PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN
ABSTRACT The purpose of the study was to investigate the problems and prospects of higher education in Pakistan. Higher education plays the role of leadership in the society. The functions of the university are to develop the people physically, mentally and spiritually. It improves and promotes the economic, social, political and cultural life of the nation. All over the world universities are guiding and co-operating with the industrial and agricultural development organizations and they are developing their economics rapidly and meaningfully. In Pakistan, after more than five decades, the developmental indicators are not showing positive results. The participation rate at higher education is about three percent of age group (17-23) and this is 16.2 percent as world average of this age group. The advanced countries are achieving more than 40 percent participation rate in higher education. There are problems of quality of staff, students, library and laboratory. Relevance with society needs, research facilities, financial crisis, arts students more than science students, weaknesses of examination, ineffective governance and academic results are not at par with international standards. Considering the gigantic problems of higher education in Pakistan, the researcher selected this topic for research. The main objectives of the study were: (1) determining the present profile of higher education in Pakistan; (2) examining the past efforts done for the improvement of higher education; (4) highlighting the budget provisions for higher education; and (5) exploring problems of higher education in Pakistan. Experts dealing with education in the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher Education Commission, Provincial Departments of Education, university teachers, university administrators, planners, examination experts, university students and community leaders constituted the population of the study. Eight universities were selected randomly for the sample. Twenty university teachers and forty students from each university were included in the sample. Thirty community leaders and fifty experts were also included in the sample. Four questionnaires were developed after pilot testing for the collection of data. The data were collected by the researcher personally. He made many efforts for collection of data from the experts, leaders, teachers and students. Data were tabulated and analyzed using the Likert's five-point scale and chi-square. After drawing the conclusions, some workable recommendations were made for the improvement of relevance, quality, finances, effectiveness and access of higher education in Pakistan. Following conclusions were drawn from responses. (i) access was very limited in universities. (ii) quality was very low in the fields of academic, administration, research and equipment. (iii) faculty and staff need development in knowledge and skills. (iv) funds were provided inadequate and misappropriation was common. (v) character building of the students was ignored. (vi) there was no linkage between university and industry. (vii) examination system was faulty. (viii) good governance was non-existent. (ix) private sector was expanding without merit. Following recommendations were made on the basis of conclusions: (i) Enrolment in universities should be increased by providing adequate all types of educational facilities. (ii) Quality of faculty, staff, students, library, laboratory, research and equipment should be enhanced. (iii) Development of faculty and staff should be ensured through meaningful continuous in-service training. (iv) Funds for higher education should be increased reasonably. (v) Character building of students should be focused. (vi) Linkage between university and industry should be established. (vii) Good governance should be ensured. (ix) More open universities should be established. (x) New disciplines should be started to meet the need of the market. (xi) Night classes should be started with transport facilities. (xii) Summer vacations should be banned. (xiii) Political activities should not be allowed. (xiv) Rules and regulations should be enforced forcefully.