Narratives and legacy: the humanities crisis in Pakistan

Author Affiliation

Syed Nomanul Haq is Professor at Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Was this content written or created while at IBA?


Document Type


Source Publication

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East




Haq’s article is an analytical examination of the official policies of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), the supreme executive federal body that oversees all education beyond high school. Alleging that Pakistan’s educational system is facing a crisis, the author identifies three salient features of these policies: one, that the HEC considers all education to be reducible ultimately to a pragmatic process of systematic vocational training that promises employment; two, that the study of the humanities is expressly discouraged as a matter of policy target; and three, that there exists a heavy preoccupation on the part of the HEC with what is called "scientism" in contradistinction to science. As a result of all this, Haq claims, knowledge of languages has all but disappeared from the educational horizons of Pakistan, and the capacity for analytical and critical thought and creative work is rapidly dwindling. Access to primary sources of their complex legacy having been blocked, Pakistanis cannot challenge received narratives that happen to originate from external sources, and they are forced to conceive of themselves as they are conceived in these narratives.

Indexing Information

HJRS - Y Category, Scopus, Web of Science - Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)

Publication Status