tehqeeq, Dr Najmul Islam, gave a standard. And now,
with the publication of Mayar's first issue, in a changed environment
and different perspective, we have another standard of
quality. Dr. Rauf Parekh
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Shortage, quality focus of World Teachers Day
Islamabad: World Teachers Day being observed on Monday
spotlights global teacher shortage and challenges of being an educator
today, besides mobilising support for the teachers.
play a leading role in giving students the knowledge, attitudes and
values that help them understand the world and become agents of change.
Analysis of a report commissioned by OECD shows that teacher
quantity and quality issues are clearly inter-linked. School systems
often respond to teacher shortages in the short-term by some
combination of lowering qualification requirements for entry to the
profession; assigning teachers to teach in subject areas in which they
are not fully qualified; increasing the number of classes that teachers
are allocated, or by increasing class sizes.
The findings and
policy concerns could be taken as evidence that teaching is a
profession in long-term decline. As societies have become wealthier and
educational qualifications increased and employment opportunities
expanded, teaching's appeal as a path to upward social mobility and job
security does seem to have diminished.
At a time when the
global economic slowdown risks putting tight constraints on education
budgets, it is critical that governments support the recruitment,
training and professional development of teachers, according to Unesco.
Countries are committed to reaching the goal of Universal
Primary Education by 2015. In order to achieve this, they need to
ensure that sufficient school places are provided, enough teachers for
quality instruction employed and school systems function effectively.
Many of the countries that are challenged to reach UPE are also facing
population growth which further increases the pressure to expand school
systems and teaching forces.
Unesco says countries striving
towards 'Education for All' around the world will have to ensure that
there are 1.9 million more teachers in classrooms than there are today.
In addition to creating these new posts, school systems will have to
compensate for attrition as older teachers retire.
So to meet
the needs associated with EFA and attrition, an estimated total of 10.3
million teachers will need to be recruited in just eight years.
In Pakistan, the National Education Policy 2009 underscores the need
for reforms in the teaching profession and admits that the presence of
incompetence in such a huge quantity and permeation of malpractices in
the profession have eroded the once exalted position enjoyed by
teachers under the eastern cultural milieu. In fact, teaching has
become the employment of last resort of most educated young persons,
The education policy recognises that the
quality of teachers in the public sector was unsatisfactory. Poor
quality of teachers in the system in large numbers is owed to the
mutations in governance, an obsolete pre-service training structure and
a less than adequate in-service training regime.
states that reform is required in all areas: pre-service training and
standardisation of qualifications; professional development, teacher
remuneration, career progression and status, and governance and
management of the teaching workforce. The growth of private sector was
adding new complexities to the teaching profession and needs to be
taken into account in any reform of the system.
government pledges to provide opportunities to all teachers for
professional development and ensure teacher recruitment, professional
development, promotions and postings on the basis of merit, the
prevailing situation speaks of alarming situation.
in Pakistan often complain of low salary structure, poor working
conditions and inadequate career development opportunities in addition
to politicising of appointment in public sector institutions. The
situation in rural areas is much worse than in urban areas.
The Punjab government has taken a good initiative to recognise the
brilliance of students by awarding position holders with cash prizes
and inviting them to Murree as state guests. But teachers also need to
be encouraged and a reward system should be initiated based on
APP adds: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza
Gilani has called upon the people to acknowledge their teachers as a
role model and source of inspirations.
In his message on
World Teachers' Day, he said, "Today, the entire world is celebrating
the teachers' day. We too in Pakistan join hands with the world
community in paying homage and respect to our teachers, who in so many
ways have made a difference in our lives."
He said if one
recalls one's student life, he or she can definitely identify the
period of his or her education not with subjects or books but with the
teachers who inspired them. Dawn
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Civil society should restore glory of teaching profession
Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani have urged all stakeholders, civil society organisations and the
people to play their role in restoring the teaching profession to its
pristine glory and acknowledge role of teachers in education
In a message on the occasion of World Teachers' Day
falling on October 5, he said the day should serve as a reminder that
teacher is the most central element and critical link in the chain of
The President said, "In the scheme of
education a teacher is like the thread that holds the beads together.
They are our soldiers in fighting the battle of minds and ideas."
as wars cannot be fought with materials and weapons alone so the fight
for minds and ideas too cannot be fought by material resources alone.
No material investment in brick and mortar or in the laboratories and
text books can replace the intellectual and spiritual stimulus that is
provided by the teacher alone."
"The observance of the World
Teachers' Day today therefore should awaken us to realise our social
responsibility to give the teachers their rightful place in the
"Students want to see their teachers radiate sincerity and
commitment as they spread knowledge and wisdom. They expect and want to
see them as missionaries and as leaders who inspire and motivate them
to greater heights, Zardari said adding, "Remember that no matter what
height is attained by a student his teacher will always stand at a
Gilani in his message called upon Pakistanis
to acknowledge teachers as role models and source of inspiration.
the entire world is celebrating the World Teachers' Day. We too in
Pakistan join hands with the world community in paying homage and
respect to our teachers, who in so many ways have made a difference in
our lives," he said.
"When we look back at the turning points in our
lives, we invariably find a beacon in the form of a teacher, who though
humble in appearance in all odds, with sheer conviction and commitment,
has been busy in shaping our lives for our better future," he added.
thanked his teachers for guiding him through an important phase of his life. app
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