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Enough PhD’s, thank you

Updated Nov 21, 2015 05:37pm


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The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.
The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

When Freeman Dyson suggested we have lunch together at the Princeton University cafeteria on my next visit, I almost fell off my chair. To be invited by this legendary physicist, now 90-plus but sharp as ever, meant more than a banquet especially arranged for me by the Queen of England. Countless kings, queens, and generals have come and gone but only a tiny number of visionaries, Dyson included, actually make history.

Overwhelmed, I was about to blurt “thank you, Dr Dyson” but stopped in time. Else this would have violated an unstated protocol. We theoretical physicists address colleagues by their first name. And so I simply thanked him as Freeman. This avoided a still more serious error. Freeman Dyson does not have a PhD and has never sought or needed one.

Three books and biographies have been written on this PhD-less scientific genius. But, were he to apply to a Pakistani university, at best he might become an assistant professor. I thought of this while suffering through some lectures last week at an international physics conference in Islamabad.

Sadly, the presentations by most Pakistani PhD’s were uninteresting, others were wrong. One was even laughably wrong. Probably the worst was by a professor who was not just a ‘doctor’ but a ‘professor doctor’. This terrible pomposity, borrowed from some German tradition, is now routinely augmented with ‘distinguished professor’, ‘national professor’ and what-not. Like cartoon generals who have won no wars but have medals stuck to oversized chests, Pakistan now has legions of highly paid ignoramus cartoon professors.

Pakistan now has legions of highly paid ignoramus cartoon professors.

But wait, am I not being terribly unfair? Our professors are publishing huge numbers of research papers these days, almost 10 times more than a decade ago. Some produce as many as 40-60 every year (Dyson’s lifetime total is a mere 50). These appear in so-called international journals with high-impact factors, are well-cited, and seemingly fulfil all requirements of high quality. The authors rake in cash prizes, national awards, and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) screams about the post-2002 ‘revolution’ at every opportunity.

But the truth forlornly begs to be heard: there is no actual research behind most of these so-called research papers. The internet has placed at an author’s fingertip vast amounts of literature from which to freely cut and paste, invent data, and plagiarise ideas. Although software checks like Turn-It-In exist, they are next to useless. True, the ideal journal referee is supposed to be a know-all. But in fact he is too hard-pressed to check everything, or may even be complicit. Publishing in fly-by-night journals, or arranging for your paper to be cited, is now a finely developed art form.

Crime in Pakistani academia has overtaken even the legendary bribery of our police departments or the easy corruption of income tax authorities. But dealing with academic heist, now organised and systematised, won’t be easy. Here’s why.

First, knowledge is increasingly specialised and to detect cheating isn’t easy. A molecular biologist might not fairly judge the work of an ethologist, or a plasma physicist that of a string theorist. In principle any academic community must police itself rather than be policed from outside. But the small number of genuine academics in Pakistan means that there are precious few policemen.

Second, a thoughtless government policy that pays by the number of research papers and PhD’s produced allows cheats to get rich. Unable to tell good from bad, the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology actively encourages our professors to pillage public property.

The same dynamics applies to PhD production. The basic subject knowledge of PhD candidates is rarely tested and, if ever, only perfunctorily. Although the referees of a candidate’s thesis are supposed to be impartial, they are often chosen by a supervisor for being cooperative. Of course, the reports can be appropriately doctored when necessary.

Most PhD supervisors never get caught while doctoring. But if by rare chance someone does, he gets little more than a tap on the wrist. A colleague, a former professor of biology at Quaid-i-Azam University, then also the dean, was caught red-handed while faking referee reports for his PhD students. He admitted guilt but was not terminated and retained all retirement benefits. The administration and other colleagues shrugged off the incident; why be strict to one of your own kind? The man moved on to become dean at another university, and then emerged yet again as vice chancellor at still another university.

This ‘kindness’ has put the cancer of corruption into metastasis. Arresting further growth will require a harsh chemotherapy regime. As the very first step, rewarding authors of research papers with cash should be stopped. PCST, as well as other government organisations deliberately fuelling academic corruption, should be closed down and their directors charge-sheeted.

Transparency should be non-negotiable. While it cannot end abuse, it can discourage. So, before the author of a research paper gets any kind of credit, such as for promotion, he must give a presentation that anyone can freely attend. This should be video-recorded and archived for open access on HEC’s website. Whereas HEC’s present chairman privately agreed to my suggestion nearly two years ago, and then publicly on television a year later, I see no signs of implementation.

Still more radical therapy may be needed. As with a driving licence, all PhD degrees (including my own) should be de-recognised every 10 years, and re-recognised only after passing a literacy test in that particular discipline. Administered by some trustable overseas organisation, the written test should be at the level of an undergraduate examination equivalent to that taken by students after their first year of studies at a good foreign university. Will this reduce our current PhD population by 50 per cent? Eighty per cent?

No country becomes wealthy by printing a mountain of paper currency. And no university system becomes better by dishing out substandard PhD degrees, or by accepting vacuous research papers as valid. Instead, the way forward lies in adhering to strict ethical standards, cultivating excellence, rejecting mediocrity, and nurturing a spirit of inquiry and intellectual excitement.

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2015

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (264) Closed

AKK Nov 21, 2015 06:47am

An honest opinion about the lack of rigour in Ph D research carried out by Pakistani researchers many of whom do not understand the true meaning of research, even after they have become "DOCTORS".

Ejaz Nov 21, 2015 08:27am

I know a person who has a PhD degree (completed in record 2.5 years by any standard) from a reputable US university. Is a full right scholar but guess how he is being rewarded? An associate professor at a mediocre university which has no standing even by HEC's standards. And that is because he doesn't have required publications- the cut paste plagiarized stuff Dr. Sahib is talking about.

riaz akbar Nov 21, 2015 08:27am

It is not the number rather quality which matters.The prevailing circumstances cannot produce quality papers. Since Pakistan is underdeveloped country needs PhD's who can contribute in the economic uplift of Pakistan.I am non PhD but much concerned about huge reserves of Thar coal with 35% moisture , not a single PhD has offered to carry out research to overcome this problem of national importance. I still except that a dedicated PhD can accept this challenge in helping Pakistan in making real advantage of Thar coal.

Indialover Nov 21, 2015 08:30am

Sir you are great. Please come and settle in India and teach our children to be proper human beings.

syed imtiaz Nov 21, 2015 08:33am

PH thank you...i know that professor doctor

Rabia Nov 21, 2015 08:49am

You say it like it is, Dr Hoodbhoy and its good you do, it needs to be heard but oh I'm not looking forward to the repercussions, here and elsewhere for you!

Kris Nov 21, 2015 08:57am

I love reading Mr.Hoodbhoy's articles. They are always thought provoking.

ahmed Nov 21, 2015 08:57am

When the hard trained physicists like hoodbhoy find more solace in teaching and writing social subjects instead of spending time on physics problems; the problem is unsurprising. PhD is just the beginning of journey and no one should expect a recent graduate to make major extensions to current literature. However, HEC needs to seriously ponder over quality issues. A publication in a mediocre journal is not equivalent to a top journal.Only top five journals in any field should be on the cards

Muhammad Ateeq Nov 21, 2015 09:01am

Truly right judgements. One can realize these true facts once one sit and listen lectures of University professors. They get high salaries and know the arts how to pass half & hour class in sheer wastage.

brr Nov 21, 2015 09:08am

Having met several PhDs from US universities, it amazes me how much work they put in and how much passion is displayed as part of their doctoral research. And publishing pressures are no less. Quality seems to be controlled and managed quite well in most universities in the US.

I have met some very good phds from Indian universities, and the IITS and IISCs are fabulous, while the local / regional universities are at best mediocre. There are very few that simply award phDs in India - there is some good grunt work involved.

ssheikh Nov 21, 2015 09:12am

what you commented on is prevalent in most academic environments including those here in the US. I graduated from a "world renowned" university which is the first and the largest research university in the world. Many professors depend on internet resources and aim to be publish as frequently as possible. In sum, what you describe is not unique to Pakistan.

Wanting to raise awareness and making Pakistan a better country is noble but pinning the flaws of academia - which is ubiquitous to most mature academic environments - solely on Pakistani institutions is unfair and unnecessarily demoralizing.

cynic Nov 21, 2015 09:13am

The PhD bazar is hot in Pakistan. I personally know a dean and now a VC of a university who has claimed to publish more than 200 papers in a year!

But the suggested remedy to re-test the PhDs for the basics of their subject is a bit naïve to say the least. The simple reason is that lot of PhDs work in professions other than academia and they have only retained the knowledge that is relevant to their work. I know quite a few of these PhDs who are at the top of their game but openly admit that they don't have a full command on the entire subject of their PhD.

PhDs like the author who teach the basics all the time may be well positioned to pass such exams but not those in other professions.

YOUR NAME Nov 21, 2015 09:15am

Dear author im mphil student in a public sector agree with you on that ,that quality of our research is not standard.but thair is another side of coin also.for the previous six month im trying to do somthing standard,but every time i took my synapsis to my superviser He told me that 80 percent equipment and chemical involved in this research synopsis is not available in my uiversity.therfore he told me to go to some other university for my female and belong to fata is a miracle for me to obtaind higher education in our mind set up.i hope that you will also raise this issue in your writings.universities need modern equipments

Ahmed Nov 21, 2015 09:17am

8 years ago, when I was doing my masters, a starling professor (who knew Japanese) told me how he was asked to scrutinize the degree of a potential applicant for a dean's position. It turned out to be a fake, just random Japanese symbols put artistically on paper.

SIAK Nov 21, 2015 09:17am

I agree with every word int eh articel except the re-testing of PhDs after every 10 years. I do not think it is done anywhere. Besides, it could just as easily be corrupted. The relevancy of a PhD is his currency in research and publications. The improvement in the peer-review system is the only way to evaluate the relevancy of a PhD by the research community.

Ahmed Nov 21, 2015 09:23am

A PhD myself and with a couple of years post-doctoral experience, I agree with Prof. Hoodbhoy's statement. The potency of each and every prof needs to be reviewed after regular time periods. But the question is how? Clearly, standard indicators such as publication count, grant money awarded, citation count and grad. student count would not be if help in Pak.

Badar Nov 21, 2015 09:23am

An excellent article and some great suggestions. Sadly, considering Pakistan's declining social and ethical values, none of these suggestions will be considered by those who matter

Awareness itself is a start. And Dr HoodBhai always does it in best possible ways. Thank you

My name is Luka Nov 21, 2015 09:33am

Very nice article...I enjoy your articles Mr. Hoodbhoy. But more importantly I am proud that you are a teacher in Pakistan....all is not lost

Shaukat Ali Khan Nov 21, 2015 09:39am

No fun of PhD's as a community please !!!

