Higher Education as Source of Exploitation in Underdeveloped States

All humans are equal by birth. It’s the physical environment and genes which decides the scope of an individual to excel. Throughout the history, there remains a debate among sociologists whether its nature or nurture which play a key role in upbringing of a child. However, majority gave an upper hand to the physical environment; indeed, it makes the dominant traits, the recessive ones, if the given environment is not suitable, as evidence, one may study Darwin’s theory of “survival to the fittest”. Furthermore, studying the parameters in this regard, one may find it’s the educational system and research which served as a triggering factor in changing the fate of nations. For instance, one may consider how Greeks, Muslims and Europeans prospered. All of them ensured the independence and prestige of educational institutions and ensured full fledge support of state machinery to them.

Educational institutions mean, indeed, the higher education ones as their role in society is multi-faceted whether its IT, medicine, engineering, ammunition or last but not the least, industry. The last two centuries have, indeed, verified the given stance. As, one may consider the development of communication systems over the decades, starting from Marconi’s Radio to today’s virtual world, still today, scientists are working over power minimization issues in portable devices. In addition to it, ammunition systems are being manufactured so strong and accurate that they can hit anyone, anywhere across the globe with minimum collateral damage, like consider the killing of Mullah Mansoor. That’s all possible because of advancement in technology and continuous experimentation. Meanwhile, it’s worth full to mention that without having state patronage, it was impossible to achieve such milestones along with human intellectual or labor in terms of economics provided by higher educational institutes like Oxford, Cambridge and many others.

Whether it was Muslim world or today’s Europe, what enables them to rule the world is, indeed, their superiority based upon knowledge. Of course, the rulers used the said institutes to ensure their hegemony across the globe. For example, one can consider how Ullemas were used for invasion on other states as well as for persecution of Shia Muslims or in other words they were used to strengthen monarchs. Moving on to the contemporary world, one may consider the brain drainage from underdeveloped states, under the umbrella of higher education, by developed states in this perspective. Anyway the question here is how it is being carried on? No doubt, studying abroad is a dream for many of us. Consequently, most of us who avail the said opportunity prefer to serve global institutions as they offer attractive salaries along with an improved lifestyle as evident from the ratio of doctors serving in USA, one fourth of them are Pakistanis. More and more enrollment of students in their institutions simply maximizes their income as well as ensures availability of cheap labor for MNCs. Meanwhile, students from underdeveloped states find useless to serve their own states as they lack infrastructure as well as political will of the leaders. Moreover, such students who prefer to stay at home, also, sometimes, become a tool for international organizations, question may be raised how; they act like a communicator, mediator or sometimes as a recruiter too for the said institutions. For instance, consider an Ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan Dr. Shaukat Aziz, an employee of World Bank, after serving Pakistan, he never came back to his homeland, courts were unable to make him accountable for his actions. One may consider as an example the role of NGO’s in underdeveloped states, how they are used for propaganda especially for regime change in such states like the Arab Spring, how youth were manipulated by the slogans of democracy, here west oriented mindset of youth had neglected the ground realities, the divisions of their societies on ethnic and religious lines, their idealism has, indeed, betrayed them and resulted in civil war. Indeed, it’s the drawback of higher education along with the system failure to adjust these idealists within the given scenario.

Apart from the said facts, let us consider the role of researchers in developing states like Pakistan. Here, intermingling of research and teaching departments, has indeed resulted into the deterioration of teaching system Research departments are heavily funded by universities and HEC, so majority’s focus has been shifted towards research. There are only a few institutions like PITB who are committed to the research projects over the issues based upon our ground realities. On the other hand, most of our research scholars associate themselves with foreign researchers, presenting solutions for their problems. So, here one may raise the question how are they benefiting their homelands? The answer lies simply in negation and indeed, it is written on the wall.

One may raise question then how Europeans used Muslim knowledge and transformed themselves. The answer is quite simple, they translated Muslim’s books, used them according to their social demands as well as gradually challenged the monarchs by giving an alternative of nationalism to Roman Catholic Empire and then later on rejection of monarchy by giving the principle of popular sovereignty; the basis of democratic world. So, as a nation, we also want to prosper but by not becoming a consumer market rather should become production unit that is, we should be able to adjust those who study abroad, should encourage those programs which are in accordance to our real issues, in nutshell, instead of blind followership, we should establish a forum to determine our current and future needs in accordance to which students should be allowed to study abroad and conduct research.

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