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Title: The role of universities in transforming a developing economy into a knowledge-based economy : the case of Pakistan
Author: Bano, Shah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 5784
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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The thesis examines the functions of universities in transforming a developing economy into a Knowledge Based Economy (KBE). Universities play a vital role in strengthening the KBE by providing the resource, ‘knowledge’. This study explores the challenges encountered by academic leadership in Pakistan, while striving to achieve a KBE. Although, the Higher Education Commission (HEC), has introduced a large number of reforms in universities of Pakistan since 2003 but these reforms are only a beginning of a process of engagement of universities in socioeconomic development. The newly established Commission was charged with the task to align higher education with the needs of the country, provide greater access to quality higher education, and develop the skills of faculty. Other steps towards reformation of the higher education sector of Pakistan included the introduction of quality assurance systems in universities, investment in their physical as well as knowledge infrastructure and developing a ranking system for universities in order to create a competitive environment among them. These measures taken by the HEC were fundamental for the development of a globally recognised higher education system. The current emphasis on the promotion of entrepreneurship is now leading to the establishment of technology parks and technology transfer offices on campuses so that universities can contribute directly to the process of socioeconomic development. The thesis elaborates the conditions, which facilitate or hamper the functions of universities in Pakistan. University–industry linkages in the United States (Silicon Valley) and United Kingdom (Oxford and Cambridge) have inspired many developing countries. In order to follow the same trends, universities in Pakistan are adopting the entrepreneurial role too. However, there is a gap in the literature regarding how the roles and functions of universities in developing economies differ from those of universities in a KBE. Therefore, the researcher aims to fill this gap in the literature by investigating the perceptions of academic leaders in Pakistan. This research employs a qualitative design and grounded theory research strategy. The sample size consists of fifty semi structured interviews with various stakeholders of higher education such as the leaders of the higher education regulatory body (Higher Education Commission), five high ranking universities of Pakistan and the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) in Pakistan. Data are analysed inductively, resulting in a new substantive theory, the Model of Symbiosis. The study reveals, there are external and internal factors which facilitate the formation of a KBE. The external factor which include, good governance, political stability, an effective policy framework and strengthening of the institutions (government, judicial institutions, educational and financial institutions) while internal factors include the development of physical infrastructure of universities and knowledge creation as well as dissemination activities taking place in universities. These factors help in the creation of positive mind-set towards ‘knowledge’. Moreover, a KBE is based on surplus knowledge and innovation capability of a country. The production and use of surplus knowledge require collaboration among different institutional actors. The State, the National Eco-system of Education and the corporate sector, have to work in a symbiotic relationship so that synergy for a welfare society is generated. This welfare society will thrive economically and also it will become a part of the global international community. The researcher advocates that universities can put the economy on a stable condition if they are ‘tasked’ and deployed on a mission to solve issues of the society such as enhancing agricultural productivity, resolving the issue of electricity shortage, provision of clean drinking water, infrastructure development, and the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to create employment opportunities. Hence, universities in developing countries can act as agents of change provided that their basic infrastructure (both knowledge infrastructure and physical infrastructure) is developed and it supports those universities in their roles. Secondly, along with the basic infrastructure, a regulatory framework and intellectual property regimes should also be in place to strengthen the economy in developing countries.
Supervisor: Karatas-Ozkan, Mine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HB Economic Theory ; HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform ; LB2300 Higher Education