Conditions of Teaching and Research in Economics: Some Preliminary Findings

S. M. Naseem, S K. Qureshi, Rehana Seddiqui


This paper reports onthe preliminary findings of a study
initiated two years ago, at the initiative of the P.LD.E. to review the
problems of teaching and research in economics and related subjects
(ERS)! during the last two decades. The need for such a study has been
felt for some time not only because of the common perception of
declining standards in higher education generally and, economics, in
particular, but also from the perceived competition economics has faced
from other disciplines, especially business studies and computer science
as a passport to the job market. After having enjoyed a relatively
robust period of growth in the 1960s largely through the assistance of
foreign donors such as the Ford Foundation, ERS in Pakistan have
suffered in their development not only from the comparative paucity of
resources allocated to them, but also as a result of an adverse change
in the perceptions about the primacy of their usefulness for policy
purposes. The demand for economics has also suffered some decline as a
result of the diminished importance of the public sector and of planned
development during the last two decades. While special branches of
economics, such as finance, project evaluation, transport and energy
economics have shown increased demand, mainly in the private sector or
donor-related institutions, the demand for general economic analysts is
not as strong as in the past and does not provide many gainful
opportunities for professional advancement. Due to the continued
disadvantage in terms of salaries and other rewards, the academic
profession, remains unattractive.

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