Reforming National Knowledge Systems: A Case Study of Pakistan

Tue, 18 Apr, 2017, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (GMT+8.0)

LKCSB Seminar Room 2.2, Level 2, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University

50 Stamford Road Singapore 178899

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The Higher Education in Developing Countries, Perils and Promise (2000) report from the World Bank’s task force on higher education, highlighted the interdependence of higher education in developing countries and that nation’s development, by concluding that, “higher education is no longer a luxury: it is essential to national social and economic development.” Pakistan was one of the first countries in the world to initiate implementation of the recommendations of this report through the formation of a Task Force on Higher Education in Pakistan that identified seven key issues holding back the development of university education in the country. These included ineffective governance, management structures and practices, inefficient use of available resources, inadequate funding, poor recruitment practices and inadequate development of faculty and staff, inadequate attention to research and support for it, politicisation of faculty, staff and students, combined with a strong scepticism about the realisation of reform. These are formidable challenges indeed that had not been addressed over decades and had resulted in a breakdown of the national knowledge system.

Pakistan’s journey from those realities at the start of the millennium to the recognition by Thomson Reuters in 2016 that, “In the last 10 years Pakistan has emerged as the country with the highest percentage of Highly Cited Papers compared with the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China),” has been an interesting one that required the Higher Education Commission (HEC), formed in 2002, to address every issue identified by Pakistan’s Task Force, and many more. The key to success lay in the formation of the HEC, a single body responsible for every aspect of higher education in the country including standards, quality assurance, research, funding and the capacity to design and implement development programmes to spearhead the reform process.

The “resurgence” of higher education across the country allowed the institutions to support entrepreneurial activities, incubate businesses and reach out to industry to leverage Pakistan’s real asset, its young people, to build the knowledge economy. However, the scale of the challenge in Pakistan, with nearly 30 million people in the higher education age group (18 – 25 years), requires a significant expansion of programmes and broadening their scope beyond universities, to encompass all tiers and modes of higher education including college and distance education.
Registration begins
Refreshments are served
Mr Vignesh L. Naidu
Research & Project Manager, The HEAD Foundation
1835Opening Remarks
Assistant Professor Hiro Saito
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Singapore Management University
1845Talk: “Reforming National Knowledge Systems: A Case Study of Pakistan”
Professor Dr Sohail Naqvi
Vice Chancellor, Lahore University of Management Sciences
2030Question & Answer Session
Moderator: Mr Sriven Naidu
Director of Programme Development & Partnerships, Office of the Dean of SOSS
Fellow, The HEAD Foundation


Professor Dr S. Sohail H. Naqvi
Vice Chancellor, Lahore University of Management Sciences

Dr S. Sohail H. Naqvi has been the Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan’s top ranked university, since July 2013. Prior to that he was the Executive Director of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for eight years, where he oversaw implementation of an ambitious portfolio of programmes that resulted in an explosive growth in research activity in the universities in Pakistan, quadrupling in the number of students, standardisation of programmes at the undergraduate and postgraduate level with clear quality-related benchmarks along with the implementation of a comprehensive higher education quality assurance regime. He has extensive teaching, research and entrepreneurial experience both in the US and Pakistan, and has also been a consultant on higher education for the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. He was awarded Order of the ‘Palmes Académiques’ with rank of Chevalier, by the French Government, and the Sitar-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan for his services to higher education. 

This event is jointly presented by the Singapore Management University (SMU), a premier university in Asia internationally recognized for its world-class research and distinguished teaching, and The HEAD Foundation, a Singapore-based think tank devoted to research and policy influence in education and leadership, for development in Asia. Admision is free. 

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Reforming National Knowledge Systems: A Case Study of Pakistan

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