• Friday, July 10, 2020

Pakistan's Education system | Reforms & Upgrades.

Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by SekrutYakhni, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Solomon2

    Solomon2 BANNED

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    A university self-destructs
    Pervez Hoodbhoy Updated March 31, 2018

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    The writer has taught physics at Quaid-i-Azam University since 1973.


    MUCH has been said about the corruption of Pakistan’s politicians, generals, and judges. But large numbers of PhD professors (and the ranks below) are now out to give them stiff competition. While some still care for academic values — i.e., knowing their subjects properly and teaching them well — for many only the holy triad matters: pay, perks, and promotions.

    Rampaging protesters brought Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan’s purportedly premier university, to a virtual standstill for nearly four weeks. A mob laid siege to the administration building, attempted to manhandle the vice chancellor (VC) near his office, and disrupted the few classes then still being held. They prevented buses from collecting and dropping students, ignoring pleas from fee-paying students that classes be permitted.

    These were not just rowdy students. In fact, the protesters have PhDs (many from QAU itself) and are highly paid teachers. They arrive for ‘work’ in fancy cars, negating the time-honoured notion of the hopelessly underpaid, studiously engaged, fuddy-duddy professor with no time for anything other than his books. For nearly a month, these teachers have picnicked at public expense and that of their students, and are still vowing to keep their ‘struggle’ going until victory. Fortunately, they will actually have to struggle because dozens of other QAU teachers have refused to join the strikers.

    Greed-propelled professors must be stopped from wrecking Quaid-i-Azam University.

    But what exactly are the protesters protesting? A ‘white paper’ issued by the Academic Staff Association declares that it has a single point agenda — the removal of the VC. Indeed, it is almost time for him to leave — he has only a few months of tenure left anyway. But curious readers must ask why this unseemly rush.

    Measured on a Pakistani scale, the white paper’s accusations are fairly bland. The VC is deemed incompetent, accused of lacking financial integrity and leadership acumen, etc. Unaware that they contradict themselves, the accusers say the VC has not taken “ownership of the university” but in the next breath complain he interferes in everything.

    The VC’s written rebuttal to these charges may or may not convince. But one fact glares out — the striking teachers do not demand a change in the university’s increasing bleak academic environment. Over the last 30-40 years the only thing that the ASA has done is to make every possible demand for enhancing the personal wealth and power of teachers.

    Past demands have included the outrageous proposition that the university’s land be gifted to teachers as their private property. The current ASA bitterly resists attempts to have professionals in the university’s administration, insisting that key administrative positions be reserved for teachers.

    At a collective level, the ASA has made no proposal for improving QAU’s pathetic teaching standards, ending the widely practised system of rote learning, or any other academic cause. Meanwhile, the new four-year BS programme stands abandoned because professors refuse to teach those classes, leaving this task for poorly paid visiting teachers. On violations of academic integrity by university teachers, the protesters are mum. And yet, well known across the campus, are countless examples of appalling behaviour:

    Take department W where an influential professor of that very department manipulated things to get his son and student appointed as junior faculty. Ninety PhDs, some from good universities in Europe and elsewhere, had applied and 18 were shortlisted. But it turned out that advertising the position had been a mere formality; the outcome had long been pre-decided.

    Or take department X. A different ethnicity means you cannot get a job there. How else to explain that almost all its faculty members are from the same province and share the same ethnic background? Strong preferences for those sharing the same ethnicity is evident everywhere. Last year, the university was shut down for weeks when Sindhi and Baloch students bashed each other with dandas while Punjabi students recorded this gleefully on their smartphones.

    As for department Y: to be welcomed on to its faculty you had to belong to the right religious sect. Earlier appointments had in fact reflected this fact but then the other sect — which happens to be the majority sect in Pakistan — couldn’t take it anymore. The inevitable backlash happened and the chairperson was ousted.

    In department Z it’s a bit different. A particular candidate was judged to be clearly superior in relation to all others. But a call from ‘above’ — i.e., from the agencies that supposedly protect Pakistan — said he must not be promoted because of his anti-establishment views. As is often the case, only verbal — not written — directives were given. His academic achievements were disregarded. Thus that promotion case ended right there!

    Had principled behaviour been a consideration, the above examples would instantly have generated outrage. But only greed and personal benefit explains the present upheaval. Perhaps one particular motivation has been more important than any other.

    It so happens that some time ago, certain influential teachers had strong-armed the administration — mostly in the previous VC’s term but also more recently — into granting them massive salary increments. Auditors eventually declared these excess payments illegal and the Higher Education Commission refused to foot the bill, demanding instead that excess amounts be returned.

    No way! Instead, these professors — again through the ASA — forced the university to pay and caused student fees to rocket upward. Unaware of the real reason, students directed their anger at the administration. An average teacher’s salary amounts to roughly 10-15 times what they pay to their domestic servants.

    Other Pakistani universities are in no better shape than QAU, some decidedly worse. But QAU in Islamabad is supposedly Pakistan’s flagship university. It is located barely two miles from the seat of government. What happens here is watched widely across the country.