TD Nov 21, 2015 09:57am

I am very fortunate to be a student of the department, where Professor S. N. Bose use to teach, who never got a Phd, but entire scientific fraternity remember him for Bose–Einstein condensate, Boson Particle, Ideal Bose equation of state Photon gas, Bose–Einstein statistics etc. Now a days the whole world is talking about GOD particle which is Higgs-Boson.

Oz Nov 21, 2015 10:05am

Completely agree. Without proper regulatory compliance anything in Pakistan is open to abuse, be that marketing, education finance, its a Free for all at the moment.

Ali Nov 21, 2015 10:08am

I agree. Instead of doing quality research the faculty members are running after numbers, counting numbers and discussing nothing but numbers. Some have "decoded" the science behind publishing into high IF journals.

Confused Nov 21, 2015 10:11am

Although, I usually don't agree with Hoodbhai, but on this matter, I am agree with him. And I am also a PhD from USA, a product of Ministry of Science and Technology.

azam ali Siddiqui Nov 21, 2015 10:11am

The university professors usually are at the frontier of knowledge and through research they usually try to expand the frontier of knowledge.Our scholars many times have neither latest books nor the latest professional journals.Many times they teach by notes whose pages have become yellow.Our all post-secondary teachers should be somehow exposed to the best universities and professors of the world.At least one percent faculty should get a chance to attend international conferences.There should also be translation work to enrich Urdu.Indonesia has done a good job in this area..Who has forced our madarsa teachers to not study the social sciences,foreign languages Special education or vocational education.

desidude Nov 21, 2015 10:20am

As I read this article, I realized that one could substitute India for Pakistan and everything said here would apply just as well. So that's another thing we have in common with Pakistan.

hkhan Nov 21, 2015 10:24am

Very harsh realities here in our land of pure. The quality of knowledge/PhD take the nation to a level where there is peace, tolerance and happiness and so called economic development. There is a missing link between academia, industry and public and unless until this link is developed a nation is nothing but good at piracy and copy cat

Naveen Nov 21, 2015 10:24am

Excellent Article. Almost same academic condition exist in India.

Syed Nov 21, 2015 10:27am

True.Very well written.Sir.

Khurram Nov 21, 2015 10:34am

All that matters to me is that my PhD paper on "The symbolic significance of baboon mating within the confines of Gramsci's theory of the sub-altern." will get me Rs. 10,000 allowance per month.

Max's axes Nov 21, 2015 10:37am

Education in Pakistan is an exercise in complacency, a legalized extortion forced upon the public in the form of exclusivity and austerity. The predictable institutional standards for higher education are meted out to fit a brutish political agenda maintained by our jet-flying globe-trotting "noble" families. Post-graduate degrees are more status symbols of who a student's land-owning father is than a tangible proof of competency. Our to-be-doctors with little sense of independence or adversity are depreciating the labor of undeniably talented Pakistani public. Kudos to the author for his insight: "government organisations deliberately fuelling academic corruption, should be closed down and their directors charge-sheeted."

Zubair Nov 21, 2015 10:48am

Sir,We do need the intellectuals , researchers and properly educated people. Do you not feel the responsibility that our Universities should become the source of research & development,invention & innovation and be the guide & leader to meet the challenging and rapidly changing demands of the modern day technolgically advanced fields .Why not you have the optimistic attitude and produce more subject specific Ph.D`s to have the competetive edge in the world today. Sir,you have very intelligent youth. Lot of Potential.Please take care.Build Trust.

berni Nov 21, 2015 10:50am

Does our PM have a scientific advisor? Every country needs an educational policy.

naeemali Nov 21, 2015 10:53am

Favouritism is the name of another cancer that exists in our institutions......

Sami Nov 21, 2015 10:54am

Being a PhD researcher I totally agree to Dr Hoodbhoy on substandard research in PhD and substandard staff in universaties. Dr. Hoodbhoy suggestions are effective and I would suggest that we should also fix our education system and should improve research ethics. I would give an additional suggestion that we must include mathatics in all kind of F.Sc. and F.A. programmes to improve mathematical skills of students. Every student studies mathematics in B.Sc. but two year gap during F.Sc. and F.A. destroys mathematical skills of students.

Arshad Nov 21, 2015 11:05am

Let's see media taking on this scourge other than political bickering only; these factories as highlighted by respected Dr.Hoodbhoy must close forthwith. Actually we as a society should launch an operation against such cancers in the offing. Where it's so saddening to know all this yet a blessing to know the insight for strengthening our resolves to uproot this menace once for all.

hameed Nov 21, 2015 11:06am

Excellent article from DR. hoodbhoy. Being an indian,im surprised, looking at the phd epidemic that is a deep malaise india, is just the same in pakistan. Not to mention the substandard engineering colleges that have mushroomed throughout india. If u can pay a five figure some, u can sit at home and still get a doctorate degree in almost any discipline in a deemed university of south india.

Hats off to u sir, for well thought article.

I. Ahmed Nov 21, 2015 11:10am

One of the reason for 'research publications' by the Ph.D. academics in Pakistan is the requirement by the HEC for number of 'published' papers for promotion. Way back in 1970's when I was a student at a well renowned University in Pakistan, a foreign qualified Ph.D. became Professor from Associate Professor by including an article published by him in daily Jang (to be fair it was in the field of his study) in order to make up for the number of research articles required for promotion. Sad, but true. Any system is as good as the people - irrespective of literacy rate!

citizen Nov 21, 2015 11:14am

Salute to you sir ! It needs more than courage in this country to call a spade as spade. Sad truth is that nobody hears the saner voices like yours...

SHAH Nov 21, 2015 11:16am

"Instead, the way forward lies in adhering to strict ethical standards, cultivating excellence, rejecting mediocrity, and nurturing a spirit of inquiry and intellectual excitement."

We as a nation can only progress if everyone has the above motto.

Muhammed Nov 21, 2015 11:17am

interesting reading - thanks for putting this on. I did not know; before this article that corruption has also penetrated into our academia as well - which i thought are still not infected with the menace of corruption

Syed Nov 21, 2015 11:21am

I agree with the argument for the quality and rigor presented by PH. However, the situation is not so green in developed countries as well. Everyone in European and Australian universities is in a rate race, "publications" is the keyword, A* journals is a requirement for recognition. May be this is because the universities are under pressure by the government bodies for funding requirements, how can one produce a quality output in a 3 year PhD programme?

Sajid Nov 21, 2015 11:23am

Exact ly true

Nadeem Nov 21, 2015 11:25am

PhDs - both genuine and #2 - are usually quite arrogant, I have observed. When placed in a fast-paced corporate environment, where productivity, people skills, and a can-do attitude are the key requirements, they underperform but expect VIP treatment just because they have a PhD

Abu Safi Nov 21, 2015 11:27am

The truth hurts!! Sadly in the current socio-politic environment I see no solution. Lets hope that having identified the problem, we can progress towards one.

An Observer Nov 21, 2015 11:33am

Sir, after 17 years of education, a person start with 10 thousand, whereas a non-educated like milkmen, mechanics etc start earning 60 thousand per month since their childhood. what is the need of such Master degree, which can't pay us enough money to survive?

Dar Nov 21, 2015 11:37am

Words! I second you professor.

NH Nov 21, 2015 11:42am

Excellent ariticle

Ali Z. Nov 21, 2015 11:47am

I was thinking to get a PhD in near future, and PH has totally put me off the idea. Thank you Dr. Hoodbhoy.

Nooran Nov 21, 2015 12:03pm

@Ali Z.

Does not mean that you yourself can't do some independent work. I think you should go ahead and do your PHD.

Mustafa Nov 21, 2015 12:07pm

Very interesting reading, I think its a culture issue of the learning institutions.Understandably so because education is for earning money .

Its a challenge how to set a new direction

Maz Nov 21, 2015 12:09pm

@Confused I am agree with him? Come on! Please check the typos and grammar before clicking the "comment" button.

Aviator Nov 21, 2015 12:09pm

Once again, PH has highlighted a dent in our education system and still everybody knows it but no one is bothered about it at Government level. This means that priorities at top level are quite different. During my undergraduate studies, not a single PhD could teach us the way it should have been taught. MS level lecturers were quite good in teaching and had the much needed temperament.

D MANDAL Nov 21, 2015 12:15pm

The scenario in India is not terribly better. Here too, we are on a PhD-producing romp, enegetically churning out vast numbers of PhD winners with neither any prospect, nor any real knowledge to strike something out on their own. Sometimes I feel Pakistan may not be so different from India after all, except for the former's rather curious obsession with things militaristic and religious.

Anyway, times are a'changing and many Indians too are now finding more interest in those two things rather than in issues related to education, social awareness and the material betterment of the country.

Azim Haider Nov 21, 2015 12:18pm

Plagiarism has become a science and is practiced all over the world. But when such things hapen in a society already lacking in morals, all one can do is to judge people with a 'lump' of salt instead of their respective prefixes.

Malik from Australia Nov 21, 2015 12:22pm

Integrity has to be made a basic ingredient of education from ground up. Dishonesty, cheating, and corruption must be fought at all cost. Only then research can flourish and benefit society. Thank you Professor Hoodbhoy for your column. Please keep at it. We need Dawn to publish your insightful comments on a regular basis. Best wishes.

Carol Grayson Nov 21, 2015 12:31pm

I gave up a paid PhD place to focus on social media at the time of the uprising in Tunisia, no regrets whatsover. I recognized the importance (at that time) of social media as a tool for change. The average PhD is read by only 6 people and has limited impact. Most of my friends were horrified at my decision. I had already won 2 awards for my work at Masters level for research that had only previously been awarded at PhD level "best new researcher of the year (UK) for "research that impacts on society" beating candidates at Oxford and Cambridge (I had in a sense achieved ahead of my time by using a life tragedy to motivate thinking) and much prefered to work at a grassroots level than stay in an "ivory tower" where there are an incredible number of sheep who think themselves lions! Being human, ethics, values and meritocracy are the essence of society as is thinking "outside the box". Its sad though, those ahead of the thinking are often penalized until the rest of society catch up!

Imad Nov 21, 2015 12:36pm

@Confused lol.

Kashmiri Nov 21, 2015 12:40pm

yeah u r right but at the same time u have to look at the conditions under which these people are working...u have to look at the facilities available to them..then only one can compare a doctor from lahore with a doctor from say MIT

Dr. Farooq Khan Nov 21, 2015 12:48pm

Well said. I would like to add further suggestions. Sole purpose of a PhD is to solve the local problems not the world's problem but publishing some stupid articles in some renown journal. Many of the European countries do understand that and in their PhD they are more focused towards solving the local industry problem rather than publishing something nobody would ever use. Most of the machinery in Pakistan is imported. Why can't we make it? Let'd award PhD to someone who delivers something tangible in such development. Take for example Pakistan's Khalid Tank, many of the electronic parts are purchased from France. Can we not make them here? Of course yes, but who will award PhD for doing such job? In my view, awarding PhD based of papers is not fruitful. So, PhD should be awarded based on solving some local industry problem which require 4 years consistent study and hard work and resources.

