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HEC TAKING STEPS TO PROMOTE SOCIAL SCIENCES IN PAKISTAN - DR. SOHAIL NAQVI SAYS

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HEC TAKING STEPS TO PROMOTE SOCIAL SCIENCES IN PAKISTAN - DR. SOHAIL NAQVI SAYS ON THE INAUGURAL CEREMONY OF NATIONAL CONFERENCE AT GCU

 
Pakistan education planning could not focus on social sciences for three decades and we lost the whole generation but now Higher Education Commission (HEC) is taking all possible measures in order to promote social sciences and enrolment in universities from to 4 to 7 percent. All out funds are being mobilized in order to provide maximum foreign scholarships to provide better faculty and ameliorate the quality of education in the country. For this purpose, HEC has developed a new program of 1500 foreign scholarships which has been sent for approval to the higher authorities. It was expressed by the Executive Director HEC Dr. Sohail H. Naqvi in the inaugural  ceremony of the one day national conference on the “State of Social Sciences in Pakistan”  organized by faculty of Social Sciences GCU Lahore in collaboration with HEC Pakistan held in the Bokhari Auditorium of the GCU. He also lamented the low quality out put of colleges on account of declining standard of their graduates and told that HEC was improving the standards of curriculum and faculty by improving access in research and moulding curriculum in line with the national and global market needs and that merit based scholarships were being replaced by need based scholarships. He further said that a lot of scholarships for post doctorate are available but HEC doesn’t find suitable candidates for them. As many as 316 people have already been sent to various foreign universities for post doctorate.
The Vice Chancellor GCU Prof. Dr. Khalid Aftab in his welcome address said that new universities in Pakistan, in recent years, have started defining their goals against the demands of time which is very harmful for the universities, as the primary role of the universities is to act as agent of social change and ensure cultural enlightenment. He stressed on launching of the  skill oriented programmes as  the greatest challenges for the dynamic universities is to strike a balance between the demands of the business world and that of the society. He expressed his concerns about the direction of the education and hoped that education would resolve the conflict between freedom and security and integrate morality and life. He said education is not confined just to the sciences rather it is lightening of fire in the minds through exposure of students to culture, literature, music and lot more.
He also criticized the “Policy of Guided Development” from above and declared it a barrier against institutional growth. “The real problem with Guided Model is that it dose not lead to an integrated and holistic institutional development”, he added.
Dr. Inayat-ullah, President Council of Social Sciences Islamabad made his presentation on the “state of social sciences in Pakistan 1947-2001”. The inaugural session was chaired by Dr. Pervaiz Tahir, Mehboob-ul-Haq Professor of Economics GCU Lahore.
The inaugural session was followed by research papers presentation session which was chaired by Prof. Dr. Zahid Mehmood Director Clinical Psychology GCU, Lahore. Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Chairman SS&H Development Committee HEC and Former Governor State Bank of Pakistan, while speaking on “Public Policy and Social Sciences” talked about public policy challenges, governance deficit, distributional inequalities, identity crises, food-water-energy crises and responsibility of Social Scientists. He said that social science discipline might have little market value but they generate externalities and lay the foundation for a socially and morally conscientious citizenship and humanistic understanding of the state, society, culture and institutions. He also said that social sciences courses should be mandated for even students of engineering, medical, agricultural, physical and biological sciences and business administration.
Shahid Javed Burki from Washington D.C, USA presented his paper on “Significance of the Development of Social Sciences for Effective Public Policy”. Prof. Mirza Athar Baig spoke on “The Possibility of indigenous theorization in social sciences: a Transition from Trans-disciplinary to Post-disciplinary Paradigm”
The third session consisted of discussants and was chaired by Prof. Dr. Anjum Saleemi and participated by Dr. Muhammad Waseem (LUMS), Dr. Muhammad Anwar (SSRC), Dr. Saba Gull Khattak (SDPI), Dr. Najma Najam (PU), Dr. Tahir Kamran and Dr. Asir Ajmal (GCU Lahore). The prominent participants of the conference included Sartaj Aziz, Prof. Dr. Sohail Ahmed Khan, Prof. Ahmed Hussain, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khalid Pervaiz, Prof. Dr. M.A. Kashmiri, Sahibzada Faisal Khurshid and Prof. Dr. Kausar Sohail. A large number of students and faculty from all the public and private universities attended this conference.