    Pakistan has been unable to develop a university culture over its 70 years of existence because violators of academic ethics, morality, and basic notions of justice go scot-free. To stop QAU’s rapid descent into a moral black hole, the government needs to enforce the rule of law. Whether they are professors or students, those who use violence to disrupt academic activities should have no place on campus.

    The writer has taught physics at Quaid-i-Azam University since 1973.

    Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2018
     
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  2. fanne

    fanne BANNED

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    an eye opening article .
     
  3. Indus Priest King

    Indus Priest King BANNED

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    Your problem with education is the following:

    a. You adopted a colonial education system; nothing good can come from this. British Raj was not in the mood of educating the population of "natives". They just wanted literate slaves who were smart enough to work for them, but just dumb enough not to revolt. It worked like a charm...that is until Britain went bankrupt after World War 2.

    b. English; I cannot fathom Pakistan's obsession with English. KP Government made this blunder in education as well. The key here is NATIVE LANGUAGE. When children are taught in native languages, they excel....they learn concepts, rather than memorizing.

    Punjab should be teaching in Punjabi.
    Sindh should be teaching in Sindhi.
    KP should be teaching in Pashto.

    I understand that there are multiple languages spoken in the provinces, but provisions can be made. Urdu should be taught alongside mother tongue. Period. English is not needed...look at Japan...the world's most technologically advanced country, and they don't speak a word of English.
     
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  4. Mohammad Ilyas

    Mohammad Ilyas FULL MEMBER

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    In my opinion teaching of manners and attitude to be a nice human is essential to be included in the basic course. When there used to be no such science or extra studying faculties in the sub-continent there used to be taught knowledge that consisted only religion and linguistics but courses of social manners dealing with everyday affairs was essential part of basic knowledge then. Nowadays that type of course is taught as Dars e Nizami in Madrassas. Sorry to say that these Madrassas also do not teach the essential part of studies of manners of that time. e.g the two books of Sheikh Saa'di namely Gulistan and Boostan that taught social manners as dealing with humans, manliness and faith and loyalty are not taught in Madrassas even when these books were the part of Dars e Nizami. Probably because of Mullahs not able to know Persian language.
    Teaching of manners and dealing social affairs as a true Muslim may make an educated person properly furnished.
     
  5. lafete

    lafete FULL MEMBER

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    Behind every social upheaval lies an intellectual crisis. Islam is not in crisis - the Muslims are!

    The root cause of this crisis is the decimation of the Islamic education system.

    The Almighty will never allow the establishment of a western education system in Muslim lands.

    Malaysia and Turkey are modern, developed countries. They boast a high education rate and follow the western curriculum and method of education closely.

    The number of patents and research papers coming out of Malaysia and Turkey, when compared with any western country, is fairly minuscule. These two countries have had no role in any ground breaking innovation, finding cures to major diseases, leading in any scientific area, winning Nobel prizes, etc. In-short, they do not play a major role in pushing the frontiers of human knowledge and advancing the human intellect.

    There is good news though. The western education system is coming close to its shelf life. Education is going online!

    Websites like khan academy allow anyone to get an education till high school. With virtual reality and universities offering free online courses, the entire system is going through a change.
     
  6. maithil

    maithil FULL MEMBER

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    Thousands of students thrown out of their rented hostel.

     
  7. shah_123

    shah_123 FULL MEMBER

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  8. jamal18

    jamal18 SENIOR MEMBER

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    You cannot understand how mant times I have said this, and Pakistanis do not even understand the concept. Name me one white country where, ' English is the language of education.'

    A deep inferiority complex and self-loathing are the curse of the black man.

    I remember talking to a European girl about being taught in English, and she looked at me as if I was mad.
     
  9. Fatima Khan0007

    Fatima Khan0007 FULL MEMBER

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    before the world knows about our lacking i think the matter should be handled on the country level. It is so important to pass the mantle between dif individuals and stop blaming teachers or the education system it self. We need to change our educational practices first
     
  10. ghazi52

    ghazi52 PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Prof. Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui

    A Chemist, Philosopher, Artist, Critic of literature and a Visionary of Science. The man who merged eastern and western medicine. Pride of Pakistan.

    Prof. Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui was born on 19 October 1897 to Sheikh Muhammad Zaman. After receiving his early education from Lucknow, he went on to earn his graduation in Philosophy and Persian language, from M.A.O College (later became Aligarh Muslim University) in 1919.

    In 1920, Siddiqui proceeded to University College London to study medicine. However, after one year of pre-medical studies, he moved to Frankfurt University in 1921 to study chemistry. In 1924, he married his German classmate, Ethel Wilhelmina Schneeman. He received Doctor of Philosophy under the supervision of Prof Julius Von Bram in 1927.

    On his return, he established the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbi Research Institute at the Tibbia College Delhi, under the guidance of Hakim Ajmal Khan. He was appointed its first Director. However, soon after the death of Hakim Ajmal Khan, Siddiqui left the post. In 1940, he joined Indian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research where he worked until 1951 when he migrated to Pakistan on the request of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan.

