The affirmation of tertiary school


According to the Planning Commission of Pakistan, the Vision 2030 envisages a “developed, industrialised, just and prosperous Pakistan through rapid and sustainable development in a resource constrained economy by developing knowledge inputs.” In today’s knowledge economy, inputs of knowledge cannot be imparted only by focusing on primary and secondary education; higher education has a great role to play in creating knowledge-based development. But how far has Pakistan succeeded in attaining this goal? How is higher education contributing to the development of Pakistan? What role do universities play in the development of a nation?
It is beyond doubt that education adds to the growth of national income as well as individual earnings in different ways in today’s knowledge economy. The production, dissemination and absorption of higher education create differential patterns of growth and development in any society. There is widespread feeling among policymakers in Pakistan that literacy at the basic level and, at best, at the secondary level is what holds the key to economic growth and development, rather than higher education.
Higher education in Pakistan had remained neglected till the Higher Education Commission was established. As a consequence of this thinking, higher education has not configured much in their calculation for reducing the incidence of poverty. It is worthwhile to mention that literacy and primary education system rarely becomes an agent of providing jobs necessary for a decent living. It should be understood that emphasis on higher education does not, in any case, imply that we should neglect basic education.
The need for highly trained workers is in demand, especially in the framework of globalisation that is encroaching upon every sphere of our lives; the graduate students trained at the institutions of higher learning inevitably have access to jobs carrying enhanced wages. The Pakistani middle class has grown to 40 percent of the population, significantly larger than India’s 25 percent. Illustrating similar worldwide patterns, the rise of Pakistani middle class has proven to be an engine of positive change and development and that has only been possible through higher education.