Browncast Ep 34: Sohail Naqvi on Higher Education in Pakistan

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

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Related imageThis week we have a twofer about education in Pakistan. In this episode Omar and Zachary talk to Dr Syed Sohail Hussain Naqvi. Dr Naqvi is currently the Rector of the University of Central Asia. Prior to that he has been vice chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences, executive director of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and Dean of electrical engineering the Ghulam Ishaq Khan institute of technology. He shares his views about higher education in Pakistan and his own experiences in that field. In the next episode, we speak to Dr Andrabi about primary education.

In the next episode, we talk with Professor Tahir Andrabi about primary education.

We would definitely appreciate more positive reviews. Many of you listen to us, but don’t leave any reviews!

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Omar Ali

I am a physician interested in obesity and insulin resistance, and in particular in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity As a blogger, I am more interested in history, Islam, India, the ideology of Pakistan, and whatever catches my fancy. My opinions can change.

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5 years ago

Looking forward to listening to these. If at all possible, I’d like to drop Pervez Hoodbhoy’s name in the suggestion box for future guests. He could probably hold court on a number of topics of interest to readers of this blog.

5 years ago

Impressed with this podcast.

5 years ago

An in depth insight into the state of higher education in Pakistan, in particular, how many institutions were built up from the ground up. I’ve read some of Hoodbhoy’s critiques on how the incentive structure for research excellence has been gamed in the natural sciences, so Prof. Naqvi offered interesting counterpoints. I have some questions for him, but I’m not sure these will relay to him, so I’ll just pose my most pressing one. It concerns pipelines, and whether it makes sense for certain developing countries to direct resources to towards them.

It seems that the well trodden path to raise the STEM capacity of a developing nation is with an across the board effort that includes secondary education (cf. Asian Tigers). There will always be the tails of the population that you almost have to do nothing for — they will always come through. But to build a broad cadre of scientists, engineers and mathematicians, the arc of other nations suggests that all the initiatives directed towards tertiary education will squander unless some fraction of that effort is directed towards improving secondary education. In India, however, government expenditure pretty much ignores this factor. Meaning that what’s happening in the last decade or so (expansion of the IIT system, creation of the IISER’s) is just more efficient capture of the previously under-utilized tails of the distribution (the upper three sigma tail of India’s population is still a million brains — we are a nation of outliers). However, constrained with limited resources and limited institutional reach compared to other developing nations at similar stages, perhaps this is the smart way to spend your money? Or should the Asian Tiger model be followed more closely even considering India and Pakistan’s relative limitations?

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