Pakistan: International Standard of Universities, Medical Colleagues and Institutions
By Sajjad Shaukat
Education and research play a key role in the development of a country in various fields. History gives ample evidence that that rise of the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire and the Turkish Empire was the result of research and education.
It is because of educational and research institutions that the most developed countries of the West have made progress almost in every field. In fact, learning changes the behavour pattern of the persons who play a positive role in the development of a nation-building. In these terms, quality of education, provided in a country’s universities, medical colleagues and other related institutions do matter to a greater extent.
In this respect, Pakistan is the home of international standard of universities, medical colleagues and other related Institutions. Now, quality-performance of Pakistan’s many universities, medical colleagues and institutions have been recognized globally.
Since the Higher Education Commission (HEC) was founded by Prof. Atta-ur_Rahman, Pakistan has made rapid progress in learning and research.
According to Wikipedia, “HEC has received praise from the international higher education observers. Prof. Atta-ur_Rahman has received number of prestigious international awards for the remarkable transformation of the higher education sector under his leadership. German academic, Dr. Wolfgang Voelter of Tubingen University in Germany over viewed the performance of HEC under the leadership of Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman and described the reforms in HEC as “A miracle happened.” After teaching and visiting in 15 universities of Pakistan, Voelter wrote that the “scenario of education, science and technology in Pakistan has changed dramatically, as never before in the history the country. The chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Education recently announced the first 6 years of HEC under Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman as “Pakistan’s golden period in higher education…American academic Prof. Fred M. Hayward has also praised the reform process undertaken by Pakistan, admitting that “since 2002, a number of extraordinary changes have taken place. Hayward pointed out that “over the last six years almost 4,000 scholars have participated in PhD programs in Pakistan in which more than 600 students have studied in foreign PhD programs. The HEC instituted major upgrades for scientific laboratories, rehabilitating existing educational facilities, expanding the research support, and overseeing the development of one of the best digital libraries in the region. Seeking to meeting the international standard, a quality assurance and accreditation process was also established, of which, 95% of students sent abroad for training returned, an unusually high result for a developing country…at universities.”
As regards the rankings of Pakistan’s universities and colleges, U-Multirank, an independent ranking system of funded by the European Commsission, the SCImago Institutions Rankins, a research group of the Spanish academic organization and UniRank, formerly 4 International Colleges and Universities—ranks universities and colleges country-wise have recognized Pakistan’s performance on world level by ranking its top ten universities, which include Quaid-i-Azam University, University of the Punjab, National University of Sciences and Technology, University of Agriculture (Faisalabad), Aga Khan University, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Karachi, University of Health Sciences (Lahore) and University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences.
Pakistan which is a home of renowned universities, medical colleagues and institutions, including other colleagues of social sciences and humanism have got popularity on world level, owing to their excellent quality. These include Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology, University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore), University of Engineering and Technology (Peshawar), National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Institute of Management Sciences (Lahore), National Defence University, Islamabad, National College of Arts, Lahore, School of Economics, Institute of Business Administration, Textile Institute of Pakistan, Government College University (Lahore), Lahore College for Women University, Punjab Group of Colleges, King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Army Public College, Sialkot Cantt. Cadet College Rawalpindi, Army Burhall School and College for Boys KPK, Abbotabad, Cadet College Kallar Kahar, Punjab, Cadet College Hasan Abdal, Hasan Abdal, Punjab, Cadet College Jhelum, Jhelum, Punjab, Defence Authority Degree College for Men, Karachi, Kohat Cadet College Kohat, Kohat KPK etc.
Besides, there are many government and private colleges, universities and institutions which are imparting education to students in various fields. In accordance with the global standard, research is also being conducted in the institutions in various fields.
It is notable that Quacquarelli Symonds (Qs) is one of the most widely referenced international ranking systems. Pakistan was ranked 50th globally in terms of its higher education system’s strength in its 2015–2016 edition. Since 2017, the country’s universities, medical colleges and educational institutions have been making progress by rapidly attracting the foreign students.
In this connection, regarding world rankings, Wikipedia points out the five criteria, along with their weighted score and sub-components are summarised below:
Quality assurance–Standard of M. Phil, M.S. and PhD courses; eligibility criteria for faculty member appointments; plagiarism policy compliance; assessment of Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) for internal quality assurance, international awards/honours attained by students; affiliation of coursework with national accreditation bodies e.g NANAC, NBEAC, PEC and PMDC; latest international rankings of the university/institute.
Teaching quality–Staff to student ration ratio; ratio of PhD faculty and full-time faculty; faculty training and recruitment; student enrollment ratio and selectivity; national and international awards/recognition attained by faculty members.
Research–Nationally and internationally registered patents, varieties, technologies, breeds and creative world; university industrial linkages through Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (ORICs); ratio of PhD students and total PhD output per year; amount of external research grants obtained; amount of travel grants obtained by faculties for presentation of papers abroad; number of papers published in the Web of Science impact factor journals and HEC-recognised journals; citations per paper; university h-index; number of W and X category journals published; internet bandwidth and HEC Digital Library untilization; number of national and international conferences/seminars/workshops/symposia organised.
Finance and facilities–Ratio of non-salary expenditures in total budget; amount generated through own resources; amount of budget expended on research and libraries; computers available per student and faculty; number of books and resources in libraries; number of external scholarships received by students.
Social integration/community development–Community outreach programs and services; international collaborations and student exchange programs are also important.
Moreover, good reputation of Pakistan’s educational institutes could be judged from the individuals who got popularity on international level.
It is mentionable that Abdus Salam was a Pakistani theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate in Physics for his work on the electroweak unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces. Salam, Salam holds the distinction of being the first Pakistani to receive the Nobel Prize in any field. Salam heavily contributed to the rise of Pakistani physics and to the physics community in the world. Ayub Ommaya was a Pakistani neurosurgeon who heavily contributed to his field. Over 150 research papers have been attributed to him. He also invented the Ommaya Reservoir medical procedure. It is a system of delivery of medical drugs for treatment of patients with brain tumours. Mahb-ul-Haq was a Pakistani economist who developed the Human Development Index (HDI), the modern international standard for measuring and rating human development. Att-ur-Rahman is a Pakistani scientist known for his work in the field of natural product chemistry. He has over 1052 research papers, books and patents attributed to him. He was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society, London and won the UNESCO Science Prize. Muhammad Irfan Maqsood is a Pakistani researcher and entrepreneur well known in Pakistan, Iran and Turkey for his work PakistanInfo, KarafarinShow, Genes & Cells and iMaQPress in the field of Techno-entrepreneurship and Biotechnology. He holds PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology and holding two MSc (Biotechnology) and MA (Political Sciences-IR). He has been awarded 4 time Iranian national techno-entrepreneurship award SheikhBhai by Minister of Science and Research, Iran and Young Entrepreneur from the Deputy Minister for Youth Affairs.
Nevertheless, we can conclude that due to good quality and excellent performance, Pakistan has become the home of international standard of universities, medical colleagues and other educational institutions.