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Dearth of academic research in Pakistan.

Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by Perceptron, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Perceptron

    Perceptron BANNED

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    Dearth of research
    [HR][/HR]
    From the Newspaper | Huma Yusuf
    [HR][/HR]
    I RECENTLY heard about a young Western academic who spent a decade in rural Punjab conducting ethnographic research for his PhD.

    On completing the degree, he took up a research position in India. Why border-hop and abandon the networks and research base that took years to establish? Apparently, the academic wanted a job in a place where his family could live with him.


    Moreover, the shift was seen as a strategic career move because there are more opportunities (collaborations, research grants, dedicated university departments) to pursue research on India than Pakistan.

    This individual’s trajectory points to the serious dearth of academic research and publishing about Pakistan under way at Western higher-education institutions. That there is little literature about Pakistan may be hard to believe: it seems as if a book on Pakistan is published every other day by foreigners looking to cash in on tricky geopolitics. But these books focus almost exclusively on security and terrorism and are often published by journalists, diplomats or former military officials addressing policymakers or lay readers.

    Serious academic research on Pakistan — involving extensive datasets, historical contextualisation, scientific evidence or ethnographic research, particularly in the social sciences — remains hard to come by. It is even more rarely conducted by a foreigner as opposed to a Pakistani citizen or expat.

    Heady nationalists may ask why this is a problem. Why do we need foreigners telling us about our country? Primarily because Pakistani academics based at local universities aren’t doing the job, and someone has to.

    The current state of higher education in Pakistan is no secret: with a few private-sector exceptions, our universities are under-resourced, poorly staffed, highly politicised, incapable of producing original research that will be published by international academic journals and plagued by plagiarism. The level of critical thinking currently imparted in public-sector universities can be gauged by recent news reports that the Pakistani Taliban are successfully recruiting college students, and of course by the unquestioning embrace of the ‘water car’.

    The lack of rigorous academic research in the fields of economics, climate change, political science, sociology and dozens of other disciplines is consistently reflected in poor policymaking. Pakistan is younger, more urban, more middle class, more resource-starved and more connected than ever before. Anyone who knows the country well can sense this, but little data exists to quantify and chart these changes and thus inform adequate policymaking.

    Good service delivery is impossible in an information vacuum — how can you plan for medium-term developments if you don’t know what’s going on? While Pakistani academia flounders, foreign researchers are well-situated to compile important datasets to guide policy.

    Foreign researchers can also help kick-start better academic culture at Pakistani universities. Along with their knowledge and expertise, they will bring grant money, training in new methodologies, ties to international universities, and introductions to journal editors and networks of other academics who could be tempted to work in Pakistan.

    Academics could also serve as invaluable interlocutors with foreign governments on Pakistan’s behalf since they are the experts that politicians consult when devising foreign policy.

    While based in Washington on a fellowship, I noticed that academics working on Pakistan were regularly courted by the policy community, and inevitably had a more nuanced view of the country than former military and intelligence officials or diplomats whose opinions are also solicited.

    Many of those academics had lived in Pakistan for several years, spoke Urdu or another regional language, and boasted friends — not contacts — who kept them abreast of developments within Pakistan. Their advice to government officials often highlighted Pakistani interests and concerns. Such interlocutors will prove more important in coming years as academia and policy intermingle further.

    Increasingly, governments rely on professors to endow dubious or controversial foreign policies with gravitas. Take the example of Bradley Strawser, a professor of philosophy who argues that the US is morally obliged to use drones, and is unsurprisingly being thrust before the media gaze as often as possible.

    As an academic, Strawser does not have the taint of a government or military official and can therefore earn the public’s respect and trust. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were another academic who had researched drones in Pakistan to counter Strawser’s views with the moral force that academic integrity offers?

    Pakistan’s global image could also benefit from encouraging international academics to do in-country field research. Right now, most foreigners writing about Pakistan are international correspondents whose jobs revolve around making headlines — unfortunately for us, bad news sells.

    But no one is writing about the subtle changes that don’t make for quick news stories: the growing presence of women in the workplace, mobile-phone entrepreneurship, indigenous sustainable farming practices, the slow embrace of solar power among Punjabi villagers. If analysed by academia, these aspects of Pakistan will eventually seep into global consciousness through public lectures, journalism and travelogues.

    To their credit, Pakistan’s policymakers have already acknowledged the immense value of foreign academics. The National Education Policy 2009 calls for foreign experts to monitor educational quality and supports increased collaborations with international universities.