    Salimuzzaman's first breakthrough in research came when he successfully isolated an antiarrhythmic agent in 1931 from the roots of Rauwolfia serpentina. He named the newly discovered chemical compound as Ajmaline, after his mentor Hakim Ajmal Khan who was one of the illustrious practitioners of Unani system of medicine in South Asia. Later on, Siddiqui also extracted other alkaloids from Rauwolfia serpentina that included Ajmalinine, Ajmalicine (C21H24N2O3), Isoajmaline, Neoajmaline, Serpentine and Serpentinine. Many of these are still used worldwide for treatment of mental disorders and cardiovascular ailments, especially as antiarrhythmic agents in Brugada syndrome.

    Siddiqui was the first scientist to bring the anthelmintic, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral constituents of the Neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists. In 1942, he extracted three bitter compounds from neem oil, which he named as nimbin, nimbinin, and nimbidin respectively. The process involved extracting the water-insoluble components with ether, petrol ether, ethyl acetate and dilute alcohol. The provisional naming was nimbin (sulphur-free crystalline product with melting point at 205 °C, empirical composition C7H10O2), nimbinin (with similar principle, melting at 192 °C), and nimbidin (cream-coloured containing amorphous sulphur, melting at 90–100 °C). Siddiqui identified nimbidin as the main active antibacterial ingredient, and the highest yielding bitter component in the neem oil. These compounds are stable and found in substantial quantities in the Neem. They also serve as natural insecticides.

    In acknowledgement of these revolutionary discoveries, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1946.

    In his later career, Siddiqui continued to discover and isolate numerous unique anti-bacterial compounds from various parts (leaves, bark, etc.) of the Neem and other plants. He had more than 50 chemical compounds patented in his name in addition to those discovered as a result of his joint research with other colleagues and students. Most of these discoveries still remain vital natural ingredients of various medicines as well as bio-pesticides.

    Siddiqui migrated to Pakistan in 1951, four years after the emergence of Pakistan in 1947, after being offered and appointed as 'science advisor' to the government by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. He was appointed as Director of the Pakistan Department of Research that was reformulated in 1953 as Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR). The aim of PCSIR was to support the industrial infrastructure through research and development. The regional laboratories of the institution were located in Dhaka, Rajshahi and Chittagong (East Pakistan), and in Lahore and Peshawar (West Pakistan).

    In 1953, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui founded the Pakistan Academy of Sciences as a non-political think tank of distinguished scientists in the country. In 1956, when Government of Pakistan established Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) as an atomic research agency, Siddiqui was designated as its technical member.

    In recognition of his scientific leadership, Frankfurt University granted him the degree of D.Med. Honoris causa in 1958; Also, in 1958, the Government of Pakistan awarded him with Tamgha-e-Pakistan. In 1960, he became the President of Pan-Indian Ocean Science Association. The same year, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1962, he was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz for distinguished merit in the fields of science and medicine.

    Siddiqui remained the director and chairman of PCSIR until the time of his retirement in 1966. In that year, the President of Pakistan awarded him the Pride of Performance Medal for the respectable completion of his service.

    In 1967, Siddiqui was invited by University of Karachi to set up a Postgraduate Institute of Chemistry in affiliation with the Department of Chemistry. He was designated as the institute's Founder Director, whereas the additional research staff was provided by PCSIR. In 1976, the institute was offered a generous donation from Hussain Jamal Foundation. In due time, Siddiqui transformed the institute into a distinguished centre of international excellence in the field of chemistry and natural products.

    In March 1975, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui headed the National Commission for Indigenous Medicines His tireless efforts for the promotion of science and technology earned him Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan in 1980. In 1983, he played a major role in the establishment of the Third World Academy of Sciences and became its Founding Fellow. He remained the director of the Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry until 1990. Later on, he continued research in his personal laboratory.

    Salimuzzaman Siddiqui died on 14 April 1994 due to cardiac arrest after a brief illness in Karachi. He was buried in the Karachi University Graveyard. Despite his death, the academic and research institutes that he founded during more than 65 years of his research career are still contributing to the international level research in natural products chemistry.

    As a person of multiple talents, Siddiqui was also a refined poet, musician, and a painter. In August 1924, he held his first international exhibition of paintings in Frankfurt. Later in 1927, his works of art were exhibited at the Uzielli Gallery, Frankfurt. During his stay in Germany, he also translated Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry into Urdu, which was published in the journal of Jamia Millia Islamia. Though, his passion for arts was superseded by the enthusiasm in scientific research, he continued to patronise arts and culture. In 1966, he was at the forefront for setting up the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts in Karachi. He also compiled a selection of poetry of Mir Taqi Mir into Intekhab-e-Meer. In 1983, he published a portfolio collection of charcoal drawings from 1920 to 1950s.

    On 14 April 1999, the Pakistan Post, as part of its 'Scientists of Pakistan' series, issued a commemorative stamp to honour the contributions and services of Siddiqui. In the same year, the street leading to PCSIR Laboratories Complex in Karachi was named as Shahrah-e-Dr. Salim-uz-Zaman Siddiqui. Siddiqui was awarded the prestigious Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance, MBE, Tamgha-e-Pakistan and Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his various contributions. He passed away on April 14, 1994 in Karachi.

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