Dawood N. Ghaznavi, Sr. Associate Dean (Acting Dean) KSBL, discusses the problems facing higher education in Pakistan and lays out possible solutions in his interview with the DAWN newspaper.
Dawood N. Ghaznavi has been an associate professor of Management at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where he was also director of the Social Enterprise Development Centre. At present he is acting dean of the Karachi School for Business and Leadership (KSBL).
Talking about the problems of higher education in the present era, Mr Ghaznavi laments the low literacy rate in Pakistan. “It is way lower than the literacy rates of other South Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, India, etc.,” he says while pointing out a few major issues and a proposed remedy.
“The major issues in higher education include the discontent among the students over the knowledge imparted to them in school and the knowledge and experience they are expected to have by their employers. The remedy is to conduct a detailed survey of employers in all the sectors to know and understand what they require and expect of the new graduates.
“The government, too, must plan the direction it wants to take the Pakistani economy — strengthen our agricultural economy or move towards an industrial one. Keeping in mind these plans, the government must establish institutes and decide which programmes of study are relevant to the job markets. Then there is a serious need to uplift primary and secondary education systems; the solution is recruitment and selection of good teachers. Other issues include copy culture, fake degrees, etc.”
According to Mr Ghaznavi, a good higher education framework aids the development and expansion of an organisation and the country as a whole. He further elaborates his point: “Education has dual purposes; one, to provide tools for people to create things and generate ideas, which is the core factor in the development of an economy, and two, to cultivate the civilisational process into human beings as a community.”
With the passing of the 18th amendment, there have been debates on the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC). Mr Ghaznavi’s take on the issue: “I think there are certain elements of the HEC which should be dealt at the provincial level, for example, the establishment of institutions, etc., while quality assurance should be carried out at the federal level.”
A major problem in the Pakistani education sector is the increasing number of young graduates immigrating to foreign countries. Even the teachers on scholarships don’t want to return home. So, is brain drain a negative process for a country like Pakistan?
“I think the brain drain is more of a circular motion process. People study, go abroad, earn money and return home. I, too, am an example of this. Many countries such as China, Korea kept worrying of this process for years but eventually they received a brain gain,” he answers.
The interview was originally published in the August 12, 2012 issue of Images, Dawn newspaper