I have due reverence for Dr. Atta Rehman. I understand he wanted to contribute something to the higher education in Pakistan. However, it is often felt that the policies that his created “think tanks” in HEC had designed were premature or rather rash.
Let me put this the other way round: they somehow completely eclipsed the legitimate “time factor”. The aims were over-night results that were rather misleading. They imported foreign tools from the developed countries and imposed them on the poor locals calling it “development”, as if “the tools” were more like wagging magic wands for miracles.
For instance, the criterion of indigenous GRE score for entry into Mphil, PhD programs in oriental languages such as Persian, Urdu, and Arabic, etc. needed (and still needs) immediate consideration. GRE includes English verbal and analytical and Math questions, which most of the candidates find hard and irrelevant.
Supporters may argue that American universities have made GRE score mandatory for getting into a graduate school. Since the U.S universities are our benchmarks, so we got to blindly follow them; so to “develop” the “standard” of education in Pakistan. Let it not be delusional, Pakistan is Pakistan. Our universities are not U.S universities and our students are Pakistani students. We got to think within our own context. They might counter argue that graduate research requires “analytical thinking ability’ and “English skills”; fine, we accept
that: it makes some sense for “Science disciplines” but in oriental language programs at this stage, it is rather too rash.
Another point worth considering is : Is GRE score “the secrete” of “development”? How many universities in Europe require GRE for entry into graduate programs? I don’t understand why HEC is in such a hurry to “develop” the “standard” of education in Pakistan by ignoring the span of time it actually takes to for any substantial development to take place.
HEC think tanks! We know you got money but you surely can’t correct the system at once. HEC must invest in researchers: to fund them for research such as travel grants, stipends, internet access and research material etc.
I have seen the dilapidated condition of Persian department at Peshawar University. This year they could hardly take six students in M.A Persian program, the reason being Persian seems less enterprising for students these days. Similarly, a very limited number of MPhil and PhD candidates apply to Mphil/PhD programs. The Mphil/PhD students are required to write their final dissertation in Persian language.
Let’s speak for justice sake, if you impose Math and English loaded GRE test for getting into PhD Persian program, how many candidates will apply to an already stumbling program which has been ignored. Is HEC for encouraging the research or wiping it out?