KARACHI: Investments in higher education seem to have reaped dividends as six universities of Pakistan, including the University of Karachi (KU), have won a place among the top 300 Asian universities.
The QS Asian University Rankings 2012 list shows National University of Science and Technology (#108), KU (#191-200), Aga Khan University (#201-250), Lahore University of Management Sciences (#251-300) and The University of Lahore (#251-300) in the top 300 universities of the continent.
Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is the world’s most renowned and prestigious ranking agency.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) claimed that the rankings speak volumes about the hard work put in by the management and faculty of these universities.
The HEC has consistently supported the varsities in terms of infrastructure, digital libraries, opportunities for innovative research, collaborative research projects with leading international institutions and participating in international exchange programmes, it was said.
Pakistani universities have produced more PhDs in the past nine years (3,280) – since the establishment of the HEC – than in the first 55 years (3,000) of the country’s establishment.
Research output has grown eight-fold since 2002 (from 815 in 2002 to 6,200 in 2011) which is a remarkable achievement by any world standard. Eighty per cent of these research publications are coming from higher education institutes. The output has more than doubled in the last three years and is expected to double again in the next three.
Around 5,000 scholars from Pakistan have presented their research work at leading conferences of the world and have established academic linkages with their counterparts in every leading university of the world in the US, UK, China, Germany, France, Australia, Korea, etc.
According to the HEC, Pakistani scientists, engineers and technologists are the country’s biggest strategic asset. Till five years ago, they were concentrated in a few strategic organisations, but the higher education revolution brought about by the HEC has ensured that every engineering and science and technology university has started to blossom into a centre of research and innovation.
The HEC declared that it has been able to break the elitist myth of availability of talent only in large cities by providing scholarships to talented students belonging to the middle class and poor segments of the society.
Currently, the education commission is focusing on expansion of facilities for biotechnology and genetics, immunology, robotics and automation, nanotechnology, superconductivity, photo-optics and lasers, electromagnetics and nuclear fusion for energy, it was stated.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2012.