    Soon after its creation, the Higher Education Commission also launched a Foreign Faculty Hiring Programme, which sought to attract up to 300 foreign academics to Pakistani universities annually. However, in a 2006 evaluation of its Medium-Term Development Framework, the HEC acknowledged that the programme had met with little success owing to concerns among local faculty that foreigners would introduce ‘foreign influences’ and steal jobs.

    In other words, it seems that Pakistan’s higher-education system has fallen victim to the same paranoia and xenophobia as society at large, sadly to its own detriment and that of the country’s.

    The writer is a freelance journalist.

    huma.yusuf@gmail.com
    Twitter: @humayusuf
     
  2. Dubious

    Dubious RETIRED MOD

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    Totally...There ARE more in India as compared to Pakistan

    True again....Mostly because the upper calss - diplomats and former military officials have the resources and SADLY THINK they are a genius by producing a book which usually doesn't give the best image of Pakistan...


    True in MOST universities...in MOST cases! There seems politics involved in every level...The PhD students who come here on "SCHOLARSHIP" seem to missuse the govt's money = they usually are politically connected (NOT ALWAYS) and try to stay as long as they want...With UK "selling" its education...Any level of a bimbo can get a PhD from here as long as you have funding! The researchers who come to Cambridge University try to throw around their authority...DISGUSTING...just because you are at a higher position doesn't mean others should bow at you! GROSS PEOPLE!

    And then plagiarism! That is whole different issue!

    TOTALLY AGREED!

    Pakistan education system is too tangled in politics...Especially with mentality which is outdated...where if you know someone someone then you have a good post/ research grant or a scholarship! And the occasional lucky people get selected when it should be TOTALLY based on metric and not connections!

    The education system should be independent of the political system...the politics haunting the country should not have any role in trying to drive the system according to their thinking..
     
  3. Damadji

    Damadji FULL MEMBER

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    According to hasan nisar pakistan needs a education emergency to get rid of jahalat and lanat.
     
  4. MM_Haider

    MM_Haider SENIOR MEMBER

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    Laurels for Pakistani research

    Dr Javaid R Laghari
    Thursday, August 02, 2012
    From Print Edition

    Scimago, an independent research organisation and an international evaluation and ranking platform which analyses scientific outputs of institutions and countries and monitors over 30,000 journals, is considered one of the most credible databases in the world of research. Its most recent publication http:// Scimago Lab /blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/forecasting-excercise.pdf is a forecasting exercise on how the world will perform in research by 2018 based on their past performance. The top 50 countries are included in the forecast.

    While China, as expected, becomes the number one country in the world by 2018 in terms of research output, three countries stand out and show the most drastic increase in numbers and rankings: Iran, Malaysia and Pakistan. Iran moves ahead from number 19 to number 4, Malaysia from 30 to 13, and Pakistan from 43 to 27. The expected output of research in Pakistan moving up 16 notches, which is the second highest increase worldwide, is primarily due to the innovative higher education policies and reforms taking place in Pakistan under the Higher Education Commission (HEC). :pakistan:

    In Pakistan, under the HEC, in addition to quality reforms, there has been a strong resurgence of research and innovation. In particular, there is a significant growth in the number of PhDs awarded out of Pakistani universities. The numbers speak for themselves. In the first 55 years since Pakistan’s independence, a total of 3281 PhDs were awarded at Pakistani universities. However, since the establishment of the HEC in 2002, over 4000 PhDs have been awarded to-date, which is more than what was awarded in the previous 55 years.

    The number of PhDs awarded per year has now increased from a low of 200 in 2002 to over 850 in the year 2011, and it is expected that over 1000 PhDs will be awarded in 2012. There is a renewed focus on engineering and technology, agriculture, biological sciences, business education and social sciences, which are relevant subjects important for the socio-economic development of Pakistan.

    This increase in PhD awards is despite the fact that standards for the award of a PhD degree are today stricter than in the past, and even more than those in developed countries. There is a GRE-type entrance test for all graduate programmes, with a GAT (General) required for admission to MPhil and a GAT subject in 59 disciplines required for PhD admission. Advanced coursework is required in addition to research.

    There is a zero tolerance policy on plagiarism, where every research paper, thesis and dissertation must be scrutinised by anti-plagiarism software before submission. All thesis and dissertation must be evaluated by at least two foreign referees in academically advanced countries in the relevant area of research. There is also a publication requirement in the HEC recognised journals. Degrees not following the above criteria will not be recognised.

