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SCIENCE EDUCATION AND FUTURE OF PAKISTAN

  • SHAHID AHMAD KHAN
  • July, 2018
  • 485
  • Education

Education in mathematics, science and technology is crucial for the long term economic development of a nation

We are living in a world which is changing faster than we think. In fact, the touch of innovational technologies has changed the face of the world familiar to our forefathers. It is high time for us to keep pace with the world.

Since inception, Pakistan has been beset with numerous problems due to different reasons. That's why the country could not become what her founding fathers had dreamt of even after the lapse of 68 years. At present, Pakistan is once again at crossroad and we all, irrespective of caste, creed and culture, may rightly be held responsible for the current grim picture of Pakistan. Today, as we see, Pakistan:-

1. is the sixth most populous country in the world and the second most populous Muslim country with mismanaged resources.

2. with an debt-ridden economy is in a take-off position but one wonders how long is the runway.

3. is in the United Nation's list of 34 countries of  below standard literacy.

4. stays at  number 122 in the World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems.

5. is placed at 43 in the list of countries as per nominal GDP issued by IMF.

The causes of the above quoted grim realities are understandable. Pakistan has witnessed three full-scale wars and many minor military clashes with India, Terrorism, four Martial Laws, corruption, mismanagement and collapse of economy several times. Each time Pakistan was considered "failed state" however, each time the country rose like phoenix from the ashes but with weaker economy and other relevant problems. Being Pakistani, wherever we are and whatever we are, we are under obligation to bring our country back on track as early as possible so that we may secure a respectable place for our country in the comity of nations. But it is an uphill task.

There is a deep chasm between the present-day problems and the solutions.  Under the circumstances, it appears we need a magic wand that may solve all the problems in a jiffy. Unfortunately we don't have; definitely nobody has.  Nonetheless the examples set by the leading countries of the world are alluring us to follow and gain power, peace and prosperity within the shortest span of time. History reveals that all the civilizations could outclass others on the basis of better technology. The same rule still rules the world. Today, we are living in an era of unprecedented technological change. Technology is one of the most fundamental drivers of social and economic growth. Each innovation, incremental improvement, and new deployment of technology enables and spurs further phases of economic and technological progress. It is high time to reset our priority list.

Here, it would not be out of place to determine the present status of Pakistan in the realm of science & technology. An international research institute acknowledged only one Pakistani scientist of international repute. This clearly shows that we are nowhere in the international scientific research and technology.   We can ascertain our place in the world of S&T from the research based publications of Pakistan in international journals. According to the Institute for Scientific Information 2002, Pakistan's total research output was 655 papers published annually in journals. This figure is very low as compared to Japan with 20824, China with 15066 and India with 14018 papers. As far as the research output per unit population is concerned, Pakistan ranks almost the last with only 4 papers per million habitants as compared Japan with 164 Singapore with 808 and Israel with 2153. However, the situation improved when Dr. Atta ur Rehman held portfolio of Minister for Science and Technology. In 2010, Pakistan was ranked 43rd in the world in terms of published scientific papers. In fact, Dr. Atta ur Rehaman focused higher education and generously released fund for the students who wished to get doctorate in science subjects. An Institute for scientific information published a list of hundreds of highly cited researchers. Now Ministry of Science of Technology is under the ambitious Federal Minister Rana Tanveer who is adamant to do something for the country.

To see a better tomorrow, the training of next generation must be a prime focus. Education in mathematics, science and technology is crucial for the long term economic development of a nation, and for the future of its scientific enterprise, encompassing sectors such as industry, health, agriculture, civil infrastructure, and the researchers and technical workforce of the next generation. The private sector must have an in...

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