Monday, February 20, 2012

Notes from the Neighbourhood: The State of Higher Ed in Pakistan

Blunt words from Pervez Hoodbhoy:

Pakistan’s university teachers and researchers have roughly the same ethical standards as its politicians, generals, judges, and shopkeepers. Hiding in the shadows is even easier because it is hard for non-academics to tell the difference between trivial and significant works. So once the PCST and HEC announced cash awards and other perks, almost overnight a research-poor country started producing a bumper crop of “research articles” year after year. The HEC claimed victory but many papers were tired repetitions, contained fake data, were plagiarised, or published in fly-by-night journals. Dr Isa Daudpota, an intrepid academic trouble-shooter has, over the years, documented the academic sleaze. Such stark evidence has, unfortunately, had scant effect upon the HEC.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Dr.Hoodbhoy has a v.ambitious vision, when he writes, [[First, the ideal university should be a bastion of critical inquiry covering every conceivable field of human endeavour. It has first-rate faculty that does first-rate research on super-massive black holes and discovers new extra-solar planets, figures out quantum computation and the folding of proteins, documents the mating habits of macaws and tarantulas, and deciphers the extinct languages of Sumeria and Mesopotamia.]]

    Unfortunately in India barring BHU no university comes close to this ideal. When you have ignorant poseurs like Romila Thapar controlling our humanities establishment who is on record questioning why JNU should have a Sanskrit department, when "there are so many mutts and peeths where you can learn Sanskrit," the prospect of a vibrant university culture in India is bleak. Secondly we think merit is a myth. That's the way to oblivion. Pakistan has been doing well in inviting humanities scholars back home. in contrast to our poseurs their scholars are well grounded in the history and culture of their land. I would rather learn with a Assim Jawed than a vacuous Nadini Sundar.