ISLAMABAD: In a bid to bring higher education at a par with internationally-accepted and recognised models, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Friday announced that the old two-year BA/BSc degrees (equivalent to 14 years of education) and MA/MSc degrees will no longer be offered by Pakistani universities after Academic Year 2018 and 2020, respectively.
The students of Pakistan faced problems worldwide because of the two-year BA and MA degree programmes, as these were not recognised internationally due to which HEC in 2016 decided to abolish the two-year BA/BSc degrees and MA/MSc degrees.
“In accordance with a decision taken by HEC in 2016, the old two-year BA/BSc degrees (equivalent to 14 years of education) and MA/MSc degrees will no longer be offered by Pakistani universities after Academic Year 2018 and 2020, respectively,” the statement reads.
However, holders of BA/BSc degrees will be allowed to take admission in the third year (fifth semester) of BS (four-year degree) programme after successful completion of 15-18 credit hours of bridging courses as prescribed by HEC and the admitting University.
In place of the two-year BA/BSc, universities will now be able to offer an Associate Degree through recognized campuses or constituent colleges in market driven subjects, after necessary approval from HEC, for students with 12 years of schooling. Detailed guidelines for this programme are available on HEC website.
Students holding Associate Degrees will also be able to re-enter the education system by getting admission in the fifth semester of a BS programme after fulfilling additional entry requirements.
Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has said that Pakistan was passing through difficult economic times and there were obviously financial constraints, so they needed to look at the innovative solutions. Addressing the 17th Convocation of Government College University (GCU) here Saturday. The minister negated media reports that there were going to be 50% cut in the federal higher education budget. He clarified that Rs 65 billion were allocated to the Higher Education Commission last year, but for next year they had demanded Rs. 103 billion. ‘Allocating any amount in between would in no way mean any cut in the budget,’ he said.The minister revealed that they were moving towards a system where those who could afford must pay fully for the higher education while deserving students were granted scholarships. He said the universities should devise a mechanism to evaluate and review the curriculum advancement on yearly basis.He said that it was a challenge to upgrade the curriculum regularly, being taught in universities, as per international standards, adding that focus should be on revision of curriculum to meet requirements of job market.The minister said that faculty development was another important factor in provision of quality education, for which the government was striving through Higher Education Commission (HEC). Workshops for faculty development were being organized, he added. Shafqat Mahmood said that higher education and research should have relevance to the market as per international standards for making the youth of the country employable.He said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was taking effective measures to put the country on the way to progress and prosperity; however, it could take some time, adding that there was a need to find out innovative solutions to steer the country out of crises. The minister rejected the propaganda that higher education’s budget had been cut by half and said that allocation for higher education commission was Rs 65 billion during the fiscal year.He said that deserving students would be given full scholarships but those who could afford to pay expenses of higher education must pay for it. The universities should be independent in making decisions regarding academic affairs, he added. The minister appreciated the efforts of GCU management to take the university forward and said that the GCU had huge potential to become number one university of not only the country but also the region.At the convocation, the Government College University Lahore has conferred the doctorate of philosophy (PhD) degree upon a visually impaired person, Muhammad Arif Mughal, in Urdu Literature, while Pakistan Navy psychologist Commander Fayyaz Ahmed Anjum also received his PhD degree in Psychology.The Minister along with Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah awarded the degrees and rolls of honours to PhD and MPhil scholars. Besides medals and rolls and honour, a total of 1,828 degrees would be awarded this year at university’s two-day convocation which includes 23 PhD, 354 MS/MPhil, 290 MA/MSc degrees and 1161 BA/BSc degrees.
According to the KU’s spokesperson, Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan complained pain in his chest last night and was shifted to a private hospital where he breathed his last. His body will soon be moved from the hospital to his residence.
He was reportedly awarded Pride of Performance in 2001 and Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2007 in recognition of his contribution in field of Science.
He also managed to be recognized as a Distinguished National Professor in 2005 by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, famed Pakistani singer and social activist Shehzad Roy also shared condolences in a tweet on Vice Chancellor of Karachi University Ajmal Khan’s sudden death, he stated:
“It’s a sad day. Karachi Uni’s VC Ajmal Sahab has passed away from a heart attack . I interacted with him a lot in these last few days . Really, really sad . He was really trying to bring reforms in the Uni. Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un “.
Dr Khan spent 40 years of his life in teaching and research. He received his BSc (Hons) degree in Botany in 1973 and did MSc in Plant Physiology in 1974 from University of Karachi.
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