Associated Press Service
ISLAMABAD:Senator Jehangir Badar has ensured a gathering of national and international social scientists that the respect for merit would prevail and the Government is not planning to undo the good work done by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the last eight years. He stressed the need for a uniform education system, need for more universities for a knowledge-based economy and a sustained structure for providing funding for social science research.
He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the first International Conference on “Promotion of Social Science Research in Pakistani Universities: Prospects and Challenges” held at Higher Education Commission secretariat on Wednesday. Dr. Javaid R. Laghari, Chairperson HEC was also present on the occasion.
“I firmly believe that the HEC should be protected in the best national interest, since it has achieved tremendous successes unheard of in the past. I would especially like to mention that HEC is one of the few institutions in the country that has worked relatively independently and without much political interference, thus being able to maintain quality and ensure respect for merit. Once again, I assure you on behalf of the PPP that no action would be taken the institution whose creation is based on the idea given by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” Badar said.
“As a student of social sciences myself, I would first like to congratulate the HEC for successfully organizing the 1st International Conference on Promotion of Social Science Research in Public Sector Universities. It is especially pleasing to note that all the major public sector universities, as well as geographic regions, of the country are represented in the conference. I am also delighted to see that the participants include vice chancellors on one hand and young faculty members and PhD scholars on the other,” he added.
The participants of the three-day conference, organized under the auspices of the HEC Committee for Development of Social Sciences and Humanities, included experts in the field of Social Sciences Pakistan and abroad, in addition to young faculty of Social Sciences and indigenous PhD scholars, who made poster presentations based on their research.
There was a consensus among the conference participants that soul of a country comes from Liberal Arts and Social Science. There is a crucial need to promote multidisciplinary research in Social Science and forge a common research agenda to meet the contemporary social, economic, political, cultural and environmental challenges of the country. There must be an inter-university consortium for expanding the role of Social Science research in Pakistan’s public policymaking.
While appreciating the work done by HEC’ Committee on Social Science, the participants recommended that more focus is needed to improve research skills of faculty members and research scholars belonging to Social Sciences, and develop comprehensive courses for this purpose. It was emphasized that more incentives need to be in place, including state-of-the-art computer laboratories, funds for travel, publications and organization of seminars/conferences.
The participants also stressed the need to train faculty in use of digital journals, English writing skills, besides improving digital library offering for Social Sciences. Concepts and topics like civil society, human rights can be promoted through academic linkages and networking. Campus radios should be activated and made more functional.
Important topics of discussion included Role of Social Science Research in Public Policy Development, HEC’s Experience for Promotion of Social Science Research, New Developments in Research Techniques and Methodologies, Identifying Social Science Research Priorities for Pakistan and Developing Institutional Capacity and Academic Integrity to Strengthen Social Science Research.
Prominent speakers included Dr. Rashid Amjad, Vice Chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Dr. Saba Gul Khattak, Member, Planning Commission, Dr. Muhammad Waseem, Professor of Political Science, LUMS, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Director, IBA, Karachi, Dr. Ashfaq Hassan Khan, Dean, NUST Business School, Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, Lahore School of Economics, Dr. Rasul Baksh Rais, Professor of Political Science, LUMS, Prof. Rehman Subhan, Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, Dr. Suresh Sharma, Senior Fellow, Centre for Study of Developing Societies, India, Dr. Jochen Hippler, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, and Dr. James C. Witte, George Mason University, USA.Associated Press Service,APS The news agency
April 20, 2011