Boost in­no­va­tion

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - FAKEHA FAIZ

It is an un­de­ni­able fact that in to­day’s world and times, in­no­va­tion, science and tech­nol­ogy act as mean­ing­ful driv­ing force for na­tional economies. The coun­tries, which in­vested in re­search and devel­op­ment and worked on im­prov­ing the qual­ity of their hu­man re­source, have touched the hori­zon of suc­cess and are world’s gi­ant economies. On the flip side are the coun­tries that ne­glected this area and are de­pen­dent on ad­vanced coun­tries for their sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal needs. Pak­istan be­longs to lat­ter cat­e­gory. The ‘Global In­no­va­tion In­dex’, which an­nu­ally as­sesses coun­tries’ in­no­va­tions and their re­sults on economies, places Pak­istan at the bot­tom.

This is both un­sur­priz­ing and un­for­tu­nate. This lack of in­no­va­tion is at­trib­uted to the flawed ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in Pak­istan, which strug­gles to de­velop cre­ative and imag­i­na­tive skills in stu­dents. The cul­ture of rote learn­ing is too a main­stream prac­tice and so ruth­lessly pro­moted to pass the ex­ams with good grades. It de­stroys the imag­i­na­tive and cre­ative abil­i­ties of a stu­dent and mu­ti­lates his curosity and ques­tion­ing sense. More­over, the qual­ity of science ed­u­ca­tion in public schools and col­leges is also be­low par, as ill-equipped science and com­puter lab­o­ra­to­ries and flawed teach­ing meth­ods alien­ate stu­dents from science sub­jects. Higher ed­u­ca­tion has its own bag­gage of prob­lems. A mea­gre 0.29% GDP is spent on re­search and devel­op­ment projects com­pared to 2-4% in many de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Lit­tle col­lab­o­ra­tion with in­dus­tries and for­eign uni­ver­si­ties, and lack of in­cen­tives of­fered to PhD stu­dents work­ing in for­eign lands, are some of the other hur­dles that sup­press in­no­va­tion in Pak­istan.

Au­thor­i­ties must shift their at­ten­tion to­wards fix­ing the glar­ing in­ad­e­qua­cies of Pak­istan’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, which of­ten stymie stu­dents from re­al­iz­ing their full po­ten­tials. Pak­istan pos­sesses a bur­geon­ing hu­man re­source and only by build­ing a knowl­edge-based econ­omy, Pak­istan can stand tall in the comity of na­tions. —Via email

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