Ms Sundal Hamad Mufti
Higher Education institution/Degree awarding institution plays a pivotal role for growth and development on national level. Progress of nations are dependent on their youth and this segment of society can contribute significantly towards betterment of society, only if they are equipped with required skills set and education.
That is a reason that globally our economies are in transition towards knowledge-based economy.
Same case with Pakistan,
The smooth and effective functioning of educational institution requires appropriate funds. In Pakistan there are broadly universities are categorized in following three segments.
Public Sector Universities
Semi Government Universities
Private Sector Universities
Public Sector Universities are those which are fully financially supported by Government of Pakistan. They received recurring, development grants for universities operational & development activities including payment to faculty/management/Administration/support staff etc, infrastructure development, upgradation and for other overhead expenditures. Whereas Semi Government are those which are partially sponsored by Govt but mainly relaying on revenue generation through fee collection. And the third category is Private Sector Universities, those 100% rely on tuition fees.
Pakistan has 152 Public Sector/Semi Govt and 56 private sector universities responsible for education at UG and PG Level.
These Public/semi Govt universities are fully sponsored by Federal /Provincial Govt., hence have very minimum fee structure, on the other hand Private Sector have comparatively very high fee structure as they have to run all the businesses of universities through collection of tuition fee Despite of the fact, universities are entitled of Government funding or generating funds though fee collection, still needs more finances to operate in a much better way. Due to advancement in technology, we are now competing globally, so for sustainability in term of Quality education and best services we need to build our institution up to the international standards. It can only be done once universities are financially stable and independent. Financial model depending on Govt grants and fee structure is very weak because incase if Govt impose heavy cut on grants or there is some dip experience to universities in their admission can extremely damage the university operations activities.
There are many avenues that can contribute to the sustainability of an educational institution and perhaps the most important among them is to raise funding from external sources or generate from their own sources, both can be fall under the domain of Endowments. University endowments are comprised of liquid cash or other financial assets that are donated to educational institutions. Donations raised though charity are prime source of funds for endowments.
Endowment funds usually in educational institutions support the recurring, development , R&D,or any other related expenses.
It has been experienced worldwide in last year and even this year that due to Covid-19 Pandemic there is swerve economic recession, universities budget are either cut down or cap by GoP due to unavailability of funds. And private sector which are relying on fee structure are struggling to cope up with their expenditures as facing short fall in new admissions.
By looking at present scenario, there is a dire need that Universities start looking ways and means to raise funds in endowment. Few universities in Pakistan have already taken lead on this perspective and very much successful in funds generation. IBA Karachi, LUMS, NUST are best examples, however they are struggling more as fund generation for institutions has to be lifelong process. These institutions have taken the lead by using their own resources. However as per Endowment Fund Association (EFA) rating of 500 top universities of world ranked based on funds generation in endowments, non of the Pakistan based university fall under their published list( University Endowment Fund Rankings – The Endowment 500 (endowments.com)) When it comes to charitable giving, Pakistan is a generous country. It contributes more than one percent of its GDP to charity, which pushes it into the ranks of far wealthier countries like the United Kingdom (1.3 percent GDP to charity) and Canada (1.2 percent of GDP) ( Shazia M. Amjad & Muhammad Ali Mar. 19, 2018.
Despite of the fact that Pakistani people are generous in giving but still trend to support higher education is very less. It can be because of lack of awareness among Philanthropists or may be universities never explore this side, for funds generation.
Now universities have realized that relaying on Government funding and revenue through fee collection is not sufficient. They must work on for self-sustainability through funds raising for their survival and growth. It has also been observed that these days universities are struggling to work on to establish and grow their endowment funds.
The basic steps need to be adopted at University level are;
a) HEI’s needs to establish dedicated offices & hire team of motivated professionals who can run their endowment departments.
b) Design effective policy guideless and strategy to raise funds.
c) Earmark targets in order to be more effective and result oriented.
d) Formulate small teams within different department to work for endowments.
e) Unless you have clear objective and projects to be shared with stakeholders, cant motivate them to contribute.
Before designing strategy, one must know who are target audience. As far as universities are concern following can be potential donors
. Alumni, (time to inculcate among them that its time to pay back)
. Concern Industry for which you are producing graduates.
. NGO’s/Donor agencies
. Parents of the students, etc
Fund generation through financial contribution can one of the pillar for endowment, but there can be many other ways to support endowments like earning through offering consultancies, providing solution to real time issues, offering industrial trainings etc.
In the last we conclude that Universities across Pakistan have realized that their long-term financial sustainability is dependent on how early they can learn to be financially self-sustain i.e relaying on Govt funding or tuition fee is not a wise solution.
Here Leadership can play a pivotal role by leading, as they can be influential to channelize the resources for fund raising, converting their institutions financially independent. Leadership role is to give vision, strategy and to lead the fund generation activities and most important is to motivate & inspire their team. It will also help to get fruitful results as their social networking is much better and same can help to achieve desired results.
Universities have resources available through which they can begin to raise funding in order to stand on their feet. It can only be successfully done if universities open their doors for industries and provide solution to them on real time problems, which can only be done through strengthening academia-industry-linkages. For the same purpose ORIC offices are established in universities and they should play their role. Heavy endowment can also help universities to improve quality of education.