    Despite having very limited funds, HEC supports many research initiatives through grants. There are split PhDs, post-doctoral fellowships and foreign faculty programmes. While research projects are supported, there are also collaborative and joint projects with the US, UK, German and other foreign universities which are also funded by their agencies.

    Support to host conferences as well as to attend them to present papers anywhere in the world is provided to PhD scholars and faculty. All new PhD faculty from the 7500 that have been awarded merit based scholarships are not only placed in universities at a respectable salary, but are also awarded a research grant. Just in the last three years, over 1100 new faculty have been placed in universities across Pakistan. Due to these incentives offered, there are hardly any defaults on returning scholars and the brain drain has also been significantly reversed.

    It is primarily due to this new flourishing research culture at the higher education institutions that the number of international research publications with impact factor has increased drastically by a factor of 8 in the last 10 years! While 816 impact factor papers were published in 2002, it has now increased to over 6300 in 2011, with the largest numbers of publications in areas of relevance to economic development.

    As a result of this phenomenal increase in research publications, the world share of Pakistan’s research has gone up by 300 percent in the last five years.:pakistan: In other words, Pakistan is taking back what it had lost out to the world in earlier years. And at the rate Pakistanis are publishing, Scimago forecasts that by 2018, the research output of Pakistan will exceed 29,661. We are beginning to earn our recognition and rightful place in the world scholarly community. Who knows there may be quite a few potential Nobel Laureates walking the corridors of our universities already.

    As a result of the reforms, which include research output, Pakistan’s higher education sector is finally beginning to appear on the world scene. While no university was ranked in the top universities of the world three years back, according to the most recent QS Asian Universities Rankings 2012, there are now six Pakistani universities that are ranked among the top 300 universities. Similarly, according to QS World Universities Ranking 2011, two Pakistani universities are ranked among the top 300 technology universities of the world. This is another achievement and recognition that has been widely acknowledged.

    But all of that may change and reverse if the higher education sector is not supported by the government. Despite having lost over 40 percent of its allocated development funding over the last three years, and receiving the funds today as it did in 2005, the higher education sector has performed exceptionally well. It is a moment for all Pakistanis to be proud of.

    While all other sectors in Pakistan have been showing a decline in performance, the HEC has stood its ground like a rock and is shining like a star among the dark skies. Not supporting higher education will be detrimental to our bulging youth population where the threat of extremism hangs over their head like the sword of Damocles. It is high time that the government and the political leadership should place their bet on a winning horse, for it is only an educated Pakistan that can lead this nation out of illiteracy and poverty into economic development and prosperity.

    The writer is chairperson Higher Education Commission. Email: jlaghari@ hec.gov.pk

    Laurels for Pakistani research - Dr Javaid R Laghari


    I believe Huma Yusuf should get the facts straight before posting such articles...
     
  5. kṣamā

    kṣamā FULL MEMBER

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    If the facts given here are correct and to be believed then I think Pakistan is headed towards a path of scientific enlightenment. Donn be shunned by some low life corrupt diplomat. Keep walking, u will achieve what u aim for.
     
  6. Sinnerman108

    Sinnerman108 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Dear,
    wake up and sniff the coffee.
    It is shameful that not only have you refused to accept facts, but you have tried to argue otherwise.
    The sooner we can remove the sense of denial and accept mistakes, the sooner we will find solutions.
     
  7. Stumper

    Stumper FULL MEMBER

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    But then, how do you really judge quality of Higher Education .. by Ph.D awarded , number of Patents ?

    Its very subjective and long debate!
     
  8. farhan_9909

    farhan_9909 PROFESSIONAL

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    DR attaurehman in an interview said

    the number of PHD per year is decreased to odd 240(zardari regime) from 690 alone in 2004(mushy time)

    one can find this video in youtube
    the title was i guess
    comparision b/w india and pakistan education system and the idea of centralized board system
     
  9. MM_Haider

    MM_Haider SENIOR MEMBER

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    did you really read the article?? or just wanted to increase your number of posts.. the article contains the facts and figures and read last two paragraphs as well.. till when our nation will be continued to be maligned by media!!!..
     
  10. Sinnerman108

    Sinnerman108 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Sigh ...



