When Scholars Sweat!

The journey to gaining a Ph.D. is a long and hard one. The academic and supervisory environment needs to be greatly improved to produce scholars of substance.

By Sana Mohsin Babbar | April 2021


From the Stone Age to the modern era, a progressive approach in education has always created a pivotal role for building a prosperous and literate nation. Among all SAARCcountries, after Afghanistan, Pakistan rates the second lowest in terms of literacy – a rate of 58 percent. Pakistan has always been a resilient state towards attaining the 4th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Despite the fact that Pakistan is producing quality research work and studies, diverse problems have been identified in the way of efficient and accountable scholars and researchers.

Completing a doctoral degree in Pakistan has been become a herculean task over the decades. The minimum period of completing a Ph.D. degree in any discipline is 3 years, while 7 years is the maximum. However, it’s a basic ritual in Pakistan to not complete one’s doctorate in the minimum span if the aspirant is checking all the boxes. For saving time and energy, a great number of students opt for international universities. The Ph.D. degree itself is a matter of consistency and hard work; it is always measured in terms of duration. If a research scholar works day and night and the university is aiding him/her in funding for the right time of publication, 3 years is quite a considerable time to climb the ladder of success. Being a scholar I believe, a doctoral degree needs time and priority and it can be done. There are various factors which make it difficult and jeopardize its path towards completion within 3 years. What needs to be considered is lack of research knowledge, lack of funds for publication, negligence of supervisors, non-availability of resource material, unequipped laboratories and delays in assessments and viva voce. These factors have been noted not only in Pakistan but globally.

irshad-ahmedDuring the anxious period of a doctoral degree, other peer pressures are also seen in a lighter note. Firstly, the mental health of a Ph.D. candidate is always passed over. This should be the first and foremost priority of the concerned institution because a Ph.D. aspirant works direly with the mind. According to the 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), 32 percent of Ph.D. students are at high risk of having psychiatric issues, especially depression. As a remedial solution, lots of institutions around the world now are working on the mental health of scholars. Unfortunately, Pakistan is not focusing on producing intellectual and fertile minds and is rather working on raising the quantum of Ph.Ds.

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The writer is currently working at Nepra as Research Associate. She is pursuing her PhD in Engineering from the Asia Pacific University of Innovation and Technology, Kuala Lumpur. She can be reached at

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2 thoughts on “When Scholars Sweat!

  • April 6, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    Nice article Sana Mohsin. Superb.

  • April 6, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    Excellent write-up. It reflects the dilemma of creating a cadre of capable PhDs and inconducive environment of universities. Sana Mohsin has highlighted some very critical issues and some very workable solutions.