There is a growing consensus among researchers that high quality tertiary education is more than a next level in the learning process, rather it is the critical component of human development in contemporary world because higher education delivers specialized knowledge and skills necessary along with essential training for teachers, doctors, nurses, civil servants, engineers, academicians, entrepreneurs, scientists, and many other specialized fields. It is these trained individuals that subsequently supply expertise, know-how and skills that drive local economies, support civil society, teach children, lead effective governments, and make important decisions which affect organizations, communities and entire societies.
Higher education has also been shown to be a vital resource for sustainable economic growth. Findings from a recent study conducted in Taiwan suggested that 1 percent rise in higher education stock leads to a 0.3 percent rise in industrial output of the country. A decade earlier to these findings,
another major research also showed that university enrollment rates are correlated with considerable increases in the labor productivity, and the number of engineers and scientists per capita is linked with enhanced economic growth. In this regard, many observers also attribute the
growth and leap of India, China, Brazil and other rising economic powers in recent history stemming essentially from their efforts and successful policies to provide technically-oriented higher education to the large segments of their populations.
Higher education enrollment rates have also been found to be positively correlated with good governance indicators, such as absence of corruption, bureaucratic quality, rule of law, low risk of repudiation of contracts by governments and reduced incidents of appropriation. The potential of higher education to promote and expand indigenous knowledge has also been acknowledged by the researchers. Specifically analyzing the Global South countries, many researchers have cautioned that inadequate attention paid to higher education development can lead to the outgrowth of incompetent intelligentsia incapable of devising effective policies, along with encouraging a general tendency among planners and practitioners to incautiously imitate strategies of advanced, industrialized nations; which may lead to mediocre and unsatisfactory outcomes.
Currently, as the developing world is facing a host of economic, political and social challenges such as the lack of basic services, social unrest, unemployment, corruption, exploitation, rapid population growth and, above all, political instability; it is argued that majority of these challenges have their roots in economic and social backwardness resulting mainly from illiteracy and meager investments in high quality education. Moreover, investments in tertiary education can plays a sort of complementary‘ role along with other national efforts at different educational levels such as, the primary and secondary level education, with a collective aim to boost innovation and performance across different economic sectors.
As stated earlier, education at all levels is a prerequisite for extrication from mere subsistence, poverty, and indignation to a prosperous state in which economy is based on modern knowledge, technology, skills, and technology. However, in the past few decades, the overwhelming focus in the developing world has lopsidedly been on promoting primary
education; leaving secondary and tertiary education in a perilous state in many cases. With a few outstanding exceptions, higher education in much of the developing world remains underfunded by governments and international donors.
Right now higher education systems are under immense strain in the developing world, where quality, capacity, and efficiency of higher education institutions have suffered tremendously; while their reach remains underwhelming and largely restricted to upper classes.
Moreover, in many instances, entire higher education systems are politicized, inefficient, unsatisfactorily regulated, and sometimes marred by widespread corruption. The attention towards primary education is crucial in a country such as Pakistan, which has one of the world‘s highest percentages of out-of-the school children. However, a more proportionate approach to education is required at all levels if we want to avoid unpredictable scenarios with societies ill-prepared to cope with the challenges of the future.