Lowest ranking on innovations!

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The National Assembly has recently been informed that less than two per cent of GDP is being spent in Pakistan on research and development. This spending is too low when compared with that of other states which have set their progress on a sustained track. Similarly, the low standards of science education in our educational institutions are the prime reason why Pakistan has been ranked 131st out of 141 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2015. Whether it is the issue of technological readiness, capacity for innovation, higher education and training, availability of scientist and engineers, industry-academia linkage or quality of scientific research institutions, the country is ranked amongst the low performers on international level. Of course, low government budget allocations as well as weak priorities, lack private spending on research and development are behind all this discouraging state of affairs. Lack of quality education as well as laboratory facilities, competent science teachers and very low investments are the main factors that have always contributed towards the current pathetic ranking in the fields of innovations or RandD projects. No doubt that the country has the young talent but the discouraging response from all the stakeholders especially government and private sectors has triggered the brain drain. The point to ponder over is that how youth remain unable to polish their abilities and tap their capacities in Pakistan, but when get a conducive environment in foreign institutions, they make records in quality education and RandD sector. Most recently, Dr. Nergis Mavalvala was in the news for being part of a team, which had made a historic scientific discovery by detecting gravitational waves. Her success is not reflective of the state of education and scientific innovation in Pakistan was largely ignored. This should not be surprising as the government is spending only 0.29 per cent of GDP for research and development. There are only 10,670 PhDs in the country, a tiny number, especially when considering that according to HEC guidelines a university is required to have at least two PhD faculty members in order to offer MPhil and MS programmes. But this is very unfortunate that the current atmosphere encourages only the attainment of highest grades through the retention of facts memorized from books. And questioning conventional wisdom and forming independent conclusions are not encouraged by those believing in conventional way of giving education. This does not let the culture of innovation flourish. Subsequently, the capabilities of especially young brains is discouraged and paves the way for brain drain. This is something very serious that we, as a nation, can no longer afford.


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Published in: Volume 07 Issue 11

Short Link: http://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=15425