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CARBS Business Review

Reimagining Business Education in the wake of current socio-economic challenges of Pakistan

Dr Sami Ullah Bajwa

29 May, 2023

Reimagining Business Education in the wake of current socio-economic challenges of Pakistan

The analysis of the recent intermediate exam results offers an intriguing perspective on the need to reimagine business education in Pakistan. In the field of commerce, 27% of the students who passed the exams achieved A+ and A grades, while a staggering 61% managed to pass with B (20%), C (22%), and D (19%) grades. Unfortunately, this 60% segment is often overlooked and not adequately addressed in the strategies of business schools in Pakistan.

 

A majority of these students come from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and their modest grades can be attributed, in part, to limited access to affordable quality education at the primary and tertiary levels, as well as inequitable exposure to learning and grooming opportunities. They often lack the confidence and command of the English language, which hinders their chances of being considered by top-tier business schools.

 

In their pursuit of establishing themselves as top-class institutions, the so-called first-tier business schools remain selective in their student intake, focusing on those who already meet the grade, persona, and English language requirements. This exclusionary approach has detrimental effects, denying career prospects to deserving students, undermining entrepreneurial activity in the country, and creating a shortage of quality human capital for small and medium enterprises.

 

One argument could be that, with their lower grades, these students should consider vocational training, agriculture, or startup options instead of aiming for further business education. However, a closer examination of the socio-educational dynamics reveals that none of these options hold significant promise.

 

Our vocational training infrastructure, including institutions, technology, and curriculum, is weak and fails to offer high economic returns for these students. Moreover, vocational education is not adequately appreciated in society. The agriculture sector faces challenges of low productivity and fragmented land ownership, offering limited opportunities for the rapidly increasing youth. And, the regulatory and business environment in the country is far from being conducive for intermediate pass students to venture into entrepreneurship.

 

Consequently, the majority of these students end up joining business schools with less stringent admission requirements and a reputation for producing graduates who lack the persona, English language skills, and exposure of their counterparts from top-tier business schools in Pakistan. Unless these business schools acknowledge the fundamental differences in their student intake and refrain from simply imitating the educational thrust, policies, and pedagogies of their counterparts, bridging the industry-academia gap, addressing the issue of degree holder unemployment, and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among students will remain a daunting task.

 

Most importantly, it is crucial to recognize that low grades and limited exposure of these students do not imply a lack of potential to become valuable human capital or successful entrepreneurs. Anecdotal evidence suggests that with encouragement, mentoring, and guidance, these students can transform themselves into valuable assets for organizations, particularly small and medium enterprises, and embark on successful entrepreneurial journeys.

 

Therefore, it is the responsibility of the business schools that admit these students to revitalize themselves, align their program roadmaps, and customize their instructional methods to cater to the specific learning needs of these students and harness their potential to contribute to Pakistan’s economy.

 

Our youth bulge is a double-edged sword. If equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset and the necessary skillset, it can become a source of sustainable social and economic growth for the country. However, if neglected, it becomes an omen of anarchy and social unrest. Business schools cannot afford to be complacent any longer.

Dr. Sami Ullah Bajwa

Dr Sami Ullah Bajwa

Dr Bajwa is Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences at Superior University. He has vast experience of working with government, international development agencies and academia.

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Disclaimer

Please note that all opinions, views, statements, and facts conveyed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of Chaudhry Abdul Rehman Business School (CARBS). CARBS assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. When interpreting and applying the information provided in the article, readers are advised to use their own discretion and judgement.

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