ISLAMABAD – Development of social sciences is imperative for development and progress of any society. Strong democracies and developed nations have a long history of social science research culture in universities.
He informed that realizing the importance of social sciences for the socio-economic development of the country and reformation of the society, Higher Education Commission Pakistan HEC has paid special attention to strengthening the social sciences through a number of new programs; such as establishment the Committee for Development of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities in Pakistan (CDSSHP); - which has regional representation of reputed social scientists and worked under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Najma Najam, Dr. Ishrat Husain and Dr. Nasser Ali Khan.
The HEC has also initiated thematic research grant in social sciences; allocated special quota to the social sciences in human resource development programs; and strengthened institutional capacity through improving existing facilities in social science departments of universities.
Close interaction with R & D and civil society organizations working in the fields of social sciences, has been established through undertaking joint academic activities. A culture of national/international conferences and seminars over socio economic problems of Pakistan is being promoted through provision of financial assistance for such useful activities. The annual International Social Sciences conference has become a permanent feature.
The recent establishment of inter university consortium for promotion of social sciences by nine leading Higher education institutions of Pakistan is another milestone to undertake collaborative efforts at national and international level to promote social sciences in Pakistan. The consortium in a recent meeting decided to take a number of practical steps to improve the state of social sciences in Pakistan including formation of Pakistan Council for Social Sciences Research, establishing social sciences research labs, undertaking inter university and inter disciplinary research projects, preservation of local culture, history and tourism, collaboration with national and international organisations, faculty exchange in the disciplines of social sciences.
He was of the view that inclusion of social sciences in four year Bachelor program is the most important step towards long-term development of social sciences in Pakistan. He reiterated HEC s’ commitment towards improving the state of social sciences in Pakistan. He emphasized that Universities should also play leadership role in the society. They should establish close relationship with their local community. The universities should also inculcate the values of responsible and effective citizenship, tolerance and peace and respect for human rights among the students.
Prof Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin termed the recent steps a positive indication towards bright future of social sciences in Pakistan and lauded the efforts for HEC in this regard. He also informed that for the first time in the history of country, 22 research projects have been approved to encourage research in the field of the social sciences. The topics have direct relevance towards contemporary socio economic issues /problems being confronted by Pakistani society. “Pakistani social scientists can also bring about a healthy change in public policymaking by conducting research on people’s real problems and proposing their solutions”, he added.
Availing the available opportunities, the social scientists can play their pivotal role in coping with various contemporary social and economic challenges being faced by Pakistani society and youth in particular who are the real asset of Pakistan.