Universities across Pakistan have gone on strike today over a funding dispute with the nation’s finance minister. English-language papers report that 72 public institutions have decided to strike because the government has failed to come through with promised pay increases for faculty.
The situation underscores the precarious situation facing Pakistani scientists and academics. As we write in this week’s issue, the university system saw enormous growth during the reign of general Pervez Musharraf. Between 2002 and 2008 funding increased by more than %500, resulting in hundreds of new institutes and thousands of published papers (as well as allegations of corruption).
Funding began to slide after Musharraf left office, but it now looks set for a nosedive. The devastating floods that have ravaged the country have left the government short of cash, and everything, including universities, will be severely cut back.
In an editorial in this week’s issue Nature argues that the government and development agencies should maintain their commitment to university funding, despite the crisis.
Credit: A. Imran/Wikipedia