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In the last part, we conclude our discussion on Business Education in Pakistan. I shall partake from an earlier study published by Anwar Khan, Ishaq Mad Shah and Kamran Azam, from University Technology, Malaysia. 1[Quote] “Education is a systematic process of imparting knowledge through the improvement of knowledge & expertise in a particular area. It provides the tools to the users for getting things done in much organized way. Among the different forms of education, the professional education is of unique nature, as it helps the people in gaining professional skills and behaviour, beside their basic knowledge. Professional education, thus guides people to get the means of living in present age of scarce resources and cut throat competition by availing opportunities and dealing threats.1 [Unquote]
Several problems are associated with Business Education in Pakistan. We shall look at the important ones below.
Business Education on the Pattern of Non-business Subjects
Most of the business schools do not differentiate between teaching of business and teaching of humanities. The curricula include irrelevant subjects; the relevant subjects are taught as theory only; the examinations are based on rote system; and GPA is granted on the achievement of marks obtained against MCQs. Students are neither exposed to business environment, nor encouraged to do so on their own. The emphasis is on notes, prelim/midterm/end-term papers and it is reading only. There is no research, no literature survey and no practical. The end result is that an MBA with 3.9 GPA has no clue about business, business administration and business management. They do not know anything about corporate environment and working.
Business Education has to be more on the pattern of training rather than teaching/memorizing. There will be theory, but it should be complemented with practical exposure. A few weeks internship some time during the studies is not enough because corporates do not open up to such internees. The internees just spend time without learning anything. A handful of better-rated schools have made work experience mandatory for enrolment to MBA, but majority keeps giving admission to graduates of all subjects without any experience whatsoever.
Business Education – curricula, enrolment process, teaching methodologies and teaching tools, all need overhauling.
This leads to the discussion of the next problem.
Lack of Industry – Academia Relationship
The absence of industry – academia relationship is ubiquitous across all disciplines and all institutions. Most of the research done at universities is on subjects of no commercial or practical consequence. The theses are being prepared nevertheless and doctorate degrees are being awarded at an unprecedented rate. While it is heartening to see more PhDs being produced indigenously in Pakistan, it is not reinforcing the cause of higher education. Business education is the same. The only relationship that exists between business schools and industry is what we should call ‘Inverse Relation’. The few most well-known business schools tend to offer courses to industry which the industry happily accepts at exorbitant prices. Having attended several such courses, I am thoroughly disillusioned. They get a bunch of senior managers and try to feed them photocopies of American case studies. The emphasis is on long duration, 10-12 hours a day, which is more like forced labor. The learning is limited, if any, because the course conductors have no practical exposure of the industry.
The industry – academia relation is urgently needed to put substance into business education. Local case studies should be developed and taught alongside foreign case studies. The academia should offer to develop solutions for industry issues, rather than teaching the industry what it knows already at a much better level.
This is linked to the next problem area.
Lack of Professionally Trained Teachers
Where is the faculty of business schools coming from? From the same or similar schools. They may hold degrees from Pakistan and abroad, but they have never been trained to become professional teachers. It should be understood that doing PhD does not make a person teacher. It is no wonder that many highly qualified people struggle in teaching. Teachers’ training is a neglected area generally; some work is done for primary and secondary level teachers, but higher education remains out of scope.
Some business schools tend to engage visiting faculty from the corporate sector. It is a welcome gesture. However, the curriculum restrictions make even these people less effective.
The list of issues can definitely include more topics. The Sum Up is that Business Education is desperately needed to run businesses on modern lines so that Pakistan could be counted among the developing countries.
Government has the responsibility to formulate relevant policies to reform and promote Business Education in Pakistan. It must deliver.
The business schools must review their curricula, faculty and methodology so that business education does not remain a rote degree which it is now.
The student alumni should form an association, get them accredited and start ranking the business schools independently. This will be another pressure on the ‘so-called’ institutions to clean their act.
Business Education is extremely important and must be developed along modern lines urgently.
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