With an enrolment rate of 2%, higher education in Interior Sindh is even worse than that of the rest of Pakistan

Most of the students from interior Sindh hardly get low rank government or private jobs such as a police constable, private security guard, private teacher, primary teacher, peon and clerk, etc.

Universities are known to be the fountains of knowledge and wisdom where empowerment and transformation of personalities of the nascent generation take place. They are the only places where brilliant, innovative, and creative minds are produced. Therefore, universities are to be equipped with latest educational technologies and facilities, which are in a state of constant change, in order to satisfy the ever changing national and international educational requirements. But unfortunately, universities in interior Sindh are in a critical situation and are inept to achieve the expected objectives presently.

In interior Sindh, universities have been facing huge problems. Currently, the overall enrolment of students in public and private universities in Sindh is 4.7 percent but when we will exclude the enrolment figure of the universities of Karachi and Hyderabad, the figure of enrolment of universities in interior Sindh comes down to 2 percent only. Moreover, the universities undergo a shortage of physical infrastructure development and lack of quality education, encouraging academic environment and state-of-the-art facilities, which are needed for research studies. This is why the research output of the universities is alarmingly less, compared to other universities in the country. Of the 55 public and private universities in the country, seven are in interior Sindh, which have failed to grab top positions in the ranking of the universities made by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2014.

As we advance further into the 21sth century, the use of technology is getting common in schools, colleges, and universities all over the world. Technological innovations, including programmes for presentation or high-tech tablets, computers, laptops, smart phones, and multimedia projectors have been adopted in the classrooms, which have changed the teaching and learning methods and ways of daily lives. The fact is that the use of educational technologies in the classrooms helps prepare students for the challenges they will face in their practical and professional lives. It revolutionizes teaching and learning skills. Regrettably, in most of the universities in interior Sindh, the use of these innovations in classrooms is a distant dream because even today in these universities the old-fashioned and out-of-date teaching methods and tools are being used even in M Phil and PhD degree classes. 

One of the students of M. Phil Sociology at a public sector university in interior Sindh told me that since the Sociology department of the university has no building of its own, therefore the offices of the teaching faculty are installed in the central library of the university and the M. Phil degree classes are conducted in a room of students’ service centre building. The classroom lacks encouraging academic environment to execute the teaching-learning process efficiently.  The teachers use whiteboard and marker pens instead of multimedia projectors. Sizzling hot wind in summers and chilled wind during the winter season enter the classroom easily because it has windows with broken glasses. The old ceiling fans installed in it generate a deafening and disturbing sound which hinder the teaching-learning process. The teachers and the students feel difficulty in listening to one another’s voice. Thus the communication taking place between the teachers and the students in the classroom is unproductive and ineffective.

The fact is that the poor quality and productivity of higher education in interior Sindh, not unlike primary and tertiary education, has played havoc with the socio-economic life of the students of its universities. Amidst other factors, the deteriorating condition of higher education is the main factor behind the ever-increasing unemployment in this part of the country. The public as well as the private sector job market and even universities in the country are reluctant in accepting the students of universities of interior Sindh as their employees because, according to them, the students do not fulfil the criteria set for the jobs. A few of the students who have sound economic family background or reinforced political backup get access to their desired jobs, however most of the students hardly get low rank government or private jobs such as a police constable, private security guard, private teacher, primary teacher, peon and clerk, etc.

The shocking situation of higher education that is prevalent in interior Sindh is that the public sector universities lack state-of-the-art educational technologies and teaching methodologies, research facilities and physical infrastructure. It is worth pointing out that the universities have failed to a great extent in providing their students with education in line with the requirements of the 21st century. This is why the students of these universities cannot compete with students of other universities of the country for competitive jobs in public and private sectors.

The copy culture, which was introduced in 1974 in the annual examinations of the universities and their affiliated colleges in Sindh, has pulled down the significance of higher education. At the moment, it has reached its pinnacle in the graduate and post-graduate annual examinations held in colleges affiliated with universities in interior Sindh. The detrimental practice of copying continues unchecked and unabated as if it is one of the inevitable norms of examination. As a result, the students, a product of these examinations, to have bachelor and master degrees, regrettably are not able to read and write even a single simple sentence in the English Language.

The government of Sindh needs to shoulder the responsibility for bringing about the comprehensive and very well thought out higher education policy to reform the system of higher education in interior Sindh. There is a need to equip the universities with the latest educational technologies for the improvement of the academic environment; to make the physical infrastructure of public sector universities better and wipe out the evil practice of copy culture existing in the examinations.

Shaikh Abdul Rasheed is a social activist and researcher. Follow him on Twitter

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