    Don't post without thinking ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2013
  11. Sinnerman108

    Sinnerman108 SENIOR MEMBER

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  12. xyxmt

    xyxmt BANNED

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    Its funny how Indian jump in to put their 3 sense in everything, pretending to be the masters of everything, I love reading their posts. Keep it up guys we need your advise every step of the way. We want to be educated, knowledgeable, wise and rich like India so please help your poor failed state neighbor
     
  13. Cloakedvessel

    Cloakedvessel FULL MEMBER

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    Awful..

    Is there any falsehood in this? -->

    Thinking Aloud: Plagiarism? What? — Razi Azmi

    It is common knowledge that, besides fake degrees (all the way to PhD), plagiarism is widespread in Pakistan, no less than cheating in examinations

    The political career of German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor Guttenberg, who was regarded as a potential future Chancellor, is in tatters. He felt compelled to resign ‘from all political offices’ after it was established that he had plagiarised his PhD thesis. As for any academic future, Guttenberg has been served a death sentence, after the University of Bayreuth decided to strip him of his PhD degree.

    The Vice-Chancellor of Peshawar University, Dr Azmat Hayat Khan, has reportedly resigned while the Higher Education Commission (HEC) investigates allegations of plagiarism against him. In a book published a few years ago, he is said to have copied large sections from another book, passing them off as his own.

    It is common knowledge that, besides fake degrees (all the way to PhD), plagiarism is widespread in Pakistan, no less than cheating in examinations. In fact, most students and many teachers, from high school to university, honestly believe that research essentially means bringing together relevant data and paragraphs from a wide array of published sources to, quite literally, assemble a coherent essay or thesis.

    Then there are the cases of outright academic robbery, where a teacher totally or substantially expropriates the results of a student’s research and publishes them under his/her own name. Mehwish Hameed, a PhD student of Botany in Karachi University, has gone to court accusing her supervisor of precisely that. She alleges that the supervisor published Mehwish’s entire thesis under her own name to win a Rs 700,000 research productivity allowance.

    Since the institution of a system of financial incentives from the HEC to promote research and encourage doctoral studies, plagiarism has spread like a disease with the same force as AIDS has in some African countries. While AIDS has cut lives short, plagiarism has stunted the intellectual growth and research abilities of most Pakistani graduates. We now have reached a point where a majority of university teachers are unable to teach to the level expected and the best they can do in terms of research is to steal from other sources or rob from the students they supervise.

    One indication of the depths to which we have fallen in regard to academic standards (and also moral level of politicians) is to hear the Balochistan Chief Minister, Aslam Raisani, say in response to a question about reports that several members of parliament hold fake Bachelor’s degrees, “It doesn’t matter whether they possess fake degrees; a degree is a degree.”

    Writing a book review for me at the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) about 20 years ago, one M Phil student had reproduced paragraph after paragraph from the book itself, as if they were his own. He did not change so much as a word. His own contribution was just one sentence, where he commented about the low price of the book.

    Another instance of plagiarism, which I remember from those days, was far more serious. A PhD candidate, with a first class Masters degree in International Relations from QAU (Pakistan’s best public university), submitted a ‘research’ paper on Pakistan-US relations which, long after its publication in a journal, was found to have been entirely lifted from a doctoral dissertation written by a Bangladeshi at an American University in the 1960s.

    On the sidelines of an academic conference in the US, an American professor complained to me that he found it very difficult to continue as an external examiner for doctoral dissertations for Karachi University. Soon after the dissertation to be evaluated would reach him, he would receive a phone call from the concerned head of department or professor requesting him, for one reason or another (personal, political, etc), to be lenient and make a favourable assessment.

    To the credit of Karachi University, however, it is one of the few public universities in Pakistan (QAU being another), which requires doctoral dissertations to be evaluated by at least one examiner from a foreign university. Most Pakistani universities utilise examiners from within the country. Surely, it is easier to ask for and expect favours from local examiners than it is from foreign ones.

    When the Area Studies Centre in QAU organized a Workshop in American Studies, as head of the centre, I sent out a letter to all Pakistani universities requesting them to provide us with a full list of their academic staff along with their fields of specialisation. My intention in so doing was to get the right people to attend, rather than the chairmen or their cohorts. Using that list, I invited those who were directly or indirectly connected with American Studies or interested to pursue it as a subject of specialisation. During the workshop, two lecturers from a Pakistani university sought me out to personally thank me for inviting them while wanting to know how it came about that they were invited when, as far as they knew, the rule was for the chairman himself to attend all conferences and seminars. A few weeks later, I got an angry letter from their chairman asking me to explain what criteria I had used for selecting participants and how he, a ‘senior academic’ (or words to that effect), was left out.

