The greatest challenge faced by higher education in Pakistan today is access to people in poor and remote areas, said Higher Education Commission chairman Dr Javaid Laghari on Thursday.
In a meeting at Punjab University with Vice Chancellor Mujahid Kamran, Laghari said that the government aimed to raise the number of graduates in Pakistan to 15 per cent. He credited HEC initiatives with a rise in the rate from 2.5 per cent in 2008 to 7.8 per cent in 2011.
But Pakistan still lagged behind other countries, he added. Iranian universities generate over 12,000 research publications a year while Pakistani universities produce just under 7,000, he said.
He said that the commission was supporting 7,500 PhD scholars including 3,500 in foreign countries who would join Pakistani universities in the next four years.
He said that universities could not afford to raise their staff’s salaries by 50 per cent, as had been done for other government servants, but if the government didn’t improve facilities and give good financial incentives to faculty, they would be lured to jobs in other countries like Saudi Arabia.
The HEC chairman also visited the Lahore College for Women University on Thursday and gave a talk based on his book ‘The Wizardry of Leadership’.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2011.