Pakistani Universities Issues and Problems
Universities around the world have changed a lot in the last two centuries. They produce and disseminate information and serve as a productive force and social laboratory for the betterment of society. It is essential to have an experienced and qualified staff, a contemporary infrastructure, technology, and pedagogical modifications before recruiting excellent students. These obstacles need a steady flow of funds and a stimulating professional environment. Sustainability is contingent on student fees and competitive initiatives, not merely government funds. The autonomy required to attract a more lively student population and industry clients is provided by one’s own resources.
Sadly, our universities are battling the first obstacle. Our ideology relies on the idea of a university by Newman. However, our universities are very bureaucratic. Without fixing the finance and governance mechanisms, we accepted the notion of expanding access to higher education. With a poor reading and writing heritage, the new institutions are in competition with the old ones for survival. Thirdly, we have modified the Anglo-American paradigm to establish a community of instructors and scholars without an equitable accountability structure. Finally, we want colleges to create Pakistanis who are religious and patriotic.
Universities in the public sector are dependent on government funding; as a result, they foster a strong administrative atmosphere, but a poor teaching and learning environment. Negligible student involvement, passive teaching techniques, and a mentality of treating students as ignorant children impede debate and discussion. Responsibility is not a significant matter.
Typically, a vice chancellor’s time is devoted to negotiating for more financing from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and provincial governments. Connections and political influence are essential. Consequently, a VC that is acceptable to government officials is required. A venture capitalist may have to compromise on admissions, appointments, promotions, and educational quality to pursue capital. This is partially due to the fact that the regulator is also a financing agency.
We accepted the notion of expanding access to higher education without making systemic adjustments.
Within the institution, the registrar is the administrative mover-and-shaker whom deans and professors must consult for even minor matters such as casual leave and conference attendance, etc. This bureaucratic management system generates delays and leads to power struggles among the group members. It jeopardizes both instruction and the learning environment. The other administrative figures are the exam controller and the treasurer. This power trio motivates academics. It is no surprise that academics prefer administrative duties over intellectual ones.
Academic culture has both non-Ph.D. instructors and Ph.D. researchers. A lecturer is expected to teach at least four three-credit-hour courses every semester. One credit hour requires 16 to 18 hours of instruction every semester. At order to solve the scarcity of experienced professors, colleges let faculty teach a maximum of three courses as visiting instructors in the parent institution, but as many as they chose in other universities and cities. Some professors are known to teach over twenty courses every semester. In addition, administrative personnel who are unable to teach are accommodated. The same non-PhD visiting faculty also consists of potential PhD program applicants.
How can one simultaneously teach, work, and study full time? These lecturers are equipped with USBs containing PowerPoint presentations and MCQ question banks compiled by international academics and downloaded from a common source. It is customary to use older versions of books and supplemental materials. In addition to being neglected, question papers and evaluation methods are also subject to an inadequate monitoring mechanism.
In our system, professors and associate professors are mostly seen as researchers and have minor teaching duties. Not only are they compensated for their PhD, but also for overseeing research. The promotions and incentive mechanisms favor publishing. Universities pay publication fees and cover the cost of international conferences in addition to providing publishing incentives. There are no measures to distinguish between influential and predatory publications. Again, fifteen to twenty academics may evaluate a PhD thesis. A five-tiered structure exists to guarantee quality. Before granting the degree, the last step is publication in a journal with an impact factor. Yet, we have seen thousands of low-quality theses, hundreds of infractions and instances of plagiarism, as well as publishing in fraudulent and predatory journals.
Since 14 years ago, quality has been an HEC requirement. The formation of Quality Enhancement Cells has occurred. Typically, a junior individual is given increased responsibility. Few cultural changes have followed. The Quality Assurance Agency of HEC visits institutions to verify that a participative decision-making mechanism is in place. Governance was deemed to be the most deficient aspect throughout all inspections. An analysis of HEC’s programme evaluation reports revealed that around 30 percent of courses were apparently discontinued due to insufficient teaching staff.
The participation of students in decision-making is low; their input is not considered when customizing rules. The QAA operates ad hoc and lacks a thorough quality code. A poor regulatory function results in a lack of responsibility.
The knowledge economy’s ambition cannot be realized with 50,000 permanent teachers, of whom 32% have a PhD and fewer than 1% (less than 500) are tenured professors at 250 institutions. This is supported by data. The tenure track is a unique cadre for academics. Not every university has this unique layout. Eighty percent of the faculty consists of inexperienced lecturers and assistant professors. The PhD faculty publishes an average of 20,000 pieces every year, but just a few of the highest quality. Research indicates that relatively few papers are relevant to national needs. In terms of cooperation between academics and industry and rankings of competitiveness, the Pakistani research profile is quite poor. 900 faculty members were allegedly implicated in unethical research techniques and academic fraud in the last year alone. Pakistani Universities Issues and Problems are increasing with the passage of time and need to be addressed soon.
We are squandering our professors’ time and harming our reputation. Instead of unifying our undergraduate programs, precious teaching resources are being squandered on low-quality evening and part-time PhD programs. Without incorporating the concepts of efficiency, engagement, and functionality, universities cannot provide excellent and relevant education. Pakistani universities issues and problems should be addressed by the government.