Couple of interesting things to note:
According to a recent survey, among the 57 member states of the OIC, there are approximately 1800 universities.5 Of those, only 312 publish journal articles. A ranking of the 50 most published among them yields these numbers: 26 are in Turkey, 9 in Iran, 3 each in Malaysia and Egypt, 2 in Pakistan, and 1 in each of Uganda, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Azerbaijan. For the top 20 universities, the average yearly production of journal articles was about 1500, a small but reasonable number. However, the average citation per article is less than 1.0 (the survey report does not state whether self-citations were excluded).An average of less than one citation!! I really hope self-citation has been excluded from the study. But I think he rightly points out that just pouring money into science and education is not going to change much. What really needs to be changed is the attitude towards learning:
Poor teaching owes more to inappropriate attitudes than to material resources. Generally, obedience and rote learning are stressed, and the authority of the teacher is rarely challenged. Debate, analysis, and class discussions are infrequent.
Here, as in other Pakistani public universities, films, drama, and music are frowned on, and sometimes even physical attacks by student vigilantes who believe that such pursuits violate Islamic norms take place. The campus has three mosques with a fourth one planned, but no bookstore.Here, Pervez is talking about Quaid Azam University (QAU), which is the second highest ranked university amongst Islamic countries. Theater, films and music pose an interesting challenge. Even during the peak of Greek translations in the Islamic world (8th-10th century), much of Greek dramas and theater works were ignored. There is, of course, a rich tradition of story telling in the Arab world, such as the Arabian Nights, but I'm not sure how much theater and music permeated the general culture.
No Pakistani university, including QAU, allowed Abdus Salam to set foot on its campus, although he had received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his role in formulating the standard model of particle physics. The Ahmedi sect to which he belonged, and which had earlier been considered to be Muslim, was officially declared heretical in 1974 by the Pakistani government.
The treatment of Ahmedis in Pakistan is simply shameful. In fact, in order to get a Pakistani passport, one has to declare that Ahmedis are non-Muslims (check out for yourself from the Government of Pakistan website and download passport application form from here. Look for item number 25). Ah...bigotry has so many faces. I really really hope, this insane portion of the passport form is dropped by the government soon.
In the article, Hoodbhoy later makes a bold statement regarding veils:
The imposition of the veil makes a difference. My colleagues and I share a common observation that over time most students—particularly veiled females—have largely lapsed into becoming silent note-takers, are increasingly timid, and are less inclined to ask questions or take part in discussions.I'm curious if sociologists and psychologists have looked into the impact of veiling in a conservative society like Pakistan. The last 10 years have seen a sharp increase in voluntary veiling by educated, middle-class women, and there must be a noticeable difference in work and educational environments.
While in the remaining article, he talks about the importance of scientific and intellectual thinking, his most bold assertion (for Muslim countries) is tucked in his concluding paragraph:
Just as important, the practice of religion must be a matter of choice for the individual, not enforced by the state. This leaves secular humanism, based on common sense and the principles of logic and reason, as our only reasonable choice for governance and progress. Being scientists, we understand this easily. The task is to persuade those who do not.Complete freedom of religion and secular humanism for Muslim countries! Amen. Hey...even US can use some secular humanism.