Role of HEIs.

THERE is a vital link between higher education institutes, production of knowledge and sociopolitical and socioeconomic upheaval. Higher education institutions are increasingly viewed as having a greater effect on local and national economies and societies.

Currently, our comprehension of the knowledge-based economy is limited. Much has been written on economic growth under economic turmoil and uncertainty, but less about the link between HEIs and economic viability.

Innovations at HEIs contribute to the latter's organisational development and economic progress. Investing in HEIs as engines of knowledge production fosters the free exploration of ideas and facilitates their transformation. Historically, HEIs have been lauded for their role in producing new knowledge, extending technological frontiers, supporting economic growth and acting as agents of change in local and regional communities.

There is an important correlation betAwAeAAen the number of graduates (via HEIs), and GDP per capita. For instance, research in the US has shown that states with a higher number of Bachelor's degree-holders have a higher GDP per capita. But in many developing nations, such as Pakistan, the association between the number of graduates and the per capita income is inverted.

Simply establishing more campuses is no solution.

In Pakistan, HEIs are expanding in terms of new campuses. But the poor quality of human resource hired at educational institutes has jeopardised the real drive for knowledge creation, which is detrimental to an HEI's and its graduates' prospects as we observe downward mobility in terms of qualification levels and job quests. We lean towards a localised strategy by creating campuses in villages and having students finish their basic to higher education without exposure to a broader sociocultural context.

HEIs are influenced by a country's economic policies, political turmoil, and structural inadequacies; here, in the presence of useless programmes and incompetent academics, HEIs have exacerbated the economic strain by generating graduates who lack the necessary skills. Instead of investing in quality, billions are spent on building new campuses. As a result, we sign MOUs with overseas donors and implement their plans to receive some financial support despite the lack of relevance, and continue to accumulate liabilities.

The Covid-19 pandemic era of online learning has led to a rising trend of virtual degree programmes, including PhDs.


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