Akhtar Hussain Javed Nov 21, 2015 12:55pm

Thank you sir for writing this. You are spot on. I have seen the PHd students in Pakistani universities that don't have the "real understanding" of the topic but have written research papers on that issue. Which clearly shows that there is something wrong with the system. I think the solution you recommended is very much practical and should be adapted by the HEC.

Khwarezmi Nov 21, 2015 12:59pm

Not to criticise the important work behind PHDs...but would be nice to get some numbers on actual patents or new technology (or even businesses) these PHDs has generated.

Musharaf Nov 21, 2015 12:59pm

Pakistan is becoming a factory of PhDs. The universities have no criteria to admit students for this highly prestigious degree. They are just minting money. In some cases the number of students doing PhD is not less than an M.Sc class. What is this? where are we heading?

adnan Nov 21, 2015 01:03pm

I have a Phd from the Uk. In the uk most students undertake a masters in research before embarking on a phd course. That would be a better way of addressing the issue but Pakistan is inherently a corrupt nation and the majority of people are corrupt.

Kazim Reza Nov 21, 2015 01:05pm

Dear Professor,Probably you won't lament if visited just any university,public or private in Bangladesh.We have a deluge of doctor professors or professors doctors. Once a Bangladesh President was a bird of same flocks.Once my editor of a Bangla weekly where I worked for some times, whispered me,"Look as you are a simply arts graduate with a third class position holder I am safely narrating something about your junior colleague,obtained first classBA honurs and MA degrees from a renowned public university on government.He never heard the name of "Prince" or Machiavelli!Now he is a teacher and would be professor of another renowned public university".

Haseeb Khalid Nov 21, 2015 01:15pm

Instead of disapproval of his opinion with own argument , pseudo-intellectual here started character assassination of author.

Syed Jalal shah Nov 21, 2015 01:37pm

I am admirer and fan of Dr Hood bhoywhois really intectual and visionary persona and great asset of our country.God may bless him more courage to expose hypocrates and pseudo intellectuals in our country of so called pures

Sajjad Khan Nov 21, 2015 01:41pm

Sadly, a very true fact about our "Professor Doctors".

Naveed Ahmed Abbasi Nov 21, 2015 01:42pm

I disagree with most of his opinions, its not as dark or grim a picture as shown by Dr Hoodbhoy. HEC has improved the educational standards of the country, and since there is more research being done, we are seeing some substandard research as well. Its the same everywhere in the world. The take home lesson isnt that there is substandard work, the take home thing is that their is work now. I have worked in academia in Pakistan and am doing my PhD, and find it distressing to see all you people say such stuff in the comments. Most of the 'oh we know there is such and such bad' 'totally agree' guys havent been in the field and are just taking out the hate against some bad teachers you got over the years. Its a tough life to do a PhD and the work you publish is as hard a thing you can do and if its rewarded, thats good. I suggest everyone to take five minutes and think how cynical they are about everything in their lives. Dr Hoodbhoy might need 10 mins.

Asad Nov 21, 2015 01:45pm

I agree with you, while doing masters abroad, my supervisor was discussing something related to publications then all of the sudden he said that Pakistanis submit journal with personal email and review himself with registered email.

stranger Nov 21, 2015 01:48pm

My appeal to those that matter. Please do not isolate Pakistan internationally. Otherwise, everything including academic plus research standards will suffer.

Muhammad Farooq Nov 21, 2015 01:50pm

It's really alarming situation. We must take strict measurements to stop ignoramus. That's why, the world doesn't trust us and ask for do more. Where is that time; when, we'll realize and accept our drawbacks and correct them without criticizing others.

sheher bano Nov 21, 2015 01:58pm

Very nice article Pervaiz sahib, as always. An eye opener! You always raise important issues. I am also a Quaidian and I have some idea of these "Professor Doctors". It was the only reason that I dropped the idea of doing my MPhl and then PhD after having the "great opportunity" to be taught by such a "Great Professor Doctor" at the Karachi University's Sociology Department. He is well known in Karachi's academic and media circles and God knows better for how long he will continue his dynasty. After this experience, I am now content with my MSc from the Anthropology Department of Quaid-i-Azam University. These people are not only ruining the education system but also ruining the lives of so many students who resort to plagiarism as a "quick-fix" formula for doing PhD.

MEHBOOB ALI LALANI Nov 21, 2015 02:03pm

Is the whole truth? Every thing so bad! There is no light at end of the tunne. A Professor called other Professors cartoon. What nonsense. This so because we do not respect our teachers. First change mentality. Then suggest and work for improvement in the system. We need to see something good in the country and highligtht the same

Shahid Nov 21, 2015 02:06pm

Even the most appropriate and correct number of doping atoms cannot produce the desired useful (electronic, optical, etc.) properties if atoms of the supporting semiconductor host material are not orderly and pure. The host society of PH is neither orderly nor pure and lacks genuine supporting characteristics/sense of personal and collective responsibilities. Therefore, in it even PhDs with genuine training of the highest caliber will prove ineffective. When sense of responsibility become a norm, quality will prevail in every spheres of life, including education. Actually it starts with education in true spirit of learning by genuine students from true scholars and scientists, PhD or not.

ARJS Nov 21, 2015 02:23pm

@ssheikh Being a PhD candidate and bound to this academic culture for almost last 5 years in a world reputable university I agree with ssheikh 100%

Hasan Nov 21, 2015 02:36pm

Though i dont disagree with Dr Hoodbuoy analysis and it is fact that PHD not only in Pakistan but every where else too has been a guarantee of good job. The corruption this mind set carries is the outcome of too much quantification of knowledge However I would also like to share that for last soo many years i never seen any positive article from Dr PH whether on education or any social issue.

Mehboob Khaliq Nov 21, 2015 02:37pm

Well said by Mr.Hoodbhy, he is a genuine educationist and wise man.

Dr. Khalid Khan Nov 21, 2015 02:49pm

Where there is demand there is going to be a supply. The key point is that we have a demand for Ph.Ds because HEC wants universities to have a specific number to open shop. Back in the 1960's when the green revolution was starting we had a demand for agri research to improve yields - that demand led to an amazing group of researchers who got Ph.D and helped change agriculture. The HEC of Dr. Atta is only focused on numbers - there has never been a national research agenda. As if we don't have problems - growing population, decreasing farm productivity, transport problems of over grown cities, climate change, etc. If we had a research agenda we would have had a body smarter than HEC drive that agenda and churn out Ph.D who could help solve some of these difficult problems. In the current culture of number games - I don't see why the system would want to change to produce meaningful research that needs engagement, time and resources....why all this effort when we have Google...

Muhammad Arif Masroor Nov 21, 2015 02:50pm

I respect all the dignitaries who have achieve prestigious landmark in their life. On the other hand this article reflects only one side of the mirror. Other is how much our Universities support research work and collaborations with foreign researchers. Still the number of PHDs produced by our country is much less than the other developing countries in the world. Its all about making the environment supportive for new comers. Please note that PHD is not the end but it is the beginning of new era in ones professional life and mental level which is U-turn towards R & D.

PhD student Nov 21, 2015 02:56pm

Most of the PhD professors present in Pakistan completed their PhD in 90s without using computers and without publishing anything during their thesis. But now they have more than 100s of research papers written by their students showing these dummies as first author, otherwise these students suffer a lot for completion of their PhD. I know a professor whose cv shows 200 research papers and he does not know how to plug a charger to a laptop. I mean who wrote the research papers or even who made his cv. Research papers are always written by the students and the list of authors show supervisors and their friends and then if they take pity then the original researcher (the student) comes at last

Muhammad Irfan Nov 21, 2015 02:56pm

Even in the west there would be hardly a "trustable overseas organisation." I am working Online, as Content Writer for many years. I have been done many online courses of renowned American Universities for some students, Arab Students, it is an amazing and horrible fact that mostly Arab Students even cant's write an email sentence correctly, and they are studying in best American varsities, how they got admissions in that universities?? OR how they passed GRE/Tofel etc.?? I am sure that there is something wrong in the bottom. There is a different education policy for Arab Students, the western universities are also minting money, and dishing out degrees. I was reading somewhere that in the US, 6000 Fake PhDs Degrees being distributed each year, in different disciplines. I am not criticizing the west, but its fact. There is a worth reading book "Re-reading America," the book is a compilation of essays, written by American Professors, criticizing harshly on American education system.

Muhammad Irfan Nov 21, 2015 02:57pm

Even in the west there would be hardly a "trustable overseas organisation." I am working Online, as Content Writer for many years. I have been done many online courses of renowned American Universities for some students, Arab Students, it is an amazing and horrible fact that mostly Arab Students even cant's write an email sentence correctly, and they are studying in best American varsities, how they got admissions in that universities?? OR how they passed GRE/Tofel etc.?? I am sure that there is something wrong in the bottom. There is a different education policy for Arab Students, the western universities are also minting money, and dishing out degrees. I was reading somewhere that in the US, 6000 Fake PhDs Degrees being distributed each year, in different disciplines. I am not criticizing the west, but its fact. There is a worth reading book "Re-reading America," the book is a compilation of essays, written by American Professors, criticizing harshly on American education system.

Ahsan Nov 21, 2015 03:02pm

Dear professor, Respectfully stated that, may be you are right but you just figure out one side of the figure and start blaming. We all in Pakistan respect our teachers first ... I know most of the professor in Pakistan those who are foreign qualified but NIL in research. Here in Pakistan young scholar have capability to learn new thing and latest development in science and technology but when we look back, we must have to entertain our families and culture too. It is hard to run both research and earning at the same time. Here in Pakistan, Ph.D student is not full time scholar like foreign countries. Even HEC just pay 200$ per month only for selected candidates. Even they pay this money after 1 year or some time after completion of Ph.D. All those professor who are teaching in universities on TTS based they must publish 2 articles in a year no matter what is the standard of the journal. HEC Pakistan is trying their best but they need to set a criteria and it should be standard base.

Muhammad Shahbaz Nov 21, 2015 03:04pm

Well, I do like the articles by Mr. Pervaiz. And his writings are often critical. However, I do not think that simple criticism is enough. Finding problems in every thing easy and simple. The point is, do you have a solution? Do you have an example of other countries where Publications, Citations and Impact factors do not matter these days? In fact, these are International Standards from the World Class Universities. People used to have Many MA's with knowledge from different fields. Now emphasis in on more specific as well as interdisciplinary areas.

I do agree problems exist and there are individuals who make bad choices. However, this is more of a social problem than an Academic one. We are corrupt as a society and PhDs are part of this society.

Do not be Descriptive always... be Prescriptive ... Offer a solution... Criticizing is easy... I can easily say how good authority You are as a Physicist to write in these issues?

