Showing posts from November, 2013


Every few days former HEC officials lament the lack of funding to HEC in the context of a burgeoning youth population. No amount of money is enough for these people, demands range from Rs 120 billion to over 300 billion per annum.
We have been on a university building binge for the last decade or more and now have about a 128 universities.Yet a former HEC chief writes that we only have about 7000 PhDs in these. That means that there are about 55 PhDs per campus. And they tell you that a majority of these are fresh PhDs. That experienced and competent professors are few and far between.
They are also quite clear that university education has to be permanently and fully subsidized in the country.
They are very good people and well respected and far be it from me to challenge them or to doubt them. And I do not.
However, I do think that HEC is working on a flawed model. Let us see how.
First, let us review what a university is. When most of us chose a university a building was the la…

Article on cities published in the news as 2 part series

TV discussion with Ahsan Iqbal

Although I was cut off, worth looking at.

Our anchors must stop favoring politicians. It is making them arrogant and less accountable.

Politicians and experts must be given equal time.

Dr. Ikram ul Haq On TV--must watch

Old narratives die hard

Dr. Ikram describes rent seeking in urdu superbly. Watch!

Although anchors took it in wrong direction. Does not matter what amounts lying outside and tax/gdp ratio.  

Issue really is to plug the problem at home which is plots/perks.

In the News today!

Why does Pakistan have no intellectual events?

I have been lamenting for a while that we do not have conferences in Pakistan but Tamashas where
VIPs come not to learn but read a prepared speech and receive garlandsThe whole conference organized to please VIPs and donors leaving learning out of the picture.  People are asked to present and put on stage not because of their knowledge or ideas but only to adorn panels. Stray subjects or people are put together without a clear coherent theme emerging for the conference. Speakers ramble and time overruns are frequent.Debates neither happen nor are encouraged and if they do they turn nasty. People from the floor if they speak make speeches whether or not they are related to the subject. Audiences are thin and often consist of people who are there for reasons other than to learn. Conferences or forums as a desirable learning activity is too distant from us. Yet part of development is to inculcate this culture. In developed countries this has been a glorious tradition for centuries. For e…

On developing a knowledge community

Cities 4: Rebuilding cities for growth and development