An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Problems in Pakistani Education Establishment

The article discusses issues with the education system in Pakistan… specifically after the "reforms"! I feel this may also be true of India to a great extent. Growth brings lowering of standards if it is not managed well.

Four undergraduates from the new Air University here dash up, breathless, to talk to a visitor from abroad one afternoon in November. "We heard you are asking students about their views on Pakistan’s higher education, and we really want to talk about it," says Sidra Haque, a bespectacled telecommunications-engineering major, fashionably clad in a form-fitting pink tunic and loose trousers known as a shalwar kameez. "You know there isn’t a single Ph.D. among our professors?"

Her friend Sana Iqbal chimes in. "And the ones with a bachelor’s degree don’t have enough grasp on the subjects they are teaching us," she says. "If they don’t know enough, how can we learn?"

Over the past four years, Pakistan’s higher-education budget has increased more than sevenfold, to about $449-million. While that amounts to only 0.5 percent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product, it is a big improvement from the days of barely enough to pay "measly salaries and basic bills," says Atta-ur-Rahman, chairman of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission.

But for Ms. Haque and her friends, along with many of Pakistan’s most respected academics, the influx of money has done little good. Instead, they say, the slapdash methods of the government’s reform efforts have done more to widen the cracks in an already weak infrastructure than to lay the foundation for an educational renaissance.

"When you feed a starving person through a fire hydrant, it causes a lot of near-deadly digestive problems," says Isa Daudpota, an Islamabad-based education consultant.

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