Csscientist Nov 21, 2015 03:08pm

Dr Hoodbhai you are just of the mentality to alwaz criticize the home nation.I alwaz found from you criticism for the sake of criticism. Why dont you have a courage to write about factories of PhD in foreign universities.All the crab we find whoever comes back having foreign PhD degree.Are all the research articles of foreign authors have very huge impact.My foot.Are scientists outside the pakistan not fabricating the results?O dr Hoodbhai let the culture of research flourish in pakistan.At the moment people are encouraged to write a bit by looking some incentive.Research is not the matter of some daz or moths.Its a continuous process.Instead of just criticism contribute there.Time will create a healthy research environment in Pakistan.InshaAllah.

Hammad Qureshi Nov 21, 2015 03:24pm

A very interesting article again by Prof. Hoodbhoy. There are a lot of issues in our education system and they need to be fixed but rolling back or hampering the PhD program is not an option. I have also come across diploma holders teaching graduate students at top universities of our country. If a diploma holder is an expert or has become an expert some way then why not abolish graduate programs as well or test these graduates every ten years for knowledge that diploma holders have.

Logical Nov 21, 2015 03:26pm

A very valid blog which is being going on in our institution of higher studies Which actually have no value for the society and does not any way helping in Improving education standard. There is serious need to vet the system and apply brake on unscrupulous award of PhD Which have No value. Another way to improve our academia is compulsory training and workshop followed by test during vacation to improve their knowledge , which may improve overall teaching

SUNIL Nov 21, 2015 03:31pm

This is malaise of the subcontinent.

SUNIL Nov 21, 2015 03:35pm

When politicians need quantity for their political purpose they unhesitantly sacrifice quality.

sri1 Nov 21, 2015 03:37pm

In a way, some states deserve their true statuses when it comes to science and real education. When WMDs can be re-engineered and multiplied with impunity to blackmail the world by rogue agencies, true science deserves to take a back seat. There is too much scope for mischief.

sunil Nov 21, 2015 03:46pm

Well said Sir, ! I don't know about other fields, but in this field India certainly beats Pakistan! Rampant corruption in higher education, plagiarism, fake research papers! You know what? There were 255 PhD candidates applying for a grade IV (i.e., chupprasi) government position in UP a couple months ago !! Isn't that better than Pakistan? Shame Shame. My head hangs in shame.

muhammad umer Nov 21, 2015 03:58pm

@Indialover Brother we need his services more than India however thanks for appreciation

muhammad umer Nov 21, 2015 04:01pm

Very appealing article. The situation is even more worsened in social sciences where getting Phd depends on reference... shame on such supervisors and candidates

exphd Nov 21, 2015 04:14pm

I've met and been supervised by PhDs from US and other advanced countries. Personally, I think every human being is different and some are good verbally but lack scientific smartness and others are quiet and not very good at delivering lectures but creative and real intellectuals. Taking a basic test from the PhDs is waste of time as everyone forgets after a while, monitoring and regulating their progress in a way other counties do is ideal. Research paper is no criteria but could be one of them, ideally, original articles, contributions to discipline, quality of PhDs or researchers produced by him, books or chapters in internationally acclaimed books etc are good criteria. Pakistan is in a race with India to, 'manufacture' more or equivalent PhDs on a production line.

rs Nov 21, 2015 04:19pm

Statement of fact. There are many PhDs in India also without the required competence. The PhDs over a period have been degraded. As in Pakistan, here also it is required to one attain the grade of professor in a University. There is one more bunch specialising in preparing thesis for getting PhDs. Good article.

Raham Nov 21, 2015 04:27pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy, It seems you dont like many PhDs in Pakistan and you dont know many of them who can compete with the others from all over the world.

Ali Haider Nov 21, 2015 04:28pm

Love you sir ji always pick the exact place to hit on quite brilliantly have endorsed to what i was suspecting ...But to my regret ...i have no one to share my feelings....all alone even in my own university class ....and those ignoramuses are rapidly increasing in numbers ....producing the army of the same kind ....

Mohammad Nov 21, 2015 04:28pm

One university claims to be number 2 ranked in Pakistan is headed by a VC for the last six years and is rampant with “biradaryism” meaning all the decision-making posts are occupied by people with one particular last name. What kind of research, knowledge and quality control you can expect from such institutions where the faculty hiring is done on the basis of something other than merit. That university is a factory producing new PhDs.

Niaz Ali Nov 21, 2015 04:44pm

I would comment as " Zara nam ho tu ye Matti bari zarheez hai saqi". If the prenration of PhDs were not up to standards, it is the fault of our education system" as presentation is an art while PhD is awarded on a synopsis that do merits a PhD degree. The problem is that we don't have budget for educational institutes. Compare budget of a professor in Japan and whole university budget in Pakistan. What the then government did with the Hec islambad . In fact we don't have state policy for research in health, agricultural etc etc. Every supervisor bring his her proposal. If we synchronized our research in light of national interest, then these phds will definitely deliver. Pakistan needs PhDs and national vision, mission and stratified to be promulgated in shape of an act through Parliament or as deems fit. Never blame PhDs blame those who obstruct these PhDs. Think globaly and act locally. For gentle professor, how many PhDs are in developed countries, how our PhDs student perform there and why not here. It is not a sensible approach. Write and give ideas how all universities of pakistan can be put on a national research policy. Of course here we need your services as senior.

Nasro Nov 21, 2015 04:51pm

I think the main problem is that peoples r not doing Phd to get knowledge but to make money n then HEC show off with number of PhDs that's what is causing this cartoon Phds revolution but the nation needs quality n not quantity. We need people's who can solve problems n not people who r just burden on our economy

javeed Nov 21, 2015 05:03pm

Firstly it has always been pleasure reading Mr Hoodbouy's articles. He is right in all accounts he describes here but who is to blame, the commission, professors or the students. Most of the supervisors , especially in universities are habitual of these malpractices & are in race for publications. (for that case in most arab countries they give special incentives for each publication regardless of the quality or applicablity of the research) if only the policies are refined and stress is put on quality, things may change.

fida Nov 21, 2015 05:12pm

'No country becomes wealthy by printing a mountain of paper currency' says Dr. Hoodbhoy. Very true, but the fact is that the honorable USA leads the so called civilized countries of the world in printing of its currency and yet is branded as the financial leader of the world. Pretty sad?

Amadeus Nov 21, 2015 05:21pm

I thought of this while 'suffering' through some lectures last week. Correction please, the word is 'surfing'. I, personally don't accept an indigenous Pakistani university's Mphil and Ph.D degrees.

Tariq, Lahore Nov 21, 2015 05:28pm

Quality over quantity is the message. Unfortunately plagiarism is the root cause where the researcher 'cuts and pastes' from the internet, and memorising by rota and then 'regurgitate' at will, either orally or in written form without understanding/comprehension of the script/process!

Usman Bashir Nov 21, 2015 05:39pm

It is rear i would agree with Hood but having seen this corruption first hand, i know what happens in our country. However, I think its a process which works itself out. There was a time when no such aspiration existed and mostly focus was to develop your skills in commercial areas. Now it is started like catching fire and obviously cheats are cashing in. However, i would assume , this will be soon over saturate and then it will automatically cleanse itself. Though i doubt , we would be able to produce the quality vs quantity as in west because of our inherent culture promotes learning by heart (Rata System) rather then research and analysis.

Asif Ayub Nov 21, 2015 05:42pm

Unfortunately you have as usual stated the truth but no one will pay any attention since it makes sense.

Ravi Nov 21, 2015 05:51pm

I always read your 'Dawn' articles and have only appreciation for you! What you said regarding the so-called peer reviewed publications in journals is unfortunately true for the whole world and not just for Pakistan. Researchers just want only publications and the journal industry and science societies have shamelessly encouraged this for profit, like real-estate agents. As a result, the motto of the academic world has become, 'Publish or Perish'. I know people who publish 'new' stuff that was already known/published 25-30 years ago. The worst of it is that these guys didn't even know that it was already out there for 3 decades. They are not only publishing junk, but they are also declaring inadvertently that they don't even care to read what was out there in the literature already! An innocent act, indeed!! Scientific publishing area has become a world of half-truths with conveniently hidden Truths!!

AbbasToronto Nov 21, 2015 05:51pm

No different in Canada.

Learning pyramid retention rates:

Lecture 5% Reading 10% Audio-Visual 20% Demonstration 30% Discussion Group 50% Practice by doing 75% Teach others 80%

Little learning takes place in a classroom that is increasingly becoming an entertainment centre than a place to get knowledge.

The problem is more of attitude. Every 1-2 months we 3-4 meet socially our 1970s common thesis supervisor. Last month one of us, a college prof lamented at falling Math grades in Canada. Then our retired Prof stunned us by saying that it was a mistake to introduce calculus pre-university level saying that it was wasting time of those who will not pursue physics or engineering later.

But can you imagine today life sciences, economics, or anything that does not deal with rate of change (differentiation) or solving differential equations (Black Shoals et al)? With thinking like that at the elite in Canada no wonder future belongs to Singapore, China, Korea, India et al.

Adnan Aziz Nov 21, 2015 05:52pm

An Excellent Piece of Writing by the Author, as Always.


Hafiz Saleem Nov 21, 2015 05:55pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy. I am intimately familiar with the workings of many a doctoral programs in these United Staes and I can second your observations of the flippancy of such programs. I live a stone's throw away from Princeton in New Jersey and I oversee a number of staff members who are the graduates of various Princeton programs. Many such graduates make me scratch my head with the frivolity of their arguments on their subject matter. I would love to invite you to meet with some of these world-class graduates when you come to New Jersey next time. Let me know if you would like me to schedule you for an interview with me.

Chacha Mian Nov 21, 2015 06:01pm

@brr I work with a PhD from India. He completed his degree while only being enrolled in the Indian University and sitting/working in another country. He used to take gifts for his advisor on every trip (once in a year) and finally after 3 years he was awarded the degree. I also know his caliber ... He should at best be awarded a BSc degree, but now he is a PhD.

Alethia Nov 21, 2015 06:07pm

What Pakistan needs most is compulsory, universal, and free primary and secondary education.

TK Nov 21, 2015 06:17pm

Saradhi Nov 21, 2015 06:17pm

The situation is more or less similar in India. The cream people are now a days giving preference to IT industry than real research. Hope the real research pickes up in near future. -Saradhi (India)

paul Nov 21, 2015 06:33pm

The bold and ferociously honest article mentions only Pakistan, but it is equally true to Pakistan's neighbors as well (making sure no one is behind any one else)!

Shah Nov 21, 2015 06:33pm

Salute you sir, keep it up!

