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60 Percent Pakistani Universities Fail to Produce PhD Scholars

At present, there are 156 universities and DAIs in the country which have been recognized by the Higher Education Commission. According to the data available at HEC’s online ‘PhD Country Directory’ and another relevant document ‘PhD output report’, it comes to the fore that 62 universities and DAIs have produced 8,822 PhD scholars from 1930 to December, 2013

For the promotion of higher education in Pakistan, the number of public and private sector universities recognized by the Higher Education Commission is increasing rapidly. Universities are established with an aim to promote research activities in the country, but how ironic is the fact that more than half (60%) universities and degree- awarding institutions (DAIs) in Pakistan have failed to produce even a single PhD scholar.

At present, there are 156 universities and DAIs in the country which have been recognized by the Higher Education Commission. According to the data available at HEC’s online ‘PhD Country Directory’ and another relevant document ‘PhD output report’, it comes to the fore that 62 universities and DAIs have produced 8,822 PhD scholars from 1930 to December, 2013 while the remaining 94 higher education institutions have not produced a single PhD in this span of more than eight decades. Thus, we can say that only 40% Pakistani universities and DAIs have the honour of awarding PhD degrees.

It is due to the encouragement of private sector by the Government of Pakistan that the number of universities/DAIs in public sector now equals its private sector counterpart. Currently, 87 public and 69 private sector Universities/DAIs are functional in the country but only 40 public and 22 private sector Universities/DAIs have awarded PhD degrees. It means that so far more than half of public and two-thirds of private sector Universities/DAIs are yet to produce PhD scholars. If we evaluate this performance in terms of percentage, the data reveals that so far 64.5% and 35.4% public and private sector Universities/DAIs respectively have been able to produce PhD scholars. Although the number of universities in both sectors is almost equal, there is a huge gap between these in PhD output. Over all 96% PhDs have been produced by the public sector Universities /DAIs whereas contribution of the private sector in this regard has been, miserably, only 4%.
Punjab is the province having the highest ratio of universities which produced PhDs; 48% universities chartered by the Government of the Punjab have produced PhD scholars. Universities chartered by the Government of Pakistan stand at 2nd place with 43% universities having this honour whereas 39% Universities/DAIs chartered by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 36% by Sindh, 17% by Balochistan and 17% by AJK governments share this prestige.

The facts and figures state that 20 universities chartered by Government of the Punjab have awarded 3949 PhD degrees till December 2013. After Punjab, 16 universities from Sindh, 11 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1 from Balochistan and 1 from Azad Jammu & Kashmir have produced 2488, 706, 51 and 3 PhDs have produced PhDs respectively. In addition, 13 universities chartered by the Government of Pakistan have awarded 1625 PhD degrees across the country.

At present, main campuses of 156 Universities/DAIs, chartered in Pakistan, are working in 41 cities. However, main campuses in only 21 cities have been able to produce PhD scholars. A detailed analysis of HEC data shows that University of the Punjab, which has granted 1761 degrees till December 2013, is proud to award the highest number of PhDs. The second position has been retained by University of Karachi with 1645 PhD scholars; University of Agriculture Faisalabad stood third with 1036 PhD scholars. These three Universities have produced nearly half of the PhD scholars in Pakistan while the other half have been contributed by the remaining 59 universities. Six universities could produce only one PhD each, 3 could produce 2 each while only 5 universities have been able to produce 3 PhDs each.

Although the main campuses of Universities/DAIs are operational in 41 cities across the country, it is also a fact that the opportunities for higher education are still limited to only a few cities. In fact, main campuses 62% Universities/DAIs are limited only to 4 cities i.e. Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar. Most of these Universities and DAIs are located in Karachi where 36 public and private sector higher education institutions are imparting education. Lahore stands at second place with 30; Islamabad at third with 18 and Peshawar occupies the fourth place with 13 universities/DAIs.

Gender equality among PhD scholars produced by the Pakistani universities is also a noteworthy phenomenon. The data suggest that there is only one female PhD scholar as compared to 3 male scholars in the country. Despite a gradual increase in the number of female students in universities, and their much better performance at master’s level, only 25% of overall PhDs till December 2013 are the female ones. University of Karachi has the distinction to produce more female PhD scholars than any other public sector university in Pakistan; same credit goes to Hamdard University in private sector. Both Universities have produced 640 and 20 female PhD scholars respectively.

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