Higher Education in Gilgit-Baltistan: Boom or Bust

Imran Bashi

It is the talk of town these days that new campuses of Karakorum International University would be established in Ghizer, Hunza and Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan. It is pertinent to note that Karakorum University has already been running a sub-campus in Skardu district for the last many years. For a population of mere 2 million, to establish a university with 4 sub-campuses is highly praiseworthy but people at the helm of power must also think of issues requiring their immediate attention.

The importance of education is undeniable. Irrefutably, education is the central pillar for the development of a society and without which a nation cannot move forth. Education builds strong characters and futures but is it education which is obtained for education’s sake or hunting a job? Setting aside all ifs and buts, I being a denizen of GB ask myself, is our school and college educations so strong and omnipresent to satiate the need of this university and its sub-campuses? Have these feeding units become flawless and perfect that we need to turn our guns towards tertiary education now? Are we really producing hundreds and thousands of college graduates with flying colors every year that remain education-less due to unavailability of a university? And above all, do we have highly qualified and competent people who could serve in these campuses as the teaching faculty?

Gilgit being the hub is at a few hours’ drive from Hunza, Ghizer and Diamer. All these districts have only one or two good colleges whose graduates mostly prefer to pursue education from universities in down Pakistan. Express news reported recently that government degree college in Gahkuch Ghizer has been awarded degree status several years ago but couldn’t start the classes as of yet. The results of government and private colleges in this region are also devastating with meager number of students barely crossing the threshold of 33% marks.

Keeping all this in mind, I wonder if it is the need of the hour to think about new university campuses or do we need to focus on strengthening feeding units, the schools and colleges? Let us appreciate and celebrate new university campuses but we must also build exemplary schools and colleges in these regions which could lay a foundation for higher education. Let the two campuses in Gilgit and Skardu work, strengthen its roots in research and higher learning and let other regions follow suit afterwards.

Imran Bashi is a Fulbright Scholar and has studied MBA from Syracuse University in New York in United States.


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  1. a very well narrated dilemma of the education system in GB which has been neglected by the authorities. i would support the idea of the writer in making the existing system stronger and up to standard rather then just putting up ghost centers for employing some people for nothing.

  2. I read the article by Mr. Imran Bashi, which is highly convincing and needs attention from both the department of Education as well as HEC. I would suggest a multi-prong strategy for quality education in GB, which are as follows:
    1. We need a strong foundation with introduction of ECD section in all government and NGO Network and private schools with trained teachers in ECD or nursery schooling certificate.
    2. A strong primary education to provide and strengthen the foundation of our education institutions and students, which can again be achieved by providing training in effective modern and latest teaching techniques.
    3. The tertiary and HSC and HSSC system should serve as the the feeding units for pursuing education in different professions and higher education. If students have received proper education and guidance at all these stages, then, pursuing higher education will be more productive and meaningful for their future lives.
    I agree with Mr. Imran that obtaining education for the sake of education will not fulfill the aspirations of the new generation. The Higher education should also enable them to do something worthwhile in life, instead of being a source of joblessness and doubts in life!!!

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