Javed Rahim Nov 21, 2015 06:48pm

To Amadeus: What Dr. Hoodbhoy obviously meant is that he experienced pain and suffering as he listened to those lectures. So it is correct to use "suffering"and this means something entirely different from "surfing". Note the absence of a single spelling or grammatical error in the essay. It's time you started working on your own comprehension of what you read.

jbashir Nov 21, 2015 06:51pm

Flawed piece, I am afraid. Similar accusations could be hurled at many research centres all over the world. Pakistan is not unique. The author should highlight any problem with research fraud at proper fora,

Uzair Nov 21, 2015 06:53pm

We had a phd teacher in chemistry , and by God if he ever asked to teach a simplest topic without keeping book on front dice , he would not be able to speak two or three mins over it . Its cringing how they get phd degrees . The criteria of publishing a paper in international confrences should be more tough and research provoking to enhance quality rather than increasing publications for cv beautification....

sikander Nov 21, 2015 06:55pm

I need to know the name of that former professor of biology at Quaid-i-Azam University??? Please help me knowing him

citizen Nov 21, 2015 06:55pm

@hameed : Is it possible to get Ph D from any IIT's or IISc or IIM's if one pay more amount?

Arslan Nov 21, 2015 07:14pm

Excellent article. If other people were to introspect in their fields, we could have excellence all around rather than the culture of incompetence. Trading false praise is the currency for strengthening personal power, but hollows society.

R S Chakravarti Nov 21, 2015 07:17pm

Most of these comments apply to India also, although I haven't heard of fake referee's reports. Probably just my ignorance.

In India there are at least a few good institutions in some fields. This must have something to do with the country's size. Pakistan would benefit from interaction with India.

Moona Nov 21, 2015 07:21pm

All this comes later. First you have to tackle faculty members with fake degrees who go around calling themselves "doctor."

Xpakistani Nov 21, 2015 07:21pm

Please don't treat western work place and western universities as holy cows. Lying is institutionalized within the western work place as well. Race, colour and favouritism is also rampant here, but they do it with style and make it foolproof to prevent any legal action and backlash. I am done with western sweet talk.

imran ahmed Nov 21, 2015 07:27pm

There are never enough PhDs, a very pessimist view expressed in this article. There are ways to detect plagiarism, a referee skilled in the art, a reputed IEEE journal etc. There usually is a good reason for a journal's reputation. All over the world there are good publications and bad publications, but that should not discourage people publishing good work. Or writing articles as Enough PHDs. Pakistan is already far behind the world, please dont' paint everything with the same brush.

Hashmi Nov 21, 2015 07:34pm

Hood bhoy you are good. My observation is in America every moment is spent in raising standards where as in our country every moment is spent in lowering the standards that too just to accommodate one self or relatives .Forget your professional honesty nation or country.

Ajay vikram Singh Nov 21, 2015 07:37pm

Woh!!! Meeting that genius. When you meet Freeman Dyson, please ask him about his latest views on "Hard problem of consciousness". Its one of the most important and toughest question scientific community has today. And then do write a blog on his latest views on the problem.

And if he is in the mood, ask him his views on other 3 most critical and toughest questions mankind and science are facing today -

  1. What is the nature of reality?

  2. What is purpose of existence?

  3. What is universe made up of? Since we know both Matter and Space, are just less than 2% of the known universe. What else is there?

I would love to know that genius's latest views on these questions.

Ajay vikram Singh Nov 21, 2015 07:39pm

@fida - You are right. But USA also leads the civilized world in innovations and creativity. Pretty cool?

Aqeel Ahmed Nov 21, 2015 07:39pm

An other factor which is contributing to substandard Ph.D is the mushrooming of substandard universities and incapable teaching staff.

JS Sheikh Nov 21, 2015 07:49pm

Acquiring and showing off knowledge is losing its allure. Knowledge is now a click away. We all are PHDs now; just need a few clicks!

Malik Achakzai Nov 21, 2015 07:56pm

Agreed with Dr Hoodbhoy; do you know your suggestions are pure and for the development of research work in Pakistan. But when there's no will there'll be no way ahead. So your suggestions would get a closed street as the system don't allow realism.

R S Chakravarti Nov 21, 2015 08:04pm

@Ali Z. If you think you have the ability and the opportunity to do good research, you should go ahead. Don't be put off unless things are hopeless.

OBAIDULLAH CHANDIO Nov 21, 2015 08:06pm

PEC doing this already for Engineers, but it should be implemented in every field.

readit Nov 21, 2015 08:06pm

I know PhD in Information System professor doesnt have any idea about ERP Systems.

Amar Nov 21, 2015 08:07pm

well, i totally disagree with writer opinion about cessation of funding for research but we should increase the scrutiny of idea about its genuineness, originality, publish-ability and applicability. i believe that if there is bulk of seeds then there is high possibility of seedling and only most competitive will emerge as plant, as like as, opening the market for producer will bring competitiveness and efficiency. Therefore, if there is opportunities for research then there is possibility of having some good researcher.

Abdullah Shalmni Nov 21, 2015 08:08pm

Absolutely agree. To a greater extent government and her policies are responsible. We need to change our education system from the very root, set the rules of the game then see.

Mohammed Khanzada Nov 21, 2015 08:13pm

Author fails to mention, how he will encourage genuine PhD s. Author is very harsh on nascent Pakistani educational effort. these are teething problems. eventually these will be sort out. more accountability is the key. it is lifelong struggle. By abolishing nascent institution , we will never make strong and durable institution.

Muhammad Ibrahim Nov 21, 2015 08:14pm

yes, i am 100% agree with sir Hoodbhoy because in our country the researcher only rely on impact factor having no idea as creativity behind the research. they just trying to get high rank in institution and for the sake to be known as good and high researcher .

A. Shabbir Nov 21, 2015 08:22pm

While I agree with most issues highlighted by Prof. Hoodbhoy, I feel proposing that a PhD degree is "de-recognised" every 10 years is going a bit too far. This would in effect mean that every engineer, medical doctor, a bureaucrat and countless others should also in fact be required to re sit the examination that declared them qualified enough to be on their current jobs. More evolved and thorough systems for improving the quality of academics in Pakistan need to introduced. HEC somehow needs to ensure that quality is ensured before quantity. However, we have to understand that this is easier said than done. But people like Prof. Hoodbhoy can definitely play an important role

Zaheer Nov 21, 2015 08:36pm

Article is partly fair and true but the author easily forgets lack of funding available for doing "real" research! RESEARCH IS EXPENSIVE and lack of funding partly explains "short-cuts"!This is also true that award of research grants in Pakistan is not transparent and funds are not always utilized correctly. It is a dilemma but we need to invest in research. Corrupt mindset is ingrained in our society. Academia is no exception !

vivek sehgal Nov 21, 2015 08:41pm

This malaise is very much prevalent in India. Here the reason is that norms for appointment as Asst Professors / professors were diluted and weightage has been accorded for Phd and publications. The worst part of it all is that genuine research and researchers are suffering even while burning the proverbial mid-night oil.

PhD Student Nov 21, 2015 08:47pm

@YOUR NAME : Spot on

Wajid Nov 21, 2015 08:54pm

Sir Pervaiz , you are the only man left in Pak who are talking on Academic corruption of Pakistani universities. This Academic corruption are as crime as murder after rape or more.

Shabbir Ahmed Nov 21, 2015 08:55pm

Mr Hoodbhoy, you couldn't be more right. Please do something to stop this rot. You are also an 'academic' and a person of considerable influence.

Chicago uni Nov 21, 2015 08:55pm

Pak need to go ahead by overcoming this teacher based corruptopn.. Higher education and academic research have more impact on society today. Perhaps it is a consequence of being immersed in the modern knowledge economy. Most well-paid professional positions require a higher education credential (often a masters or a doctoral degree). Research has the potential to reshape the lives of millions of people, also the potential to return wealth to the researcher and prestige (and improved position in rankings) to the institution that hosts him or her. Additionally, research is often used to justify public policy. The stakes have become much higher

Muhammad Farooq Nov 21, 2015 08:56pm

I agree with the author. I am also pursuing the research work and facing bitter realities, like how difficult it is in Pakistan. Majority of us getting PhD Degree to be called Doctor, for so, what ever they have to bargain for publications. Later on en-cash this degree. This is very unfortunate and embarrassing for a developing nation like Pakistan.

Musleh Uddin Ahmad Nov 21, 2015 09:01pm

The very basis of higher education is Primary, Secondary and Under-graduate level of quality education. It does not presently exist for all in Pakistan . As such, to expect a breed of talented scholars is a dream. First overhaul entire education system defined by Educationist. Strictly implement it from primary to under-graduate level. Once implemented, it will take some 5 to 7 year before a new breed of informed and knowledgeable force would be available to take academic responsibilities at Graduate and Post-graduate level. To build a nation, building an education system is IMPERATIVE.

Asif Ayub Kiyani Nov 21, 2015 09:03pm

There is no such thing as "Doctor of Philosophy "in Pakistan. There are only "Dahkos of Philosophy in Pakistani Universities". More especially those who have done dakho of Philosophy degrees from Pakistani universities, they are thieves of highest standards. Dr Pervez article is one truth which all these Dahkos of Philosophy are afraid of. Well-written sir! I appreciate your truth. I am proud to be your student.

Muhammad Imran Shaukat Nov 21, 2015 09:06pm

Not enough; One side of picture only presented by the author. Research is the Key to Success. Without education and especially higher education, we can't progress. If there is an area of improvement then it must be improved. HEC should encourage more and more Overseas Scholarships to have PhDs from abroad especially from USA, UK, EU, Canada and Australia. HEC should not impose Research Publications per Year requirements with Pay and Promotions.

Masood Husssain Nov 21, 2015 09:09pm

Enjoyed your description of Pak Generals at par with Pak Professor Doctors.

akram Nov 21, 2015 09:22pm

Amazing suggestions Doctor.

Ata ur Rahman Nov 21, 2015 09:23pm

Asalaam-o-alaikum Great article, enjoyed every word of it Ata ur Rahman

Dr. Basharat Hussain Nov 21, 2015 09:24pm

I did my PhD from England and am a university professor now. When I came back in 2010, I used to have discussion with some Pakistani PhD professors about researches and their qualities. I am still surprised as how some of my ex-students who were very weak during their MA, now have PhD degrees. During last six years, I have come to know that its extremely easy to get a PhD degree in Pakistan rather than doing a matric certificate. HEC might have some positive contribution in academics, however, it has certainly started a number race among professors as to how many MPhil and PhD he/she has produced, ignoring the standard and quality of these researches

Karachi Wala Nov 21, 2015 09:34pm

Come to your native city Karachi - Dr. Hoodbhoy We need you at Karachi University Physics department

Shahzad Nov 21, 2015 09:43pm

This PhD inflation is not just true in Pakistan but in every country.

Zubair Nov 21, 2015 09:47pm

@ahmed You have made right analysis

hassan Nov 21, 2015 09:57pm

Sir, you are talking about PHDs but as a matter of fact, we don't even have proper Matric pass people...

