Higher Education in Pakistan: Ills and Remedies
Introduction to Higher Education
Higher education in Pakistan (or anywhere!) is tertiary-level education. After higher education, one is awarded a professional academic degree. Whether it is a PhD or a Bachelor’s, it is termed tertiary education. However, higher education is not limited to engineering degrees. It includes professional schools. These schools administer rigorous preparation in fields such as theology. And even music.
Usually, only students who have attained the age of (at least) 18 years are considered. But there have been exceptions.
Higher education hails from Europe. The first university was established there during the Middle Ages. This was followed by higher educational institutes in the US, Germany and France.
And through sheer influence, less developed countries followed suit.
Unfortunately, this is where the trouble began.
Higher Education in Less Developed Countries
Underdeveloped economies soon began to form their own higher educational institutions. They were heavily inspired by developed countries. Alas, this was not favorable. These countries did not need another scholar well-versed in Western literature. These countries needed technocrats who could address the problems in that particular area.
There were language and cultural barriers. The West were quick to publish the greatest books in English. Other countries found the language difficult to follow. That is, until they began replacing their native languages with English. Examples include Ghana, South Africa, and Pakistan.
In spreading their knowledge, the Industrialized nations spread their cultures as well. For most countries, accepting the information meant accepting the culture. And this did not stand well with some nations.
Read more: The Feminism Wave versus Pakistani Culture
Higher Education in Pakistan
The Pakistani education system is flawed. From the first painting in kindergarten to the coveted PhD degree: it is flawed. After much critical analysis, the following causes of this flawed system have been identified.
1. Little uniformity
Some students are completing their FSc and Matricualtion while others are completing their O levels. One is studying in a convent school, and the other is in a co-educational system. Here, uniforms are not compulsory. There, you can’t come to school without your nails cut properly!
These increasing differences have polarized the educational system in Pakistan. This meant social and economic division and utter chaos.
2. Direction-less education
Education is a basic human right. It is so fundamental that where religions and societies differ, they agree on imparting proper education. Despite this, Pakistan fails to provide cohesive education. Skill sets are shunned while rote-learning and repetition are encouraged. In the long-run, we have structural unemployment. The workforce just does not cut it with the outmoded skills.
3. Ancient syllabus
Have you ever looked at a Matric board science book? What about history? The concepts and theories mentioned are simply outdated. In universities, the professors are bent on teaching old techniques. The books themselves promote memorizing without learning. Therefore, a student has to rely on his/her memory to pass the exams.
Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college. But they both dropped out of Harvard, a top Ivy League University They were both from the US. The US had supportive structures conducive to their business activities. Whereas Pakistan has a long way to go. And with students dropping out to support their family business (or maybe to marry someone) it may take even longer.
5. Low Quality Teachers
The teachers seldom have interest in their students’ learning process. In fact, they are focused on making their own names. They appear to be busy writing their own papers while their students continuously flunk tests. Higher education in Pakistan is even worse in remote areas. Buildings are shabby and teachers may not even turn up for class. Therefore, students feel demotivated, thus enabling the cycle of drop-outs.
6. External and Internal Influences
Externally, Pakistan is a victim of political interference. Internally, Pakistan has to put up with exploitation. Also, nepotism is abundant. A talent-less and lazy person may get a job because of his father’s contacts.
7. Other Issues
Other problems that plague higher education in Pakistan include:
- Few resources
- Substandard exams
- Poor supervision
- Ineffective polivies
- Small budgets
- Little to no development of teachers
Education is important in developing every aspect of life. Through effective education, countries have been able to soar. Higher education in Pakistan, though, continues to feed students outdated fodder. Where new skills should be taught, ancient books are memorized. Where we should encourage critical thinking, we are building robots for the job market.
To ensure quality education, the first step would be to increase the budget allocation. Where there’s money, there’s a way. This will also provide much-needed resources. Teachers must train properly and they must equip themselves with tools for polishing their students’ skills. Authors must update their books regularly. Instead of outdated techniques, they can write new and innovative material.
Politics should separate itself from education. These two must not mix, whatever the reason. Additionally, this will positively affect the examination system. Perhaps nepotism can be eliminated altogether. In higher education systems in Pakistan, teachers must promote research. They could hire research assistants or set out tasks concerning research. Whatever the technique, critical thinking is vital.
Without accountability. the education sector cannot be successful. All those involved in the education system must own up to their responsibilities. Policy makers should implement policies smoothly.
On a final note, there is a dire need for a change in the mind-set of most people. Even with the best resources and training, there is only so much good education can do. Especially on rigid minds. As a nation, we must learn tolerance, peace and flexibility. Without the will to change, we can never get anywhere.