Conditions of Teaching and Research in Economics: Some Preliminary Findings

Publication Year : 1998

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.