Amir Dewani Nov 21, 2015 10:03pm

Degrading, insulting, or criticizing your own institutions and professors will not work. There are brilliant young professors and Phd's in Pakistan, but what they lack are factors like motivation, encouragement, keeping current with the times and bringing timely changes in curricula of the universities etc. But, there is essentially a dire need to develop right type of attitudes toward thinking, making and innovating. Even after attaining the degree the process of learning, training and intellectual development is a continuous process.

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Nov 21, 2015 10:11pm

Excellent. Keep it up!

surendra sukhtankar Nov 21, 2015 10:37pm

He is truly an honest gentleman and scholar. We need persons od DR Hoodbhoy's calibre at the helm of affairs in all fields in India and Pakistan; may be then the things will change for good/.

Asif Ayub Kiyani Nov 21, 2015 10:37pm

There are fake organized degrees being awarded in Pakistan. There is a building and everybody is calling it a university.There are rooms known as "class rooms "and there are people "Known as students "and there is a person pretending to be a teacher but could hardly teach. without learning anything a person would be awarded degree in a mock convocation. There are large number of people who have fake matric, FA/Fsc/ Ba/ Bsc , Ma/Msc degrees let alone PhD degrees.

Shah Nov 21, 2015 11:06pm

I earned my Master's Degree from Pakistan and taught in a college. After teaching for some time, I came to USA and earn my Master's Degree from a renowned University. There is no comparison between the amount of work and effort you have to put in to earn your Masters Degree in Pakistan and USA. After graduation in Pakistan we are not learned enough to know the subject. We can not think logically and even write few consistent sentences. Pakistani Universities if you want to produce good stuff, please hire western trained graduates. Give them good salaries and than you will notice the difference.

kirther Nov 21, 2015 11:07pm

Majority of research papers published in Pakistan have become possible only because of access provided by modern technologies otherwise academic standards are very mediocre.

Ghazanfar Sanpal Nov 21, 2015 11:14pm

Not all country can become rich by printing mountain of paper currency except USA which prints billions of dollar that are pumped in global market to buy mountains of commodities. So your summary paragraph is not entirely correct.

MRK Nov 21, 2015 11:15pm

Yes, Sir. This is the reality. One I meet a Ph.d professor who was unable to solve the Derivative of tangent of X.

riaz Nov 21, 2015 11:25pm

punjab university recently conducted the entry test for the admission of phd in various department .. same test was attend by the phd and mphill student . and the standard of test was not more than a graduation level and intermediate level ... .


Good criticism. PH should propose practicable solutions as remedies on PhD research in Pakistan.

Seadorff Nov 21, 2015 11:48pm

@surendra sukhtankar He is a Gentleman , Scholar and a Legendary Physicist like Late Abdul Kalam Azad on this side of border.

Huma Nov 21, 2015 11:56pm

Very Nice and needful article. I think the whole problem in research lies in compromising quality. HEC, pakistan focuses on NUMBER of publication NOT on quality of publication. HEC does NOT distinguish FOREIGN degree even from world TOP 10 UNIVERSITIES and Local pakistani PhD degree from some low grade university. They pay equally to both these PhDS, focuses only on number of publication does not take into account international high impact Journal .

IF HEC is doing this what to expect from lame person.

Larkanavi Nov 22, 2015 12:20am

Absolutely spot on. I have personal knowledge of PhD'S who have done nothing but cheat the system They cultivate political contacts to gain promotion. They will most likely fail the equivalent of first year undergraduate examination of a foreign university in their own subject area. I fully endorse the opinion expressed in this write up.

Beg Nov 22, 2015 12:28am

Companies and research institutes file patent application for their commercial value work. Research with commercial value is rarely published in Research Journals. There are two types are research: one is theoretical research and the other is applied research. Theoretical research is usually of hardly any immediate commercial value. Sometimes it takes decades before people start using it to solve their real life problem. If an international journal publishes any applied research from Pakistan, it means it worth publishing. Criticising a published work equals to criticising the Journal who published it. Such criticism should come from the experts of that particular field.

Zafar Iqbal Nov 22, 2015 12:32am

This phenomenon is not limited to Pakistan. The difference is only in degree. At most places, the Human Resources Department count number of papers published; they don't even have any clue about impact factor let alone qaulity. Even at so-called elite institutions, you can arrange admission of your child if you have sufficient donation in mind.

Ayaz Nov 22, 2015 12:48am

To the point, terse and a very piece of writing. Education has become maid servant of the rich. Same is the situation in medical profession. The plethora of private medical colleges -barely fullfilling the 'standards'- are tarnishing the image of profession.

Rashid Nov 22, 2015 12:49am

Mr Hoodbhoy a society that is rotten to the core, what else we would expect. It is so ironic that the only corruption we see and shout about are just politicians, who are a very small part of our problem. An intellectual dishonesty is much worst than a monetarily dishonesty, but Alas our nation is not dare to understand it.

Abdul Karim Nov 22, 2015 12:50am

I have great respect for Dr Hoodbhoy. Great scholar and a fantastic think tank. Someone whom Pakistan need to cherish, protect and feel proud of. Wish we produce more people of his sort. Pakistan Zindabad.

Abdul Karim Nov 22, 2015 12:56am

Love you. Dr Hoodbhoy, please write an article on plagiarism in Pakistani universities. People do it so casually.

Samir Nov 22, 2015 12:57am

@ssheikh Sounds like you graduated from Oxford or Cambridge. UK PhDs are very different from US PhDs. Maggie Thatcher destroyed the tenure system in the UK and many British academics have since migrated to the US. In sum, standards are much lower in the UK.

Ahsan Ali Nov 22, 2015 01:01am

His article is very insightful. However, nearly all of the negative points mentioned are typical of globally prevalent academic system, not specifically Pakistan. It was better if this article was published in some international newspaper without mentioning a particular country.

Rashid Sultan Nov 22, 2015 01:13am

well said professor. Brave man.

G. Din Nov 22, 2015 01:13am

"Like cartoon generals who have won no wars but have medals stuck to oversized chests, Pakistan now has legions of highly paid ignoramus cartoon professors." How pithy! How true and therefore how telling! Forgive me, I am his fan.

gary Nov 22, 2015 01:15am

''Sadly, the presentations by most Pakistani PhD’s were uninteresting, others were wrong. One was even laughably wrong. Probably the worst was by a professor who was not just a ‘doctor’ but a ‘professor doctor’. This terrible pomposity, borrowed from some German tradition, is now routinely augmented with ‘distinguished professor’, ‘national professor’ and what-not. Like cartoon generals who have won no wars but have medals stuck to oversized chests, Pakistan now has legions of highly paid ignoramus cartoon professors.''

This habit is not restricted to professors only in Pakistan. Most Pakistani columnists, specially those who studies abroad, never forgets to display their educational credentials at the end of the article. Even graduates from Pakistani university are not left behind when they write a column.

Rashid Sultan Nov 22, 2015 01:18am

@ssheikh Calling a spade a spade is what is needed. It is not demoralising but exposing the untruth.

Baloch Nov 22, 2015 01:19am

One day I was very near to the VC of Balochistan University and listening his conversation , VC tolled one of his professor that just put the students how much you can for Mp-hail and PhD, that is not a mater they do not have supervisors ( No professor in UoB to supervise the students) just put more and more to high the moral of university. This show that no scholars are needed to this country just cartoons are highly encouraged and produced cartoons for future

gary Nov 22, 2015 01:20am

@YOUR NAME You can apply to Indian Institute of Science.

gary Nov 22, 2015 01:30am

@adnan That is not true. In UK, one can do Ph.D straight after doing graduation provided he gets a upper second or a first. Otherwise one has to do Masters before doing Ph.D.

Abdul Karim Nov 22, 2015 01:31am

If only you could lead this country, we will become a success story in front of the world. Your students are so lucky to have you. Love you Sir.

G. Din Nov 22, 2015 01:36am

@Ajay vikram Singh "@fida - You are right. But USA also leads the civilized world in innovations and creativity. Pretty cool?" And very little of those innovations and that creativity comes from those who have Ph. D's, even in the US. All creativity and innovation are products of a holistic approach to problem-solving. The greats like Edison and Marconi did not have Ph.D's. Bill gates was a college drop-out. He must have dropped out precisely because of the futility he saw in acquiring a Ph. D. People with Ph.D's are the kind of people who specialize in front leg of a frog (according to a Reader's Digest joke) than the frog itself. If it is the hind leg of the frog that needs attention, the "professor-doctor" goes dumb.

Uzair Nov 22, 2015 01:55am

@jbashir pakistan is not unique its true but how you would analayse where quality work is being doing is by their innovations.... in west their innovations is setting record day by day and here we are just inceeasing research papers numbers in our cv . I am chemical engineer professionally so i know many pseudo professors in my uni

Lodhi Nov 22, 2015 02:17am

@Nadeem good observation but this can-do attitude usually means boot licking and never saying no .. this is a typical mistake of companies which rewards people who are always agreeing and busy making schedules showing their work. unfortunately genuine phds are not good fit for such ignorant non-sense and false sense of productivity. i can understand where you are coming from though.

Tufail Khan Nov 22, 2015 02:49am

I would agree with most of what you have put in this article. However, I have a point. You should feel the suffering of those who are currently undergoing their PhD studies at the schools in US and Canada. Having previously studied at the substandard Pakistani schools, colleges, and universities, these PhD students have to cover a big gap to come to the level comparable to that of their colleagues. They have to work really hard while trying to bridge this gap. Even for a high-quality but fresh PhD, it is impossible to have publications of the standard as you are expecting. Rather for them, PhD is just a baby step on a journey towards excellence. Unfortunately, when they go back to Pakistan, the research environment is never conducive to work. So please stop discouraging and demoralizing these already stressed poor souls :)

However, you are absolutely right in suggesting regular assessment and scrutiny of those cartoon professors. And bravo to you for naming those cartoon generals :)

David Curtis Nov 22, 2015 04:14am

There are a two things wrong with this. Junk research papers will not be published in high-impact journals and the papers won't be well-cited. If the article just said that there were many papers published in international journals it would be more plausible. There are journals which will publish anything, but they do not have high impact factors and the papers published will not be cited by anyone else.

Yawer Baloch Nov 22, 2015 05:32am

Ph.D.s apart, what about M.Phil degree holders or those registered in M.Phil programs at Universities where no regular Ph.D. faculty is available? What would be the quality of their research and how come such public universities initiate programs and HEC doesn't take action, instead allows these departments function temporarily. How funny it is to allow Master degree holders to produce M.Phil degree scholars.

ARA Nov 22, 2015 05:33am

Yes, PhD degree has been diluted to such an extent that some of us 'PhDs' are cannot compete with matriculates of the previous generation. Anyone and everyone 'can' get a PhD degree with the right amounts of 'resourcefulness'.

