EVERY nation gives utmost value to education and to produce learned minds. All institutions of learning therefore play a pivotal role in disseminating such knowledge that broadens the mental horizon hence giving students the ability to think and act with wisdom to become an integral part of the country’s socio-economic growth. Unfortunately in Pakistan the education sector has been covered with dust and debris for decades as the government has seldom given this sector due importance. The budget is allocated on defence and other sectors where education suffers the most. Moreover, brain drain is another reason that diminishes intellectual minds as students after completing their post graduate degrees leave for abroad in pursuit of higher education and better employment opportunities.
Where universities in Pakistan are making efforts to impart education, it is widely observed that most universities follow syllabus from the West and do not teach the Pakistani perspective. For instance, Principles of Marketing text books being taught for MBA classes are written by an American author who uses examples of foreign brands, the one which Pakistanis only see in movies or in print and do not use them. Similarly, Principles of Management text books teach management theories and principles as discussed by the western companies and foreign authors, hence giving no room to propagate similar theories from Pakistan.
The need of the hour for universities in Pakistan is to produce textbooks for students that discuss Pakistani context by sharing concepts, principles, and best practices being followed by Pakistani companies. This will provide students with insights of the modus operandi in marketing, finance, advertising, management, and other sectors by Pakistani companies. It is important for students to learn theories and practices implemented and followed by Pakistani companies because it will give them a better understanding of Pakistan’s corporate culture. Students who work in Pakistan after completing their university degrees have to follow practices of Pakistani companies being led by Pakistani minds and it becomes a paradox of learning when they cannot link their course material and class lectures with the way companies operate.
Moreover, the corporate culture is different between countries and the one between Pakistan and the US is poles apart. The way corporate leaders perform, their psyche, laws, advertising methods, and theories are different in Pakistan as compared to the US or with any other country. Students become part of this foreign culture by reading text books written by foreign authors and hence create a mindset that accepts such principles and practices. When students learn case studies, they start thinking in a similar way as that of the person residing and workingabroad. During their stay at the university, students learn all internationally followed concepts and while giving examinations solve questions not as students but as brand managers, communication managers, finance officers, and human resource managers. They secure good marks and complete their degrees, however, once the students graduates and enters the corporate world, the concepts begin contradicting in the student’s head as he tries to balance the learned concepts, which are foreign, and the professional practices being followed in the company where he is working, which is local.
The moment a student begins doing a job, the bubble he is living in bursts and he faces the reality, which is that he isn’t a manager but a management trainee or an internee who has to perform basic office duties. Moreover, even if the student becomes a management trainee, he keeps juggling between what he learned in university and what is being followed at work or what he is supposed to follow at work. Field trips must become a norm in all universities where students are studying for the BBA, MBA, BS, and MS degrees. Teachers who teach theoretical subjects should take students to leading companies to hold a discussion with the concerned personnel who provide students with insights on how concepts and theories taught in foreigntext books are being implemented in Pakistan. Moreover, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) must make an effort to publish textbooks by Pakistani authors, especially those who have or are working in the corporate sector, to promote the Pakistani concepts that will be highly beneficial for the career growth of students. The HEC needs to formulate a strategy to counter this predicament that keeps the students away from corporate practices being followed in Pakistan. Though they do learn foreign concepts, it is important for them to understand what managers, supervisors, and corporate leaders are following in Pakistan.