Quaid-I-Azam University in Islamabad to establish a Department of Philosophy – OpEd

Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad (Pakistan) is considered the best university in the country due to its level and quality of education. It has highly qualified faculty who are mostly overseas qualified and well known in their respective fields. Moreover, for many years, QAU has been ranked the top university in the country in general university categories due to the research produced by its faculty and students. However, the most important and positive factor of QAU is its social and academic environment, which helps its students to think critically and raise issues related to politics, society, economy, culture and religion. Moreover, QAU is like a vase in which several kinds of flowers are kept. Likewise, QAU is a place where people from all nooks and crannies of the country gather and study together, such as people from the four provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, including the people of Gilgit- Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, come for higher education. They all live and study together in a very peaceful and cooperative environment.

Although there are many social science departments at QAU that teach philosophy-related subjects, such as the Department of History and the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR), even there is an urgent need for more. a separate philosophy department at QAU where all subjects and various programs related to philosophy should be taught. However, the question arises as to why QAU needs a separate philosophy department? According to the American Philosophical Association, the role of philosophy in higher education is the most important. Because “the discipline of philosophy contributes in an indispensable way to the achievement of four objectives which should be fundamental for any institution of higher education: to inculcate in students habits of critical thought; improve their reading, writing and public speaking skills; transmit to them the cultural heritage; stimulating them to ask fundamental questions about reality, knowledge and value”.

Additionally, the philosophy department contributes to goals such as critical thinking or logical reasoning, value sensitivity, and awareness of global issues. It can work productively with other disciplines, such as environmental science, economics, political science, and law, to assess a variety of issues. He can do exceptionally well in public service, continuing education, alumni relations, consultations, and public visibility. It also improves a person’s problem solving abilities. It facilitates the analysis of concepts, definitions, arguments and problems. It promotes our ability to organize ideas and problems, to process issues of value, and to root out what is essential from large amounts of information. It helps us, on the one hand, to differentiate the delicate and subtle differences between points of view and, on the other hand, to find common ground between opposing positions. It also helps in synthesizing various ideas from perspectives into a unified whole.

Moreover, it can play a central role in any well-rounded college or university curriculum. The study of philosophy contributes distinctly and substantially to the development of students’ critical thinking. This enhances their ability to deal rationally with issues of value and ethical responsibility. It broadens their understanding of interdisciplinary issues. It enhances their understanding of the intellectual history and culture of others. This increases their ability to articulate and evaluate their worldviews and improves their writing and speaking skills. It can contribute to rational decision-making in solving public problems on campuses as well as in communities. It helps students develop a unique approach to important topics and serve as consultants on various issues. Moreover, philosophical inquiry can help clarify all areas of human existence. The study of philosophy can help students in all ways, as it can help them both in their academic work and in their general problem solving.

The worthy Vice Chancellor of QAU, Dr. Muhammad Ali, is a renowned academician with a professional background. He obtained his PhD from the University of Wales, UK and his post-doctorate from MU, Columbia, USA. He has won 19 national awards based on the quality of research and teaching, including Pakistan Academy of Sciences Gold Medal, Best University Teacher Award and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz. Therefore, he can better understand the necessity and importance of philosophy program in college. In this regard, Dr. Ali should take serious steps to establish the Department of Philosophy at QAU as it could further improve the standards and quality of teaching at the university.

*The author is a PhD student in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan.