Monday, March 8, 2021

Do not get enrolled in two-year BA and MA programs, HEC alerts students

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The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) on Sunday issued an alert for students desirous of seeking admission in two-year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes, stating that they should avoid enrolling in “unauthorised schemes.”

According to an official notification issued by the Commission in this regard, students have been advised, “not to waste their time and money by enrolling in unauthorised degree programmes, such as the two-year BA/BSc or MA/MSc programmes.”

According to the HEC, these programmes have been “phased out because of quality concerns.”

“One or two universities have announced admission to unauthorised BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes. While this will earn money for the university, it will not be in the interest of the students. These discarded degrees will not enable students to apply for jobs or further education,” the notification stated.

The HEC further said that the decision to phase out the BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes and replacing them with a single, composite, four-year BS degree was taken in 2004. However, universities were allowed to continue both systems in a transition period, the statement added.

Read more: How to upgrade higher education in Pakistan?

“In 2011, the Associate Degree (AD) was announced as an alternative to the BA/BSc degree. AD is equivalent to 14 years of schooling and entitles graduates to get admission in the 5th semester of the respective BS programmes after fulfilling the admitting university’s requirements.

In 2016, the transition period was concluded, and a final decision was made to stop admissions in BA/BSc programmes on December 31, 2018, and in MA/MSc programmes on December 31, 2020.

“It was also decided that the last BA/BSc exam would be held in 2020 and that the admission to the last batch of MA/MSc students would take place before December 31, 2020. These decisions were confirmed in 2017, and again in 2018, 2019, and 2020,” the statement read.

The HEC added that because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus lockdown, some flexibility was granted.

“Universities have been given a grace period of three months to conclude the final BA/BSc exams. Any exams concluded before March 31, 2021, shall be considered to be 2020 exams,” the statement said.

Read more: Rethinking the education paradigm – Saad Rasool

Similarly, the deadline for admission to the final cohort of the MA/MSc programmes is also extended to March 31, 2021, so that the final cohort of BA/BSc students can apply for admission.

The Commission added that fresh students can be admitted either directly into the four-year BS programme, or in the two-year Associate Degree Programmes, offered through recognised campuses, constituent and affiliated colleges in place of the old BA/BSc programmes.

In case of admission in illegal and phased-out programmes, the students will end up bearing all risks and costs or any associated loss incurred.

“The HEC cannot recognise degrees of students who are enrolled in conventional BA/BSc programmes after December 31, 2018. Likewise, the last date for admission in conventional MA/MSc programmes is March 31, 2021,” the statement said.

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