Social and Political Dynamics of Higher Education in Pakistan.

 
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Byline: Abdul Rehman and Ayesha Farooq

INTRODUCTION

Education is a fundamental institution of change which impacts generations. Education lay basisfor social and economic development,it is defined in oxford dictionary as "the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university". According to Merriam-Webster dictionary education is "the knowledge, skill, and understanding that is obtained from attending a school, college, or university". The success and development of Western countries especially the leading ones are mainly due to education. It has played an important role in transforming previously less developed societies into leading nations; therefore, education could be a tool of reformation. Western countries have worked hard on developing their social capital as per the contemporary requirements. It is only because of their skilled labor that has helped them to develop modern technologies.

Those countries not only use education as a tool for skilled development but they also used education for the purpose of nation building. They use education to implement their modern social and political values as well as keep their old traditions. They encourage and facilitate their youth to take up higher education so that they can train them not only to compete in the world but also to turn them into better citizens. They designed education according to their own needs and to fulfill the national and international demands of the modern times.

According to Merriam-Webster, higher education can be defined as the "study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in disciplinessuch as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art. These also include teacher-training schools, community colleges, and institutes of technology. At the end of a prescribed course of study, a degree, diploma, or certificate is awarded".It may take at least three or four years to be graduated from a higher education institution after that one will work in his field of profession, and he will learn improved research activity in such environment. In short, higher education mostly and usually means the education of university level. The western countries used education especially higher education to produce intellectual people throughout the world.

All the leading educational institutions of the world are situated in these countries and this contributes to their global dom inance as they use these seats of learning to acquire international talents and use them to achieve their goals. Many scholarship programs have been introduced by these Western countries to attract and acquire talents of students from third world and under these scholarships they give admissions to students from the underdeveloped countries. One other reason given for these scholarships is that the most locals are not interested in higher education so that's why one observes that it is the not locals but students of foreign origin that dominate the admissions in these institutions.

By an estimate, Pakistan is a developing country and world's sixth largest population and major portion of the country's population is quite young. In Pakistan, since her inception education has taken back seat and this is mainly due to the problems that she faced immediately after her independence which made her to give priority to her security over education. The adult literacy rate in Pakistan is also considerably low. The other major reason of concern is the female education in the country that make more than one half of Pakistan's population and due to old rigid traditions and customs that still prevail in our society they are discouraged to get education. One other reason for this literacy rate is the dearth of educational infrastructure as most of the areas are without schools and if there is any then it lacks basic facilities and teaching staff.

In order to increase education rate in the country it is very important that more importance should be given to education and the local talent should be promoted as it will also to protect Pakistan from brain drain. Most of the educated and skilled people are migrating to developed countries in the search for better opportunities. Pakistan should work on retaining her social capital in her country otherwise the local educational condition will further deteriorate.

Higher education plays a very important role in developing skilled labor and with such a proportion of young population Pakistan can progress if only provide youth with educational facilities after that they will be able to compete at international level but the most important role that education can play and especially higher education can play is that of social and political training of the Pakistani youth. The biggest gift that education gives to an individual is the power to thinking and to evaluate one's surroundings and this is the first step towards awareness regarding the ills and evils that exist in the society. The education also enables an individual to identify ways through which social evils ought to be eliminated. It also plays a very important role in creating collective mind-set that is very important in eradicating social and political ills.

The previous government established institutions such as Higher Education Commission (HEC) to promote and regularize higher education in the country before that University grants commission was the institution that dealt with the higher education in the country. Higher Education Commission (HEC) played a very important role in promoting higher education in Pakistan. They arranged scholarships for Pakistani students and also regularized local higher education institutions by formulating national standards for all the local universities. Those standards were of international standards and increased the quality of education in the country. The number of PhD scholars has significantly increased after the formation of Higher Education Commission.

The Higher Education Commission also promoted and encouraged research culture. HEC also provided the researchers opportunities to use international academic resources and collaborate with other international academic personalities and institutions so that they can conduct their research in a better manner. But with the politicization of Higher Education Commission and after the 18th amendment the Higher Education Commission has become defunct of some sort and has not remained active like before mainly because of cutting in its budget. One pattern that has been observed globally and Pakistan is also not an exception is that even local education has become a source for the propagation of western ideals while in reality the socio-political dynamics of Pakistan are quite different from the other countries thoughit may resemble to the neighboring countries.

So, during the course of this studywe will try to explain that how higher education impact social and political dynamics and how higher education can be used to achieve national integration and socio-political awareness of our people. Some of the essential elements of Higher Education system are discussed below. Institutions that are associated with higher education play the role of backbone both in public and private affairs. There interests can be on numerous levels which can go in the favor of this discipline and can also the cause of weakness for it simultaneously. They can be categorizing according to their role and the special tasks that are assigned to them. All the binaries that are focused in this discipline which controls finance management which are attached with higher education are not devoid from public and private sectors. Rules are necessary for the nourishment of institutions which made a trend in formal policies and the functioning of institutions(Hosni, 2000).

Labor market is connected via this system and the business community is also depends upon this. Various departments of government that arrange the environment policy also operates by this system. Regional and communities of global higher education, plus donors of bilateral and multilateral category, foundations and organizations of non-government, also have international links with higher educationas mentioned by Hosni. A successful system of higher education depends on the effective administration of the state. It must be ensured by the government that the system should serve the interests of public, it should offer those higher education elements that would not be given if left to market alone, it should also support equity, and promotes basic research on which the...

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