International Education: A Pakistani New Priority?

International Education: A Pakistani New Priority? My Country

Andi Luo, Hongxi Chen & Huazhong Tu

As a main Muslim country with a population of around 200 million, Pakistan is also the most important portal for the rest of the world to learn about Muslim World. However, Pakistan’s international education has been backward for many years, which is inconsistent with Pakistan’s status in Muslim World.

According to a Higher Education Commission(HEC) report, the number of international students enrolled in Pakistan was around 1,000 per year, which was far behind the figure for Turkey (54,000 in 2017) and for Malaysia (135,500 in 2014). Moreover, Turkish government is targeting to reach 200,000 international student by 2020,and Malaysia government aims to host 250,000 international students by 2025.The magnificent goal set up by Turkish and Malaysia government both suggests that the two Muslim countries regard international education as a major step to accelerate their internationalization.

International Education is widely-acknowledged as an environmentally-friendly and non-pollution industry. Expansion of the industry benefits not only exchange between Pakistan and other countries, but also makes Pakistan’s voice heard by the rest of the World. More importantly, it can boost Pakistan’s social and economic development. Statistics show that an international student spends around 10,000 USD to 20,000 USD a year on average in Pakistan.

The spending has been distributed to the field of education, catering, tourism, accommodation, etc. The consumption can create jobs for dozens of people in Pakistan. Imagine that there are 100,000 international students studying in Pakistan every year. Hence, around 1 billion USD to 2 billion USD of foreign exchange earnings can be created for Pakistan. Similarly, there will be around tens of thousands of new jobs will be created in Pakistan, which will benefits millions of workers’ family members as well. Last but not least, the international students, after graduating from Pakistani universities, definitely can contribute the relationship between Pakistan and their mother countries in this regard.

Of special note is that Pakistan has many advantages in developing international education. First and foremost, there are many world-renowned universities in Pakistan. HEC Statistics show that Pakistan has 189 recognized universities, of which the National University of Sciences and Technology, Quaid-i-Azam University, University of the Punjab, University of Sindh and University of Peshawar have favorable faculty resources and supporting facilities. Most of them can satisfy educational activities for international students.

Secondly, Pakistan has a fully-developed educational system. The bachelor, master and doctor degree programs can cater to overseas learning needs of different layers. What’s more, there are many private universities adopting two-year schooling. Different scholastic year systems can provide international students with more flexible and diverse choices. Thirdly, Pakistan offers an immersive English environment. Most Pakistani universities offer programs and courses with English as the main teaching language. Therefore, language barrier is not an issue for most international students.

Based on the above analysis, it has become an imperative for Pakistan to expand the scale of education for international students and to promote rapid development of Pakistan’s economy, culture and education. As mentioned above, educational for international students exists as a pollution-free industry and an emerging industry, whose importance has been realized by more and more countries in the world. Take Australia for example. Education for international students has created nearly 12 billion USD of profits for Australia.

Currently, education for international students has become one of the most important industries in Australia. The number of international students studying in Australia is around 800,000 in 2017, which is eight hundred times higher than that of Pakistan. This indicates an opportunity for Pakistan to develop education for international students, which can increase its revenue by 800 times in the near future.

(Andi Luo, Hongxi Chen, Scholar , Yunnan University, P.R. China; Huazhong Tu, Scholar, Tsinghua University & Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, P.R. China)

International Education: A Pakistani New Priority? My Country