In Pakistan investment in higher education continues to reap dividends. As awareness regarding the importance of scientific and scholarly research permeates intellectual circles in the country, the scientific community and Higher Education Commission have taken up the challenge with great zeal.
SCOPUS, the world’s largest abstract citation database of research literature, and an analytical tool similar to the Web of Science (Impact Factor), initiated a forecasting exercise under the topic, “How World Scientific Output will be in 2018”.
According to its results, based on the research output from 2003 – 2010, Pakistan is expected to have the second highest increase in research output ranking in the world, rising from its current position of 43 to 27 in 2018.
The establishment of HEC in 2002 has heralded a revolution in higher education in Pakistan; HEC has accomplished more in nine years since its establishment, than had been achieved in the first 55 years of Pakistan’s existence. Recently six Pakistani universities have been ranked among the top 300 Asian Universities.
Research output has grown eight-folds since 2002 (from 815 research publications in 2002 to 6,200 in 2011). 80% of these research publications from Pakistan are coming from HEIs.
Output has more than doubled in the last 3 years alone and is expected to double again in the next 3 years. Academic circles in the county have termed it as a great success and honor for the county in particular and the higher education sector in general. This is the outcome of dedicated hard work by the faculty as well as marked research supportive initiatives introduced within the last few years in the higher education sector in Pakistan.
Given the dividends Pakistan has reaped from its investment in scholarships and research grants, one would assume that HEC is a feather in the current government’s cap.
Only recently, thousands of HEC scholars enrolled in PhD and MPhil programs abroad, complained that HEC hadn’t paid their tuition fees at their universities and might have to cut their program half way and return.
Up to 6000 scholarships catering to students from Balochistan, FATA, southern Punjab and Gilgit- Baltistan, were slashed due to lack of funds from the government. Given that this might just be one of the very few sectors actually capable of bringing forth a positive change in the country, it is dismal to watch HEC’s ambitious projects being sacked due to mere neglect. “If continuous support is provided to this sector and faculties continue working with the same zeal and vigor, Pakistan’s Higher Education sector can win more laurels for the country”, academics have said.