Author Topic: Private students fear Only regular candidates eligible for BS degree  (Read 165 times)

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Private students fear Only regular candidates eligible for BS degree
LAHORE:22 January:The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan’s new policy to discontinue the two-year bachelor’s and master’s programmes has created uncertainty for the private students who are not allowed to get admission for the four-year BS degrees.

A large number of people who appeared in the exams as private candidates, including those intending to continue studies along with jobs in various fields, will be affected by the decision to abolish the BA, BSc, MA and MSc degree programmes. The commission has advised the students and parents to avoid admission in the public or private colleges or institutions claiming to offer two-year bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes.

Alternatively, only the four-year BS degree has been introduced that will be considered acceptable in the future. The scheme has been adopted for meeting the international standards of education but it will be available only for regular students.

However, the decision will cause more problems for the private candidates than the regular candidates.

The policy has been introduced in government as well as private institutions registered and approved by the Punjab government, HEC and the higher education department.

It is estimated that in about 30 government universities in Punjab, about 300,000 private candidates used to get admission in bachelor’s programmes annually. Most of them are either above the permitted age limit for the admission to the regular programme or unable to pursue fulltime studies because of academic level.

Similarly, about 200,000 private candidates appeared in the two-year master’s examinations.

The total number of regular and private students pursuing two-year BA and BSc degrees was estimated at about 600,000 an MA and MSc 800,000.

Now, most of the private students have been deprived of the opportunity to pursue higher education by the HEC.

In addition to those in above the age limit set for the admissions and those not having time available for regular studies, the decision will also severely affect women. A large number of women benefitted from the private examination system because of not being able to travel to the educational institutions daily. A large number of women resumed their education as private candidates after marriage.

A resident of the provincial capital, Shamsa Batool, said while speaking to The Express Tribune that the HEC should not abolish the two-year degree programmes. Rather, the opportunities for private candidates should be increased, which would benefit the women and professional, she added. This would increase the employment opportunities for them and contribute to promotion of education, she said.

A student said the available resources and conditions in the country were not suitable for four-year programmes at a large scale under the semester system.

When contacted, Punjab University Registrar Prof. Khalid Khan said that all the universities had to implement the decision of the HEC, although the abolition of the two-year programmes could cause financial loss to the institutions.

The HEC Pakistan, however, has moved ahead with implementing the decision to introduce the four-year BS Honours programme from this year as the sole approved undergraduate degree.

The action has also been criticised by parents and teachers.

Samia Ikram said it was tantamount to depriving a large number of talented people of the right to higher education.

Under the HEC’s decision, only those candidates who are enrolled in government or approved institutions will now be eligible for the four-year BS programme. They will have to maintain an attendance of at least 80% and complete the credit hours. There will also be an age limit for the admissions.Published in The Express Tribune,
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