Universities and Institutions of Higher Education are the fundamental source of learning and knowledge dissemination. Without rational aspect of knowledge being accorded due emphasis, intellectual growth is not possible. In the fabric of our society and with the ruling and powerful elite there is apathy towards quest for knowledge and learning. Higher Education in the country has been treated mainly as a means of acquiring and entry into the job market, rather than as a means for broadening the students vision and inculcating in them the spirit of specific inquiry.
This was stated by renowned theoretical physicist Prof. Dr. Fayyazuddin (HI) while addressing a seminar on, “State of Higher Education in Pakistan” at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU). The seminar was organized as part of Golden Jubilee Seminar series in connection with the 50th year celebrations of QAU.
“Knowledge played a key role in the social, political and economic development of the West. Similarly, a wide spread access to secular knowledge is essential for positive change of the Pakistan. It is the responsibility of the state to make this knowledge accessible to all sections of society by substantial investment in education. To take full benefit of globalization of knowledge, investment in higher education is a must” Dr. Fayyazuddin added.
He said that since the last decade, there has been a proliferation of universities in the country. Most of these universities have inadequate academic structure and proper faculty. Rest of the universities with the exception of few, have a very weak intellectual and academic environment. It is imperative to strengthen academic and intellectual base. This is only possible when both the faculty and students participate with motivation, commitment and above all aspiration to be the part of process of generation of knowledge.
While indicating another challenge he said that in the last decade, proliferation of research papers was also on the rise. Majority of these papers have not passed through the peer review process to access their quality and substance. The emphases has been shifted from quality to quantity which has created a dangerous illusion of knowledge.
Suggesting the steps to enhance quality of education, he said that we should move away from memorization, increase emphasis on understanding and analytical thinking and should promote basic and applied research even on modest scale.
He said that as the industrial pollution poses a long term threat to the natural environment which could affect the quality of life. The internet pollution poses a threat to the academic and intellectual environment which would affect the quality of knowledge. Dr Fiazuddin also traced the history of the QAU and the ground breaking work carried out by his illustrious brother, the late Dr Riazuddin, himself and the team which were the brains behind the center for physics and many academic and research laurals that earned QAU great name “East of Suez.”