AB, US Nov 22, 2015 05:40am

As usual a gem of an article. BTW, you lecture series are outstanding. I mentioned some of the HS kids in an Indian diaspora meeting to listen to your lectures. Please move to my home country (India) and tech in an IIT. Being an Alumni of IIT I like to see It topples my other school Imeprial College in academic standings.

Suomynona Nov 22, 2015 05:54am

"Fifty percent? Eighty percent?"

No. Ninety Five percent at least. Sir, I am saying this as an MS student at a top Pakistani university.

Bina PhD Nov 22, 2015 06:00am

Corruption is in genes of this nation now........Genetic diseases usually have no cure!

Javid Nov 22, 2015 06:35am

Rightly pointed out by Mr. Hoodbhoy that it is very easy to plagerise and manipulate data in present age and infact the practice is pretty common especially in academic universities. However it is the job of a research supervisor to check all this. The 3-5 years of PhD are very crucial for a student, whatever ethics he learns from his supervisor/institute will go with him throughout his carrier, so supervisors need to keep this in mind while guiding their students. And yes being a researcher myself I agree with the fact that no of publications does in no sense indicate ones research aptitude.

drnoorsheikh Nov 22, 2015 07:36am

Truth lies somewhere in the middle. Things may not be controlled by policing. Teachers at institutions are role models and should remain so. Agreed that benefits for papers be withdrawn. However standard would improve with time. Quality would follow the quantity. Check and balance should be there. However even in advanced countries there is variety and everyone is not a top researcher. As a nation we need to be humble but of course not at the cost of merit. We should keep on lighting the candles and not blow these off so that we may not come to zero again.

shereen Nov 22, 2015 07:57am

The problem in my opinion is that the outcomes of interest from the funder are wrong. The Pakistani funding bodies ask for time and money spent as outcome along with documents with approval signatures for completion of a degree. Had the outcomes been publication in an international journal or product that could sell the situation might improve. Also we as people have our basic education flawed and you can't build good buildings on poor foundation.

Abdur Rahman Mian Nov 22, 2015 08:04am

The most honest comments about the state of ethical conduct/s gone astray!!! " Transparency should ( Must) be non negotiable" During Their Britanica Majesty's rule in India....there were no HECs, blissfully. My teacher in 'Middle School' was a : High School Kaamyaab! He taught us ;how to live honestly. Being a young officer ...later in Director General (Rev.) Dr. Edward Ronald Gee Sc.D invited me for a dinner &drink. And advised me to quit GoP service....before I got confirmed. Both of my teachers thus, steered my life. Dr. Hoodbhai's essay has relieved me of a perception.

Shaikh Nov 22, 2015 08:22am

I always wondered, how come there are some people in Pakistan call themselves Drs. And you find them on tv shows etc. Now I know. Thanks.

javed Hasrat Nov 22, 2015 09:54am

called me Dr. I am So Called PHD.

Fazal Nov 22, 2015 10:40am

Doctor saab absolutely agree. I get shocked when come to know that my MS Engineering research paper full of errors and without any solid mathematical work got accepted by one of highly impact factor Journal. I used to laugh at my self in solitude when people appreciate my work. This should be stopped. Thanks doctor sab for this eye opening facts

Tamza Nov 22, 2015 10:41am

I was part of the recruiting faculty at a prominent-very well regarded university un Pakistan. We had several candidates with PhDs from the UK who could not answer my standard two questions: 1: WHY did you choose this topic for your PhD work, & 2: WHAT is the contribution to knowledge in the field from your research. It saddened me no end.

The obsession with PhD, 'research', and 'publication' is one of the most serious disservice to higher education in Pakistan. FIrst teach/ learn, and after there is a base of enough people in the field then direct effort towards research and LAST to PhD and publications.

I blame the incumbents for this; it is their way of 'staying in power'. Just like hhe politicians.

rajat Nov 22, 2015 11:10am

Lovely article exposing corruption in academia, but it is true of thee whole subcontinent

Husain Nov 22, 2015 11:24am

Existing policies of HEC must be revised in a gradual fashion. 1) The criteria to become HEC approved PhD supervisor must be further hardened. 2) HEC should lower the weightage of Journal publications in university ranking. 3) HEC should try to have a greater check on universities and professors.

Gaining PhD in Pakistan is already more difficult than few of the top universities of world. I attended one PhD presentation at one of the top 25 universities of the world. The presentation went really really bad, the jury was really harsh during the presentation, and the candidate had no journal publication during PhD. Jury asked such questions like have you written your thesis yourself or someone else has written it. But despite, she was awarded a PhD degree.

HEC should try to have a greater check on universities and professors. Many universities lie to HEC and get good ranking. Some corrupt professor have ways to bypass HEC rules, but otherwise the conditions are tough.

Saeed Ahmed Khan Nov 22, 2015 11:40am

An inspirational writer, I know him since my childhood when he started delivering lectures on universe on PTV. "This is malaise of the subcontinent."

mb Nov 22, 2015 11:43am

To be precise actually refering to someone as Professor Doctor in spoken language is an Austrian, not German practice.

Zain Nov 22, 2015 12:26pm

I dont agree that u can get publications in high impact journals (>2.0 IMO) which are also well cited by merely copy pasting. The article seems contradictory. I do think there are PhDs in Pakistan with low quality of publications or PhD professors who have not published for years ... They can be criticized ... But asking people who publish in high impact journals and whose work get well cited to give presentations or take exams after every 10 years is absurd and doesnt happen anywhere else in the world

R S Chakravarti Nov 22, 2015 12:34pm

@Seadorff Abul Kalam Azad was an Islamic scholar and politician (India's first education minister), not a physicist.

You may be thinking of A P J Abdul Kalam. He was an aerospace engineer and a great project leader, but also not a physicist.

Arshad Bashir Nov 22, 2015 01:04pm

Excellent Dr. Hoodbhoy! I really enjoyed your phenomenal critique on our research practices. Thanks for being so candid and blunt. We, as a nation, need it very much. Being a university professor, many of my friends and I feel a pressure from administration to publish a certain number of papers to keep our positions. The expectation is unrealistic as university fails to provide the environment and culture that we all need to do a quality research, even at a basic level we are struggling to get our desk and independent space to focus on our research agenda. Your suggestions are great, but these are to be implemented at top organizational or national level, what we (newly inducted PhDs) do with all this mess where a proven guilty (as you mentioned in your article) is sitting at the top asking us to publish in an impact factor journal. Ironically, he is responsible for all PhD appointments. You don't need to be a PhD to understand what type of people he would appoint!

Umair Khurshid Nov 22, 2015 01:57pm

PhD has nothing to do with ignorance.

Umair Khurshid Nov 22, 2015 02:00pm

second thing this is result of great labs in Pakistan.

shami Nov 22, 2015 02:05pm

I live in Europe and have seen many Pakistanis doing PhDs on HEC expense but honetly saying on public hard earned money and even after completion of their studies "some" of them really don't want to go back and like to stay and earn ther livelihood there. In my opinion apart from intellectual potential HEC should set some criteria to check the honesty of aspiring Phd candidates before sending them abroad.

SHAH HUSSAIN Nov 22, 2015 03:10pm

There may be ratio between thinking heads and the hands required to convert the thinking on paper to a design , model,machine on ground. PhDs are like heads. Technologists are akin to hands. The unnecessary focus on doctors to the neglect of technologists has given us many heads but few working hands. In countries like Germany emphasis is placed on polytechnic institutions ,which form an expanded base of a pyramid while doctors are at the tip of pyramid, relatively few in number. Since 2001,most of our doctorates are in humanities.Those done in natural sciences are mostly teaching at the universities without moving the country an inch forward.

FirstLast2016 Nov 22, 2015 03:21pm

"Like cartoon generals who have won no wars but have medals stuck to oversized chests..... Nailed it.

Z.S.J Nov 22, 2015 03:34pm

@Ali Z. My advise to you is: Go for Ph.D and please never never get swayed by the turn of events. I do believe in quality but isn't quality a sequential outcome of quantity !

Sridhar Nov 22, 2015 04:22pm

@ahmed Perhaps Dr Hoodbhoy is trying to change the perception and educate people about what is right and what is wrong. Would you rather he just kept quiet and did nothing!

Sridhar Nov 22, 2015 04:28pm

It seems to me that many Pakistanis here are actually defending the low standards of research in their country by saying: But such things happen in other places too! I can tell you that a researcher who plagiarizes in US will seen an end to his career. That is how tough things are over there! Of course there are B grade universities and colleges in US too but people know what they are worth.

Vivek Amar Nov 22, 2015 04:50pm

Amazing ! Whatever Mr Hoodbhoy has written applies to India as well. No wonder I keep visiting DAWN for his articles.

Samyukta Nov 22, 2015 05:21pm

@brr I live in Bangalore and work in a top notch Global R&D company - and find that, indeed, my nations institutes are fertile producers of Ph.D. The problem is: Just those few - the ones you mention, a COUPLE of national Labs, and that's it. That is a tiny catchment area and does not count. Some of us who have graduated fro these, myself included, quickly become Senior Heads of R&D..and then who would do the lab work?! Any country needs a healthy mix of world class i.e IIT, IISC, and also B-grade 'working colleges'. This is true in the US where Ivy League and state colleges/community colleges [not to be taken in the same breath, but you understand the drift]. The end result is I am spending huge budgets funding Ph'D's and supervising ourselves [ the faculty is token rubber stamper].

Ahmad Sharjeel Nov 22, 2015 05:51pm

Very sad but also very true. I have seen many Phd in my university during my studies.

Avtar Nov 22, 2015 05:52pm

It seems that emphasis in this area is the number of publications, not the quality. What needs to be changed is the yardstick of success? The whole system needs to be overhauled. Imagine some of these PhDs working on "Nuclear Program" and the interesting outcomes one can expect. In the subcontinent the emphasis is on the degrees, the status attached to the degrees, and of course, landing good jobs. Some of these PhDs are driving taxis in New York and Toronto.

Amir Raza Nov 22, 2015 06:12pm

I agree with Dr. Hoodbhoy partially. Yes! what he is saying should be applied as a universal rule. But no one in this country wants to be tested.e.g. doesn't matter if a medical doctor qualifies from Harvard med school or some med school from Russia both have to qualify USMLE for practice in USA or Canada then why we don't have such system in our country and no one speaks about that. You just mention it and all the doctors would be on the road protesting against it. So not only PhD's but everybody must be tested. Another point is that quality research cannot be carried out by spending 1% of your GDP on education. Kindly have a look at the budgets of the MIT, Harvard, Cornell etc. please don't compare our universities with them. Ask your govt. first to spend at least 5% of GDP on education, and only then if universities are not delivering you have full right to criticize and condemn.

