Caretaker Federal Minister for Education and professional training Muhammad Yousaf Shaikh has emphasised for conducting result oriented research to enable both students and faculty to play their role in the economic development of the country. He expressed these views during visit to GIK. The Minister lauded the modern facilities available to the students and education acquiring environment in GIK institute.
Barring a few institutions, our higher education is plagued by numerous inefficiencies that negatively impacts research environment. The lack of friendly attitude of the faculty, dearth of high-tech equipments in science and engineering labs, reference books and top notch international research journals hinder the result oriented research in public sector universities. Higher education receives the worst deal in resource allocations and even the scarce education budget is not judiciously utilised.
Higher education has been devolved to the provinces under 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 2010. Since then, the quality of education has rapidly declined. There is acute shortage of equipments in science labs and the available ones are obsolete. It is the availability of high-tech equipments that facilitates quality research in the institutions of higher education. Millions are being spent on the constructions of new buildings in public sector universities but instrumentations of science labs are utterly neglected. Instrumentation of labs and development of skills of both faculty and students to operate start-of- art equipments is essential to conduct quality research.
There is a dearth of books in the universities and the students can not afford the purchase of costly books to carry on their research of their M Phil and PhD programmes. Likewise, they can not pay subscription for downloading the research material from reputed international journals with high impact factor. It is the responsibility of the government to provide funds to the universities solely for the purpose of subscription to the top notch journals so that each enrolled student is provided with an access ID. This suggestion is not a new idea as it has been practiced in countries abroad.
The students face difficulties in publication of their research in international journals to remit a few hundred dollars because Pay Pal account do not exists. On the other hand banks facilitate billions of dollars money-laundering. It is for the government to remove this obstacle.
The curricula of engineering and pure sciences need updating to keep abreast new inventions and research works. In Pakistan, proper attention is not given to curriculum modernizations by introducing practical input. Higher Education Commission (HEC) was the only deciding authority before the enactment of 18th Amendment but the commission had no idea whatsoever to improve and enhance the quality or research, rather they shifted their hard work on quantity and not quality. If HEC had done their mandated job the situation would have been different and some universities of Pakistan could have achieved ranking in the 500 universities of Asia.
Faculty is not appointed on merit but under the influence of university syndicate and political elite. Attitude of the faculty plays a vital role in the dissemination of knowledge. The friendly attitude of faculty stimulates and encourage students’ quest for modern knowledge and their oppressive behavior discourage students yearning for knowledge. It is a common practice in public sector universities that supervisors do not vet the research work on time. The public defense and viva of BS student’s takes place one year after the completion of course work and they wait another year for the award of degree. The duration of course work and research of M Phil programme is two year, but due to the delaying tactics of supervisors students get their degrees after four years. Likewise, the supervisors take more than one year to vet the research work of PhD students and that could not be sent to external examiners abroad for evaluation on time. The long cherished goal of result oriented research could be achieved only when research environment is improved in the institutions of higher education.