Pakistan needs to focus on higher education and promote social sciences so that scholarly discourse may help policymakers resolve national issues.
This was stated by scholars at the conclusion of the three-day international conference on “Emerging Issues of Social Sciences in Pakistan”, organised by Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
They recommended that the aspirations of academicians and policymaker should be aligned so that the body of knowledge can be utilised to the fullest to the broader benefit of the country. They also urged the government to understand problems in a societal context before searching for their remedies.
The scholars highlighted the significance of healthcare, education and trade in ensuring sustainable development, and also underscored the need to introduce a liberal trade policy and to allow interest-free economic transactions to improve economy.
The first day of the conference was marred by massive protest by students of QAU demanding perks in the university hostels. Following the protest the venue of the conference was shifted to the HEC premises in H-9.
On the final day, participants of a technical session discussed the role of the youth in the country’s development. They highlighted gender issues through global workplaces (call centres) and how media advertisements subliminally foster careless attitudes in the youth.
In support of these view, Dr Karim of George Mason University USA presented a case study on Karachi’s youth. He discussed their perceptions, ambitions and entrepreneurial potentials.
In the session on Internal Challenges in National Integration, Dr Jamal Malik from Germany, Dr Lubna Abid Ali of QAU, and other scholars highlighted structural problems affecting the country’s democratic setup.
In the last session on the role of media, the scholars highlighted the role of the media in developing a vibrant and tolerant society. They said that media has helped create political awareness in the country and should be harnessed to educate and build the country’s image.
The conference was organised to discuss emerging issues of social sciences in Pakistan, especially sustainable human development, cultural diversity, human rights, and role of the media.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.