One of major concerns for those working to improve education quality in Pakistan is deteriorating research culture in the country. There are several factors that are hindering quality research work in Pakistan. Thousands of MPhil and PhD scholars are teaching in different institutes but they have failed to produce any notable research work in years.
It is said that excellence comes with motivation. In case of Pakistan, however, it has been observed that students tend to avoid research thesis and prefer other projects in their final years of degree. The main reason behind this behaviour is that students are not well aware of the importance of research and the techniques used to conduct it. Another dilemma of our society is that critical thinking has no room in our educational spaces, and new ideas are not encouraged. Therefore, the students avoid taking risk of losing grades by not opting for research work.
Students face more obstacles if they choose the research track. The most significant one is a language barrier. A majority of students face difficulty in research work because of their inability to analyse literature and information presented in English language. They face shortage of latest experimental labs and libraries with new books. According to the Federal Bureau of Statistic, there are 1961 libraries in Pakistan, including libraries of schools, colleges, public libraries, box libraries and special libraries. Access to these libraries and availability of new books is another problem which needs attention.
The most significant one is a language barrier. A majority of students face difficulty in research work because of their inability to analyse literature and information presented in English language.
Selecting an appropriate topic for the research is the next major problem for students because they are not aware of the latest research techniques. Lack of knowledge about interpretation of data by using various softwares such as SPSS and NVivo etc. becomes another nightmare for them.
Students play safe and choose traditional genres and common topics for their research work just to acquire degree. Most of the students of MPhil and PhD are mostly those who have been managing study and jobs at the same time, their busy routine does not allow them to give full attention towards their research work. Further, they do not peruse research work after completion of their degree.
Faculty members seem to have their own problems. They have the academic responsibilities to fulfill with other administrative duties to perform. At the same time, they have to supervise students studying topics of diverse nature. They deliver lectures in classes, check assignments/papers and give feedback on queries to students all the time. It is obvious, while performing these duties, they cannot manage time to conduct their own research work.
In order to learn modern ways and latest techniques of research, it is necessary for teachers to attend different seminars, workshops and fellowships in the country and abroad. But unfortunately they are not encouraged and allowed to do so by university managements and relevant government educational bodies. They face financial problems, as universities and governments refuse to give them incentives and funds to pursue research work.
Reputed journals don’t publish their research work because it is below par or doesn’t meet the publishing criteria. After facing rejections, researchers try to get their work published in dummy and fake journals, some of them charge high amount of money for publication.
If researchers manage to overcome these issues, they are exposed to some more challenges. Reputed journals don’t publish their research work because it is below par or doesn’t meet the publishing criteria. After facing rejections, researchers unfortunately try to get their work published in dummy and fake journals, some of which charge high amount of money for publication.
It is need of the hour that all stakeholders sit together to discuss these serious problems and come up with innovative solutions. For example, modern techniques of research are becoming more important, it should be taught to young and aspiring researchers. Research training institutes have become a basic need. Importance of research should be taught to students right from the BS level, a mandatory research subject should be introduced for that matter. There should be some sort of incentives and fundings for researchers in order to encourage and support them.
These are direly needed suggestions which can be greatly helpful to achieve research excellence in Pakistan.