Of Pakistani education

August 19, 2019

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THE recent action by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties to dismiss physicians from Pakistan with MS or MD degree is a disgraceful rebuke to our higher education system.

My colleagues in the United States came to me inquiring if my degree from Pakistan was still valid. These were very painful encounters the deterioration of the education system in Pakistan has levied upon us.

It should give a reason to all involved in K12 – higher education in Pakistan – to pause and undertake self-evaluation of how we have contributed.

It is undeniable that excellent education system is the single most important factor in the development and sustenance of economy. It is vital for talent cultivation and directly impacts innovation, discovery and generation of new knowledge.

It also influences the sculpting of the culture of a nation serving as a catalyst for creating values that are defined by honesty, hard work, accountability and collegiality.

Instead of our continued focus on quality of education, many of us made conscious decision to exploit the circumstances for personal gains.

Private institutions largely owned and financed by the wealthy started to blossom with minimal oversight by accrediting agencies. These institutions offered poor quality education and training and the nation went from producing talented workforce to generating mediocrity.

All of us are to be blamed for this outcome. It will undermine the value of degrees and diplomas even from reputable institutions in Pakistan and will give external agencies a legitimate reason to question the validity of these certifications.

Of greater concern is the fact that this will not be limited to medicine but will involve other professions with devastating outcome. It is time to wake up.

Sohail Rao

Edinburg, Texas, USA

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2019