Pakistan’s ranking in education remains unsatisfactory. We stay at the lower rungs of the ladder in the matter of education. We have not much to show by way of achievements in science and technology. Same is the case with culture. Our intellectual life remains stagnated. One indication of this is that Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) is the only Pakistani university to be ranked among the top 500 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020. The 2020 edition for the annual ranking was released on Sept 11. This includes close to 1,400 universities from 92 countries. In the list are 14 Pakistani universities. QAU is the top-ranked Pakistani university at number 401-500. The list also includes COMSATS University Islamabad (601-800); University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (801-1,000); International Islamic University, Islamabad (801-1,000); LUMS (801-1,000), and some other universities from Punjab and K-P. No university from Sindh and Balochistan finds a place in the list.
The rankings should be a wake-up call for our policymakers, an expert says. Good ranking raises the reputation of the country and of universities. Products of well-reputed universities carry prestige among the international community of the learned. Expertise in science and technology is necessary for progress and development. On it depends survival of nations. Where do we stand in scientific research is illustrated by the fact that from April 2018 to March 2019 Pakistani article count in various scientific disciplines was 182. China is far ahead of us in this respect.
British and American universities dominated the upper echelons of this year’s rankings. The US grabbed 60 of the top 200 positions. China and Japan represent 45 per cent of all Asian entries into the rankings. But do we still believe that beyond basic literacy and numeracy further education is superfluous. This mindset ought to change. Pompous rhetoric about space expeditions should stop.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2019.