Drs Sears Appalsamy Nov 22, 2015 06:15pm

My commendation to Professor Perverz Hoodbhoy for his thought provoking article. Is the Ph.D worth the paper it is written on or awarded.?

Drs Sears Appalsamy Nov 22, 2015 06:25pm

This is also very common in a country like South Africa . Minister Palo Jordan of the South African government had a matric high school certificate and claimed to have a Ph.D from an American University and was given senior positions in the ANc led government for 20 years . He was caught last year about his fake qualifications and disappeared from the limelight and we dont know where he is hiding at the moment and I am sure in shame. There are also other SA government officials also tried to get senior positions via fake qualificatins and have been caught.

Drs Sears Appalsamy Nov 22, 2015 06:37pm

Many Indians like C.V. Raman won Nobel Prizes for their research without the necessary infrastructure. See Raman Law of Physics. He did not even have electricity to use to prove his point but by hook or by crook got the electricity for his research. Hargoban Khorana ( genetics) Chandrasekhar ( astronomy) all Nobel Prize Winners.etc.

Drs Sears Appalsamy Nov 22, 2015 06:43pm

Did you know in some countries you pay a professor a certain amount of money and he will write your Masters Thesis for you and you will be awarded a Masters Degree and the same goes for Ph.Ds too. About 100 students are coming to the Netherlands in the next 4 years to do their Ph.Ds. It is being funded by the South African Government and the Netherlands Government. The quality of a Ph.D in the Netherlands is of a very high standard and similar to that in Germany.

G. Din Nov 22, 2015 06:45pm

And then, there is the Xerox doctor!

SANJEEV YADAV Nov 22, 2015 06:59pm

Same here in India.

Khan Nov 22, 2015 08:39pm

If U wanna know how well a teacher is just ask STUDENTS,PhD & Research papers r useless sometimes when teacher never guides students...

PS: Well i agree with author but a paper can't be useless when it is publish in institution like IEEE...

Ajay vikram Singh Nov 22, 2015 09:08pm

@G. Din - You graduate to get educated ...and then you go for learn more. Then go for PhD to know more about a certain topic...and finally after being realize that you hardly know anything about anything.

IamDoulat Nov 22, 2015 10:05pm

thought evoking article.

Ali Shah Nov 22, 2015 11:06pm

@David Curtis , you nailed it. I was wondering the same thing. How come these guys are publishing in high impact journals and still churning out plagiarized as well as rubbish stuff? And if high impact journals are publishing garbage then how are they high impact?

Obaid Nov 22, 2015 11:24pm

Well not true. Depending on what field research is being carried out the quality would differ. Pakistan theoretically has far less contribution in theoretical physics than most other subjects. Pakistan's research spending would be much less than 5billion dollars since its inception. Thus, this no comparison to west or Japan and USA. Ironically, Pakistan has been ruled in general by illiterate and inept politicians and hand picked administrators, except in one instance, in the earlier part of the last decade-2000 to 2007. Thus, much can not be expected from such a system. However, in my recent visit to my Alma mater gave me a very encouraging picture of the state of research and enthusiasm on part of students and researchers despite little support from the government. It seems author lacks knowledge of the subject and issues he is talking about.

A.M Nov 23, 2015 12:07am

Sir, thank you for staying in Pakistan. This country needs you and I am certain that some day the people will realize what they did to their real intellectuals and your contributions to national reform will be recognized. Till then, I apologize on behalf of my countrymen. Please don't lose hope in Pakistan. This is Jinnah's Pakistan whose narrative has been taken over by pseudo intellectuals. I hope we will come out of this mess, banish these men from our television screens and start working towards a tolerant, progressive and self reliant Pakistan. Again sir, thanks a lot for everything. You are my hero.

M. Asghar Nov 23, 2015 01:16am

It is true that the scientific development in the country is suffering from the usual teething problems.

saeed Nov 23, 2015 01:57am

Thank you so much for revealing the open secret about our Pakistan,

Saiq Nov 23, 2015 03:21am

In present scenario i will say we don't need PhD's we need a generation who can love humanity and have tolerance in them.....

Rvel Nov 23, 2015 04:29am

@My name is Luka I am so proud to be his student. One of the few logical, rational and scientific voices in our country.

Muhammad Siddique Nov 23, 2015 07:05am

An eye-opening and shocking piece. Dr. Sahib, here is the question, how can we make it right? I would love you to answer this question in a video interview with me. I am the founder of Pakistani Social Entrepreneurship Academy,a project of Al-Sharif Foundation, on the mission to train 1 million entrepreneurs in Pakistan so they too can support themselves and their families.

Khan Nov 23, 2015 07:15am

Reminded me of my phd teachers at university....unfortunately i did get good GPA but couldnt understand their teaching style...once told by MIT PHD teaching in UET that we have same curriculum as in USA and in Pakistan but the only difference is in the quality of good teachers....practicality is almost non existent here in pakistan....i must say professors are theoretically strong but practical implementation of the concept is pathetically weak.

Reddy Nov 23, 2015 07:56am

Its a global problem and not just confined to Pakistan.

Rajan Nov 23, 2015 09:22am

I cannot comment about ed institutions in Pakistan, but I can say that what Dr. Hoodbhoy has written, applies to many institutions in India. Of course, India has produced outstanding scientists but it is not because of the system, but in spite of it. The truth is, that in our part of the world, we just do not have research ethos. High quality research (and Olympic- winning sports performance) is simply not in our blood. You can look at the data in any way you like. Rajan

ZA Nov 23, 2015 10:09am

Great article sir. most of the FYPs of final year students are just research work of doctorate seeking teachers... atleast where i studied.

M Afar Khan Nov 23, 2015 10:41am

The real worth of a PhD lies not in his knowledge of the subject but in his/her ability to transfer that knowledge to the students in a clear and effective manner.Sadly, a large majority of our PhD's do not possess even the rudiments of pedagogical practice in the classroom; the ability to encourage,demonstrate,challenge, acknowledge,model and assist, students.These abilities come over time with a lot of teaching practice.A PhD degree does not provide these abilities since it is, essentially, a research degree.this lack is especially evident in young PhD holders with limited teaching experience. Yet our Universities are eager to recruit them even at the expense of their more experienced and better teachers because of the unholy emphasis that HEC places on universities for possessing a PhD faculty. A PhD teaching poorly does no service either to his employers or the students.

Masood Ahmad Khan Nov 23, 2015 10:43am

An excellent discourse of the plethora of our society is subjected to. But does anybody delineate why such a sordid state of affairs are prevalent in Pakistan, of course not a million dollar question to fathom in. If the top of the institution, or state is rotten then one does need to be a rocket scientist to come to conclusion of the phenomenon of a "TRICKLE DOWN EFFECT".

Agha Asad Raza Nov 23, 2015 10:50am

Very well written and researched! I have come across a few of these 'doctors' who have 'researched' nothing and claim the title as their God-given right! One fellow I met had a 'doctorate' in geography and could give the the correct name for the shape of the earth!! I learnt that in my Senior Cambridge way back in 1964

KHALID Nov 23, 2015 10:59am

This is my hearts voice, instead of having so many useless PhD's who just want to mint money, we can have 10% of useful Ph.D's who can do something for the country, some inventions, some developments, something new which can impress the GORA's also and give us some respect in their eyes and as a nation we may be proud.

farid ahmad yasin Nov 23, 2015 11:45am

a very nice article describing the situation in Pakistan, I have seen this first hand while working for a public sector university in Pakistan. one important point to raise here is that these so called PHDs are hijacking departments and not letting persons with relevant education to get through. For example environmental science in Pakistan is just another department for Botany professionals to get jobs and people with relevant education are left behind. the other thing worth mentioning here is that the way research is conducted in our universities and yes internet has become a major tool for research in Pakistan. overall I praise the author for writing on such delicate matter and hopefully one day we will judge a teacher not from their degrees but from their knowledge.

DA Nov 23, 2015 12:44pm

The same thing exists everywhere. The actual honest research is miniscule, and often uninteresting as it is bereft of existing fads and buzzwords. Even though we have information at our fingertips, to weed out diamonds from that coal-mine is easier said than done.

As an engineer, I consume information from research - do not publish much original work myself (though I would have liked to, if I could make time for it). I found it easier than a decade earlier. We know how to "elimiante" a couple of dozen ideas, before zeroing on something that is genuinely novel, and can be made to work.

Kumla Nov 23, 2015 12:48pm

The title of the article suggests that we don't need to produce any more quantity of PhDs. The argument Hoodbhoy builds up in the entire article is that the quality of PhDs should be improved. Are these two really mutually exclusive? What if we continue to improve the number of PhDs and at the same time insist on improving the quality? At least we should acknowledge the contribution of the HEC in improving the number of PhDs produced and the number of researches published. We should continue to improve these numbers and also take the suggestions of Hoodbhoy seriously. We cannot improve quality if we don't have any quantity.

BOZO Nov 23, 2015 01:32pm

Pl note that in this land of pure only CHACHE and MAMES rewarded.

SJ Nov 23, 2015 01:35pm

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Aku Nov 23, 2015 02:43pm

The pursuit is degree, not knowledge unfortunately. Well said

Adnan Aziz Nov 23, 2015 04:26pm

@Raham Unfortunately you are mistaken here. We have got absolutely poor standard of education, especially at higher levels. We should not talk of competing with others.

Eramanagalam Somapalan Nov 23, 2015 04:34pm

If you copy from one book it is known as plagiarism, if you copy from several books it is known as research, this is true for all countries.

Farrukh Nov 23, 2015 04:39pm

Realistic and Ironic. A couple of days back i met one of HEC PhD scholar who had completed his research in UK and i was totally unconvinced, that having spent ten million of government money, he may have been playing any significant role that might have been envisaged by the education policy makers back in 2002. Clearly shows lack of proper planning and its implementation regarding the utility of producing good number of PhD's and their standard.

Dr. Patel Nov 23, 2015 05:35pm

Dear MPhil Student, Universities need not only money, properly trained students is a vital ingredient. Unless true education is cherished and scientific values are inculcated from an early age simply pouring money into a broken system is not going to solve the problem. With language skills like your's do you think you will ever be able to write anything without "cut n paste"?

Dr. Patel Nov 23, 2015 05:40pm

@ssheikh I wonder what you got from attending "world class" university in US where professors use Internet ! If you read their publications they would be from peer reviewed international journals and that none of them have resorted to "cut n paste n publish" - Pakistani style! Your parents have simply wasted money by sending to a good university. I feel sorry for you.

ABDUL MUQTADIR Nov 23, 2015 07:26pm

Good analysis of the sad situation of Pakistani Education.

harold turner Nov 23, 2015 09:09pm

a great condemnation of pakistan's higher education universities. shame on them all.

Lucky Star Nov 23, 2015 10:34pm

Majority! I think everybody is corrupt in Pakistan.