    Speaking of plagiarism, it is not the only pestilence that plagues Pakistan. One recalls the massive fraud in the Hajj Department a year or two ago. Col Abdul Qayyum (retd), whom President Ziaul Haq held in high regard because he was a powerful writer in the service of Islam, shared with me a personal anecdote many years ago. When he went for the pilgrimage to Mecca, he was so disgusted with the mismanagement and corruption in Pakistan’s Hajj bureaucracy that he wrote to Zia, “General, your kingdom stinks from Karachi to Ka’aba,” meaning that the trail of incompetence and corruption stretched all the way, from beginning to end.

    Barring a small patch of attainment here and an oasis of brightness there, it is the same bleak landscape all over the land. In an environment of pervasive dishonesty and corruption at every level, it is hard to determine who drives whom, nearly impossible to tell which is the cause and which the effect.

    The writer has a PhD in modern history and can be contacted at raziazmi@hotmail.com

    Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
     
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  14. Leader

    Leader ELITE MEMBER

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    The guy with Zia's picture should not lecture anyone about quality of education in this country..

    and secondly the article posted by Haider is about Academic research not primary school conditions...

    P.S.

    HEC is working hard to give boast to higher education within country and foreign countries with full scholarships, there are problems but we are moving in right direction in this regard.


    On Topic:


    Now in this regard I would like to see that more scholarships should be given to social sciences students than to those pursuing technical education.
     
  15. RiazHaq

    RiazHaq SENIOR MEMBER

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    Here's an except from an Indian blogger's post on foreign interest in India's Think Tank Industry:

    With the emergence of Hindutva fascist forces and their alliance with Neo cons and Zionists, India witnessed a sharp increase in the number of research institutes, media houses and lobbying groups. According to a study by Think Tanks & Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, India has 422 think tanks, second only to the US, which has over 2,000 such institutions.

    Out of 422 recognized Indian think tanks, around 63 are engaged in security research and foreign policy matters, which are heavily funded by global weapon industry. India’s Retired spies, Police officers, Military personals, Diplomats and Journalists are hired by such national security & foreign policy research institutes which gets enormous fund from global weapon industry. These dreaded institutions are in fact has a hidden agenda. Behind the veil, they work as the public relations arm of weapon industry. They create fake terror stories with the help of media and intelligence wing, manipulate explosions through criminals in areas of tribals, dalits or minorities in order to get public acceptance for weapon contracts.

    By creating conflicts in this poor country, Brahmin spin masters get huge commission from the sale of weapons to government forces. To this corrupt bureaucrats, India’s ‘National Interest‘ simply means ‘their self Interest’. Their lobbying power bring more wealth to their families as lucrative jobs, citizenship of rich countries and educational opportunities abroad.

    Mentionable that India is one of the world’s largest weapons importers. Between 2000 and 2007 India ranked world’s second largest arms importer accounting for 7.5 % of all major weapons transfers. It stood fourth among the largest military spender in terms of purchasing power in 2007 followed by US, China and Russia.

    Over 1,130 companies in 98 countries manufacture arms, ammunitions and components. 90 % of Conventional arms exports in the world are from the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council namely USA, UK, Russia, China & France. The countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East hold 51 per cent of the world’s heavy weapons.

    The Defence Offset Facilitation Agency estimating the expenditure on the sector at USD 100 billion for next five years. At least 38 court cases relating to arms agreements are still pending against bureaucrats and military officers. Hindu fascist forces currently enjoy upper hand in media, civil service, judiciary, defence and educational streams of Indian society. Sooner or later, 25,000 strong democratic institutions in India will be collapsed and the country will be transformed to a limited democracy under the rule of security regime like Turkey or Israel. Hindutva’s security centric nationalism never was capable of bringing peace and protection to the life of our ordinary citizens.

    According to Global Peace Index, India currently ranked on bottom, (122 with 2.422 score). Interestingly, our favourite arms supplier, Israel is among the worst performer when it comes to peace ranking. (141). It reminds a simple fact that the peace cannot be attained by sophisticated security apparatus.

    Further more, India topped on Asian Risk Prospects -2009, with the highest political and social risk, scoring 6.87, mainly because of internal and external instability (PERC)


    A Zillion reasons to escape from India