Foreign or private elite school system is not the only means to success in academic life. Students of public sector schooling system can also excel in their studies, said University of Oxford Islamic Centre Lecturer Adeel Malik. He was citing his personal example.
The social sciences lecturer urged influential Pakistani politicians to work towards creating more scholarships for universities in the United Kingdom.
Dr Malik has been awarded four gold medals for his outstanding performance throughout his academic career. A Rhodes Scholar in year 1999, he obtained his D.Phil in Economics from the University of Oxford in June 2004.
“To me, the distinctive aspect of my career is that I’ve been the product of public schooling system throughout my academic career,” said Dr Malik in an interview with The Express Tribune.
He did his matriculation from the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education and graduation from Sir Syed Government College Rawalpindi. He did his postgraduate in Economics from Quaid-i-Azam University.
Currently, a member of the selection committee of Oxford scholarships for Muslim countries, he takes pride in saying that 90% of students from these countries who apply for the natural sciences scholarships in the university belong to Pakistan. But just 4-5% of these get funding because of shortage of funds.
There are a number of philanthropists in Pakistan and abroad, who can support in generating funds for more scholarships. But unfortunately, that is not a priority for them, he maintained.
He referred to a musical night held to amuse the former President Musharraf at a luxury hotel in London few years back. The event was organised by the Pakistani High Commission with support of Sir Anwar Pervaiz, a British-Pakistani business, at a whopping cost of GBP 1.5 million.
Malik argued that the same money could have been spent on three scholarships for Pakistanis. There is a need to revive and strengthen the public education system and abolish the class system in the education. He also proposed to establish maximum number of centres of excellence in public sector universities to introduce modern education.
He further said there must be an effective and competent regulatory agency to oversee the education standard in the country.
“You need good role models to follow and bring change, particularly inspiring teachers — something the system lacks,” he lamented.
He also underlined the need to revitalise the reading culture, explore new learning resources and establish maximum number of libraries. He stressed on the need for proper career counselling. “The state of social sciences in Pakistan is dreadful due to the absence of a research culture and promotion of a targeted consultancy by international donors,” he added.
He suggested that an an independent research foundation be established on the lines of Economic and Research Council UK and National Science Foundation US. Through such a system, he said, the government should channel more donor money into the resource pool, where researchers could apply for grants purely on academic criterion and set research priorities for long term development.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2012.