Two Limitations for Imagination

Two limitations for imagination are funding resource and the government’s support for research. In this post I want to criticize the current policy in developing countries in the Middle East, then I want to introduce a recent established national institution in Iran. I think this institution may be an appropriate way to support students to improve their imaginations and skills.

Developing countries like many countries in the Middle East are sending their students to European and American countries to study in graduates programs. They support their students completely. They believe that these students will come back and improve the higher education in their countries. But, I believe that these type of activities cannot be enough and they should consider other aspects of higher education systems as well. One of the most important advantages of higher education systems in Europe and America is funding resources for projects. Most developing countries forget this important part of the higher education system. I believe that if the researchers cannot find good resources for their ideas and projects, they are not able to fulfill them. Therefore, higher education systems may not be beneficial for the society without any applied funded projects.

National Elite Foundation (NEF)

NEF was established in 2005 [3]. This institution has some specific rules to identify elite students and faculties. The qualified individuals are supported by NEF completely. NEF supports them by providing stipends as a fellowship. I could not find fellowships in Iran like in the US, but if one person can be a member of NEF, he/she receives awards for all his/her academic education. There are three levels of NEF members. The first level is a great opportunity for Iranian students. Because, NEF supports them completely and provides several facilities for them such as: housing, stipends, funding for their research, loans, and jobs after graduation. NEF also supports the first level to create their own business. Therefore, a lot of students try to be a member of this institution. The manager of this institution is the vice president of the Iranian government. So, he/she has significant authority to create new laws for supporting the NEF’s members.

As a past member of NEF, I should mention that NEF’s laws were variable in the first five years (2005-2010). But, after 10 years, they created stable laws to identify the elite students. For example, the students those were top ten in national entrance exams can be members of NEF.

In conclusion, though there are some progress related to funding resources in Iran, more efforts are required to support scientific projects regularly.

This entry was posted in Contemporary Pedagogy – Spring 2016. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Two Limitations for Imagination

  1. Homero says:

    Thanks for sharing!

    I think most developing countries need initiatives like this. Connecting back to this week’s discussions, how can we use this resources to develop more creative pedagogical strategies that help us engage our students in the classroom? It seems like NEF provide support and pay for students’ stipends, however, does it covers implementation of technology in the classroom for example?

    I think there are a lot of resources that can promote so many changes in the higher education system (like implementing technology in the classrooms), however sometimes the institutions won’t allow the use of “imagination.” NSF for example seems to be more open to provide funding to maintain the traditional system, rather than to invest money providing alternative “out of the box” strategies. I think this institutions should provide funding to creative projects rather than to traditional ones, however there is a cost to it and it’s the need to accept failure and to promote a culture of taking risks. Countries where uncertainty avoidance is low, you can find more people creating innovative solutions (it’s part of their culture).

    What if NEF provide opportunities for students that are not in the top ten national entrance exams, but that can present a very creative project that can solve a problem in the country? I believe we will be surprised with the outcome.


    • mokhles says:

      Thanks Homero for your comment.

      I remember that NEF supported a wide range of students including the students who had patents. For example, I was a member of NEF, because my M.Sc. thesis had been selected in a national competition and they supported my project and gave some resources to me to prepare my idea for commercial purposes. They do not define the projects but they support the innovative projects.

  2. Jyotsana says:

    Thank you for sharing! Belonging to a developing country myself I can completely understand how support for education is absolutely necessary for people who really value learning and want to continue that journey. I think when people/governments/administrators get stuck in “functional fixedness” then imagination has no room to grow even if it exists and even if learners are open and willing to try. Do you see any solutions to this?!

    • mokhles says:

      I know that each government try to guide the way of knowledge to its desire track because it prefers to support the selected projects and define some priority for its funded projects. So, I agree with you that this is a limitation for imagination.

  3. Sheryl says:

    Great discussion! I completely agree that funding is certainly a limitation to being able to apply your creativity and imagination to research/inventions, etc. Also, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the opportunity in these blogs to learn so much about the education system in other countries. I have learned so much from these blogs and thank you for putting this information out there!

    • mokhles says:

      Thanks Sheryl for your comment.

      I love to learn other cultures and education systems. Please share with us if you have any experience related to this.


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