Innovative and professional degrees required to combat daily life issues

New degree areas connected to the demand of the market and the professionalism required will open up new prospects for our next generations, says Syed Abidi

LAHORE: A key factor that contributes to the success and development of a country’s economy is connected largely to what its education sector is delivering. In the west academic and professional degrees are designed in close interaction with industry, commerce and keeping in view the social and cultural requirement of the country. The degrees have tailor made curriculum and syllabus which produces professionals that have special focus enhancing their graduate employability.

Reviewing the current socio-political and security situation in Pakistan and the day to day problems that we encounter require a careful re-planning of certain subject areas where undergraduate and postgraduate specialism can be offered different from the normal, conventional and orthodox degrees such as Engineering, Medicine, Law, Management, etc.

This reporter had an opportunity to discuss this important topic with Syed Abidi, a renowned educationist engaged in providing international education advice to students and academia for more than 22 years. Syed Abidi was of the opinion that our public and private sector institutions need to look at offering some specialized degrees in subject areas that are connected to our daily life.

Quoting an example of the IDP’s that includes specialism to handle, deal and organize issues such as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), which is a recurring subject or incident in our country. The specialists are also needed to assist and help different government agencies in rehabilitating the displaced persons who have diversified range of problems such as psychological, moral and social issues.

Replying to a question on the acts of terrorism, fire and crisis he quoted examples where thousands of casualties have resulted in various incidents from Karachi to Peshawar. In addition to this earthquakes and disasters bring huge casualties and financial loss which can be reduced substantially if we have experts and professionals in these areas. He particularly mentioned the need for developing undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in the areas of counter terrorism, policing, security intelligence, investigative forensics and criminal investigation with justice to enhance our security forces especially Police and FIA through tailor made curriculums and with the help of state of art laboratories and technology in place.

Lauding the efforts of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his initiative on developing Knowledge City and bringing international universities to establish campuses, this would be an ideal opportunity to offer these innovative and special programs using international expertise and interacting with academics and specialists in these vital areas.

He said that he is available to provide any assistance or support towards acquiring international collaborations and identifying institutions that have these subject areas available and are doing intensive research and development in offering such degrees. He said that this requires special and particular knowledge and not everyone can help in putting these important areas in place. Some of the degrees that he mentioned which may have both undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum are as follows:

MSc Refugees and Forced Migration,

MSc Global Refugee Studies,

MSc Refugee Studies Policy and Management,

BSc Crisis and Risk

BSc Emergency Management

MSc Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Management

MSc Organized Crimes

MSc Counter Terrorism

BSc Police Science

BSc Police Criminal Investigation

MSc Terrorism and Criminal Justice

MSc Policing and Leadership

MSc Criminal and Forensic Science

MSc Safety and Accidental Investigation

When asked which country in his opinion would be best when seeking international support he said United Kingdom, EU, Canada and US in this order of priority. He said that the education system in the UK is more in line with to the system that is currently in place at higher school and degree level in Pakistan and therefore this would be the best match when considering transnational or cross border education MOUs.

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