Social scientists: Need of the hour!

"What we need are social scientists and philosophers who can examine institutions like government, economy, families and study how individuals and groups interact with one another and what drives human behavior"

Picture source - Twitter @LIH_Luxembourg

It is an observation that philosophy, social sciences and humanities as subjects are not given the warranted attention and importance. The scope of social sciences amongst the youth of our country has been on a declining trend for a long time. There has, unfortunately, been a complete absence of social scientists in our society. Most of our youth are still unaware that a third academic discipline exists, other than science and commerce, the discipline of humanities or arts. Students pursuing a career in fields of literature, history and philosophy have now become a rarity in our society, a country that was created in line with Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s vision and philosophy of creating a separate state for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent.

It is, therefore, disappointing that subjects such as sociology, psychology, economics and education are in a continuous downfall. In this day and age, what Pakistan needs are not just regular and established professionals but also philosophers and ethicists. My highly intellectual brother who is a product of the prestigious Aitchison College of Lahore made it to LUMS on sheer merit. Bright students like my brother are not encouraged to venture on such subjects professionally and those who are unable to get admissions in fields of science and commerce choose this faculty as a last resort. These students who study these subjects do not excel in them as they have not been oriented to understand importance of these disciplines.

Another reason for this lack of understanding is the low level of job opportunities for these fields which renders many people to abandon the idea of studying any social science. The third reason is the pressure by parents on students who want to study these subjects. Parents are more inclined to send their children to business, engineering or medical schools rather than having their children study arts or humanities. This is a short-sighted thinking as many of us undermine the importance of social thinkers and which is why our society is currently suffering from a fundamental lack of ideology. What came as a surprise to us as a family was my brother’s decision to not pursue the run of a mill degree in computer science or economics but instead a bachelor’s degree in social sciences.

His objective was to help him understand how to interact with the social world, how to influence policy, develop networks, increase government accountability and promote democracy. These are all challenges affecting many people not just in Pakistan but globally, requiring immediate resolution. People in Pakistan do not realize that whilst the market for doctors, paramedics, economists, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, historians and authors has become stagnant but sociologists are in demand in both private and government sectors at research institutes, criminal justice system, law firms, media companies, counselling, social and health welfare organizations. What our country needs are social scientists and philosophers who can examine institutions like the government, economy, families and study how individuals and groups interact with one another and what drives human behavior.

All these things affect the quality of life and, therefore, social science can help us make better decisions. Some examples of social sciences include anthropology, economics and management, history, political science, psychology, sociology etc. The appeal of this subject is broad because many subjects that come under the social sciences umbrella provide fascinating insights into everyday life in our community, families and workplaces. All social science courses help students develop a wide range of transferable skills and contrary to popular belief, open up many career options. It is requested that authorities concerned take under consideration increasing employment opportunities which students of social science encounter.

Alongside, I would urge parents, teachers and educators to explain to their students the importance of these fields and also encourage them to pursue these disciplines. All the students are also advised to develop an interest in such fields as that would not only be beneficial for their own grooming but shall also help bring about a positive change in our society.

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