Naveed Abbas Maitlo
It is an evident fact that development at any phase is inherently linked with science and technology. Therefore, these two are proportional to each other. In a nutshell, science is the study of knowledge which is made into a system for enhancing analysis and understanding facts. Technology is the application of this scientific knowledge. On the other hand, education is needed for changing the destiny of any nation. It is as necessary as nutrition for a body. However, quite a few Muslim countries are lagging behind in scientific technology and education.
Nelson Mandela is known to have said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. This shows the huge significance of education.
Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, in her book, “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West” wrote, “Islam’s first generations produced knowledge and wealth that empowered Muslims to rule much of the world. But now almost half the world’s Muslims are illiterate. More books are translated annually from other languages into Spanish than have been translated into Arabic over the past one hundred years. The 15 million citizens of tiny Greece buy more books annually than do all Arabs put together.” She further wrote, “It is notable that fifty seven member countries of OIC have approximately 500 universities, compared to 5,000 universities in the United States and 8,000 universities in India. In a compilation of the academic ranking of world universities conducted in 2004 by Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University, not a single university from the Muslim world was included in the top 500 universities on the earth. In addition, the Muslim world spends 0.2 percent of its GDP on research and development, while the Western nations spend more than 5 percent on their GDPs.”
It is an irony of fate that Dubai spent money to construct the world’s tallest building. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has decided to build the world’s largest shopping mall. Neither of these two countries tried to establish the world’s largest university or a research center as per Islamic traditions. When Mughals were busy in constructing magnificent buildings like the Taj Mahal, the Europeans was erecting Cambridge and Oxford Universities. The leaders of oil rich Muslim countries should spend more money in uplifting the state of education in Muslim countries.
Moreover, science and technology, in general, has been neglected in this cut-throat competitive world.
The International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) is one of the leading platforms intending to be a pioneer in academic research and scientific teaching.
It is recognized as a world leader in the training of scholars, and research in frontier fields of science and technology.
Few months ago, a meeting was conducted by the ICCBS platform in Karachi. Over 600 eminent scientists and young researchers, including 100 foreign experts, attended this international symposium. Some of the more prominent attendees included Dr. Sahar Mustafa (Egypt), Dr. Eldar A Garaev (Azerbaijan), Dr. Kamala Kamal (Azerbaijan), Dr. Mannan (Lebanon), Dr. Nohad A Al Omari (Iraq), Dr. Rami Mamdouh Arfeen (Palestine), Dr. Rahim Jantan (Malaysia) and ICCBS Director himself, Prof Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary.
Prof Iqbal Choudhary stated that there was an inadequate allocation of funds for research and development in Muslim nations. Pointing out some causes of this dilemma, he said that a lack of political will, internal political stability and failure to unite as one Ummah were some of the major causes that have made the Muslims lag behind. In addition to that, Dr. Rami Mamdouh Arfeen said that Universities in Palestine were just “teaching oriented” i.e concerned with rote learning only. He added that a lack of funding and an unprofessional faculty were the major problems that Palestinian science and tech sector was faced with. Dr. Rahim Jantan went as far ahead as to say that the world of science was completely dominated by the West.
It is high time that Muslim nations wake up from their deep slumber and pay heed to such an important field for the sake of prosperity. The Muslim world should invest in education, science and technology rather than in spurious things like hotels and buildings. This is because we cannot survive for long without commendable progress in science, technology and the education sector.