Pakistan’s Science and Technology: How Forward, Anyway?

The amazing developments in a variety of disciplines, including medicine, farming, communication, transportation, and military defense, have had a significant influence on our lives in almost every area of our activity. These discoveries were fueled by an ever-increasing number of intriguing findings that originated mostly from Western science laboratories and were subsequently transformed into new goods or processes that flooded global markets. In other words, as a result of their contributions to science and technology, nations with the will and vision to make science and technology the heart of their development efforts can expect tremendous economic benefits.

Pakistan's Science and Technology: How Forward, Anyway?

Today, the world is sharply divided across a technological divide that separates the technologically advanced nations from those still in the Stone Age. The former have been able to rely on their scientists and engineers for rapid economic expansion, while the so-called developing countries (which are actually not developing at all) are relegated to the role of consumers of technological goods. The result is that more money from developing countries is being transferred to developed nations, resulting in an increase in poverty among the poor.

Second, there are many ways to implement development in post-conflict societies. Development is a complicated process that requires the coordination of numerous factors before long-term economic growth and success are possible. In my view, five essential elements must be unified. First, the development process must be based on a solid foundation of high levels of literacy and quality education. In order for Third World countries to unleash their creativity, their youngsters must be exposed to a rigorous educational environment that teaches them to question and discover innovative solutions to tough difficulties.

The second crucial feature for growth is a high level of scientific knowledge. Third World nations must improve their institutions and research centers to an internationally acceptable standard in order to develop and retain world-class academics, as well as provide suitable research facilities. They must become centers of innovation by generating new knowledge. Only when we have high-quality basic research in several

The third aspect of the development process to consider is applied research and technological development. We must identify and launch focused initiatives directed at (a) increasing exports, (b) promoting import substitutions, (c) improving the quality and productivity of existing manufactured items, and (d) bringing to market new and improved goods by encouraging our scientists and engineers’. This is an intricate problem that requires the collaboration of both technologists and economists in order to design and optimize a production process on a large scale, allowing financial possibilities to be properly evaluated.

The fourth component of growth is government policies and mechanisms to boost investment in indigenous technology. Tax incentives, venture capital firm risk capital, intellectual property rights protection, rationalization of import duty structures, prohibition of smuggling to safeguard local industry, and creation on investor confidence through long-term policies are all examples of such efforts.

The fourth and most crucial element is to enlist the greatest creative minds at all levels, which requires us to take steps to persuade our brightest students to choose science and technology as a profession. This entails establishing globally excellent R&D institutions where our scientists can pursue intellectually stimulating and satisfying careers that are compatible with their interests. Grants must also be made available. To put it another way, migrating to a more merit-based system in which the brightest individuals are only permitted to climb through hard work must be linked with a suitable reward and punishment mechanism as an integrated element of a highly transparent but demanding accountability framework.

In Pakistan, due to the neglect and poor vision of government officials in previous eras, the science and technology sector has never been given the respect it needs to contribute effectively to national and economic development. Because we don’t have adequate funding from the government, our R&D organizations aren’t able to generate any significant research. This has caused a decline in the standard of higher education to the extent that today, our universities have been relegated to the level of low-level colleges, in which crucial university-economy connections are completely missing.

The present administration places a high value on science and technology, including information technology (IT). A comprehensive strategy for developing a knowledge-based economy by integrating science and engineering with economic development programs has been implemented. The government has increased the ministry I head’s budget to more than Rs. 7 billion (US$120 million; a 6000 percent increase).The government has launched a wide range of initiatives, some of which fall under other ministries but are designed to make effective use of science and technology for economic development, as response. Since June 2000, the administration has initiated over 260 development projects worth around Rs. 18 billion (US$300 million) in various areas of the IT, telecommunications, and science

Our education programs are focused on human resource development, technological innovation and industrialization, R&D growth, and the use of science and technology for economic improvement in the science and technology domain.

Another problem Pakistan faces is that the quality and quantity of doctoral-level study in its universities has continued to deteriorate. Ph.D. output has risen from 60 per year to 400 per year since four Ph.D.-level programs were established and backed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, owing to increasing funding for indigenous research under the Indigenous For equipment, chemicals, consumables, and other costs associated with educating a student each supervisor is paid Rs. 5 lacs (Rs. 500,000 or US$8400) per kid each year for these things. This program will provide much-needed infrastructure support to our institutions. Over the next four years, Rs. 600 million (US

The ministry has also established a postdoctoral fellowship program to assist instructors and researchers in refreshing their skills. On their return to Pakistan, these scientists will be safeguarded jobs at the nominating institutions. A system of “starter grants” will allow them immediate access to research cash on their return. To improve the quality of research, 25 university laboratories were aided with funding totaling Rs. 37 million to Rs. 39 million (US$630,000 to US$660,000) each.

A novel approach to obtaining a particular level of technological progress is a project known as Science and Technology for Economic Development (STED). Under this initiative, public-sector organizations and private-sector enterprises are working together on technology-based production of high-value-added items. This collaboration between academics and businesses is an innovative new method for attaining. These are not simply academic projects; they also include the implementation of current technologies for agricultural or industrial expansion. To date, 28 public-private collaboration projects in a variety of areas, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, information technology (IT), energy, and health care have been announced. The STED program is anticipated to strengthen the country.

The government is putting a strong focus on ICT and biotechnology. The National Commission for Biotechnology was founded, and 15 projects worth Rs. 415 million have been set up in various areas of biotechnology, especially those focused on health and agriculture.

The government has placed a high premium on computer education. As a result of our multidimensional approach to overcome the deficit in human resources in the field of IT, many short-, medium-, and long-term training programs have been started and others are ongoing. Six new IT universities have been established, as well as 34 IT and computer science departments . 56 institutions are now linked by way of an educational intranet program to share knowledge and information. To encourage brilliant students, internships and scholarships have been offered in a variety of IT disciplines.

In order to save money and time, we have decided not to invest government funds in the construction of new IT universities, but rather to utilize existing campuses and convert them into IT universities or institutes. The creation of the Virtual IT University is also quite exciting. It began operations on March 26, 2002 with a preliminary intake of 10 students. We will be able to train many thousands of IT experts from all across the country through our distance-learning program. TV programs of excellent quality are being produced and broadcast throughout the country via television and the Internet under this distance-learning initiative. Four separate digital TV stations are being built for educational content, with operations beginning later in 2017.

The government has established a chain of well-equipped technology parks in important cities to aid software development. A project for the industrial automation of small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as ISO certification for IT companies, has also been launched.

Although the Pakistani government has made a number of efforts to raise educational and research standards in Pakistan, the most essential one, in my opinion, is the creation of the Higher Education Commission. The action plan for attaining international standards in education, research, and development has already been done by the commission, which is presently being formed. The commission is seeking to tailor higher education programs to national demands and socioeconomic development. The government has committed an increase in funding for institutions through the commission.

The country’s universities can significantly benefit from the funds and expertise that these projects will provide. These initiatives represent a major turning point in Pakistan’s scientific and technological development, and should provide much-needed cash as well as scientific knowledge to our colleges, which will eventually lead to economic growth.

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