Govt must revive policy of grant in aid to all educational institutions to participate in educational development
Interview with Professor Rais Alvi – Director, Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology
I was born in Lucknow, UP, India. I completed my intermediate education there. Then I migrated to Pakistan and did my graduation and post graduation from university of Karachi. During my more than 50 years of career as a teacher and educational administrator, I had a chance to work as Professor at Tokyo University for Foreign Studies Japan, Additional Secretary of Government of Sindh, EDO Education CDGK, Registrar at University of Karachi, Vice Chancellor of Qalander Shahbaz University and Rector New Port Institutes of Communication and Economics. Presently, I m serving as a Director in KASBIT. I have been awarded by Hindi Urdu Sahitya Award Committee ,UP India. The Consul General of Japan conferred honor, received Silver Pam Award, the 2nd highest award of scouting by President of Pakistan . I received an extra ordinary fellowship recognition from University of Pittsburgh USA.
I have written and translated 9 books on Urdu and Japanese literature and culture.
PAGE: Your views on the education standards in Pakistan:
PROFESSOR RAIS ALVI: Standards of education in Pakistan may be categorized as average or below average. Our universities in public and private sector are not particularly famous for their departments, for their teaching, for their research and for their industries linkages. It is a serious matter that any of our universities are not ranked or included in the list of top 500 universities in the world and 100 universities in Asia in 2016. It is now necessary to revise the curriculum on yearly basis. The world is changing so rapidly that many topics/subjects of curriculum become obsolete even within the year. New topics are waiting; new invention, discoveries and development in various fields are ignored or not touched. CPEC, the cause of religious extremism, important regional conflicts, Robotics, stem cell developments, communication satellites, war between currencies are now the subject of social discussion of which our students are unaware. Every university is supposed to activate and streamline its committees of courses and academic council. Cutting and pasting of curriculum from Western universities will not work. The teachers, scholars and intellectuals have to work hard to update the curriculum with an approach of regional relevance, latest knowledge, information, research objectives and with a vision of value-based developed, humanitarian, cultured and a peaceful society.
PAGE: How would you comment on the role of private universities?
PROFESSOR RAIS ALVI: It was an extra ordinary opportunity that I was working as additional secretary of academic Department of Education Government of Sindh, when the initiative of private sector in higher education was emerging in province of Sindh. It was 1998, the department of education decided that we are in need of private universities in the province as the capacity of public sector universities has been reached to the maximum level. I was appointed convener of the 1st ‘Inspection & Evaluation Committee’ constituted to inspect, evaluate and recommend the private facilities for charter as per rules and conditions. I submitted a report that establishment of universities in private sector wills facilitates the higher education development in the province as the affluent and middle class parents will be sending their children to universities near to their locations with lesser security and transportation problems.
While the only one Public Sector University in Karachi, only one Public Sector University in Hyderabad and one in Khairpur will be available to accommodate the children of lower middle class parents against the seats vacated by the affluent and middle class. Now these chartered universities/institutes are mostly following the rule of HEC and providing education peacefully with more or less equal facilities to students/Faculty in comparison to the public sector universities.
PAGE: Your views on support from HEC:
PROFESSOR RAIS ALVI: The private sector universities are partner to HEC and public sector universities. They are not funded by government or HEC. They are mostly depending on finance received from the student and endowments. The Government and HEC are liable to provide some kind of financial support to these universities/institutes. Spending on public sector universities is a must but financial support or grants to private sector universities will be definitely increase the quality of product, ranking of the universities and lifestyle of their employees. It is to point out here that the government had been providing grant in aid to private sector colleges and schools prior to nationalization in September/October 1972. But after the denationalization of educational institutions and reemergence of private sector in education; the government has thought to free itself from the constitutional responsibilities regarding education of the people of Pakistan .Thus the government has totally abolished the system of grant in aid for private sector institutions/ universities. It is important that government should revive its old policy of grant in aid to all educational institutions to participate in educational development and to fulfill its obligations under the constitution of Pakistan.
PAGE: What is your take on the collaboration between industry and academia?
PROFESSOR RAIS ALVI: Collaboration of industry and academia is indispensible: it is a matter of body and soul, if soul is academia the industry is the body. Industrial development is directly related to academic linkages. We are very lean in this field. As everything can be imported, industrialist is not interested in local academic research programs. This is sharply linked with the import and export policy of Government of Pakistan. The government should by law motivate the industry to establish a research centers within their premises and the universities should be simultaneously by the law given incentives to send their researchers on higher emoluments to work with the industry at their centers.
PAGE: Your views on the youth of Pakistan:
PROFESSOR RAIS ALVI: Youth of Pakistan is hope of Pakistan. The youth is the most energetic, patriotic and innovative element of our society. 40% of Pakistani society is comprised of youth. If educated and guided properly, they can force their way to development, peace and progress of Pakistan within the framework of its great values and traditions. They are like Mountain Rivers; give them a chance; they will break the stones of hurdles, they will break the boundaries of knowledge and they will bring the brightest results; nobody can stop them . They are our dreams.