The state of higher education: Pakistan in comparison with the UK
After partition, Pakistan, an independent state came into being in 1947 and inherited a colonial university system, created by the British. The fundamental features of this system during that era were that it was under-financed, bureaucratic, and mediocre and was teaching rather than research oriented.
Just then, the country had a poorly educated population and few schools or universities. Even though the education system has expanded to a great extent since then, debate continues about the curriculum, and, apart from a few elite institutions, quality remains a critical concern of educators till date.
In Pakistan, higher education is referred to as the education above grade 12, which normally corresponds to the age bracket of 17 to 23 years. This system in Pakistan is made up of two main sectors: the university/Degree Awarding Institutes (DAI) sector and the affiliated colleges sector. The Higher Education Commission is an autonomous apex body responsible for the distribution of public funds from the federal government to universities and DAIs and accrediting their degree programs. Colleges are funded and regulated through provincial legislatures, but follow the curriculum of the HEC funded universities/DAIs with which they are associated. While the HEC primarily funds public universities, it has in recent times also opened a limited number of avenues for making funds available to private sector universities for research and infrastructure development as well.
International comparisons in higher education and training with developed countries such as the United Kingdom are of great importance in order to understand the recent innovations and developments in countries in the field of higher education.
Pakistan is a federal territory with five of its provincial units: Sindh, Punjab, KPK, Baluchistan and the newly formed Gilgit0Baltistan with satisfactory level of provincial autonomy. Whereas the United Kingdom is a union of four countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with English Parliament as a central government.
The universities and degree awarding institutions in Pakistan are autonomous but are characterized by their respective provincial governments and the Higher Education Commission Pakistan. Likewise in the UK, students after the completion of secondary education enroll in universities or other professional colleges. The degree Programmes vary in duration across both the different countries. For example, in England first degree programmes are usually of three years for full time.
In the United Kingdom, higher education institutions are independent, self-governing bodies active in teaching, research and scholarship. They are established by Royal Charter or legislation with most of them being partly funded by government.
In accumulation to universities and university colleges, both the countries have a number of other publicly...