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Pakistan: Council to promote social sciences

The Pakistan Council of Social Sciences Research (PCSSR) will be established to promote social sciences research in Pakistan. It was decided during the recent meeting of heads of member institutions of Inter-Universities Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS), the country’s first-ever inter-universities alliance, comprising of nine leading universities of the country.

The meeting was presided over by Islamia University Bahawalpur Vice Chancellor /Chairperson Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan Dr Muhammad Mukhtar and Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur Vice Chancellor Dr Nilofar Sheikh, QAU Islamabad Vice Chancellor Dr Masoom Yasin Zai, University of Gujrat Vice Chancellor Muhammad Nizamuddin, University of Balochistan Vice Chancellor Dr Rasul Bakhsh Raisani, GC University Faisalabad Acting Vice Chancellor Dr Shahbaz Arif, Director IMS Peshawar Dr Muhammad Mohsin Khan, Director COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Abbottabad Dr Khan Gul Jadoon, Dean Faculty of Business Education COMSATS Islamabad Dr Qaisar Abbas and Focal Person BZU Multan Dr Muhammad Shafique also attended the meeting.

The council will act as a nucleus for promotion of social sciences research and making it meaningful for the socio-economic development of the country. The status of the council will be autonomous and will work under the supervision of Board of Directors and Advisory Board, comprising of renowned and veteran social scientists from academia, civil society and R &D organizations.

The council in consultation with concerned stake holders will identify priority areas for social sciences research in Pakistan. The council will also work for creating close interaction among researchers and community so that such research projects could be undertaken for the benefit of community and addressing key socio-economic issues being confronted by the country.

It was also decided that the financial sustainability of the council will be ensured and endowment fund of more than one hundred million rupees will be established. The member institutions will contribute to this fund and HEC and other organisations will also be approached in this regard. The best international methodology will be adopted to make the council an effective, vibrant and successful organisation.

A five member committee was constituted including Dr Nelofer Sheikh, Dr Masoom Yasin Zai, Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin, Dr Rausal Baksh Raisani and Dr Muhammad Mohsin Khan. During the meeting, the Vice Chancellors demanded to HEC that the scholarships may be awarded on need basis by keeping in view the importance of social sciences for socio-economic development of the country and shortage of human resource in the fields of social sciences.

Similarly, the proportion of social sciences may also be increased in local and foreign scholarships. It was also demanded that the education budget may be increased to 4 per cent of the GDP and continuous funding may be ensured to higher education sector in Pakistan so that the pace of progress and development in this important sector may not suffer.

The heads of nine universities consortium have also decided to establish social sciences labs in their respective institutions so that young scholars may be able to get practical knowledge to contribute for the betterment of the society through undertaking research projects to address the contemporary problems of the country.

It was also decided to introduce course of study on community services at the member institutions. The Vice Chancellors also decided to undertake collaborative programs for enhancing the soft image of Pakistan and preservation of local culture/heritage. (The Nation)

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