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ASSOCIATE DEGREE TO BE LAUNCHED BY THE END OF 2020

M Sharif Rana

Lahore (July 20, 2019): About replacement of two year BA/BSc degree with Associate Degree, HEC seems unable to satisfy the vice chancellors of universities and seeks one year time to sort out related issues.

While addressing a special consultative session on the launch of Associate Degree with the Vice Chancellors and Rectors, held at HEC Secretariat on Friday, Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) stated that the objective of replacement of two years degree with Associate Degree and subsequent alignment with the four-year BS program, is to ensure that students pass out after acquiring a broad-based education and have practical skills to compete in the field, and contribute for socio-economic development in the country. A number of university heads also joined the session through video conferencing. 

According to the new nomenclature, Associate Degree, shall be adopted in all documents the previous nomenclature of BA/BSc programmes shall be discontinued. The decision to phase out two year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes was made in the wake of 17 years of consultation, said Dr. Tariq Banuri.

In light of this decision, he said, the students admitted in 2018 will get degrees in 2020 and their degrees will be considered valid, while the admissions after 2018 will be awarded the Associate Degree.

Vice Chancellors expressed a number of concerns regarding implementation of the decision, especially with regard to private students, distance education, capacity building of college teachers, curriculum, bridging courses and infrastructure.

Dr. Banuri assured the Vice Chancellors that all the details would be worked out over the next 12 months in consultation with Vice Chancellors as well as other higher education departments, technical boards, and faculty members.

The Chairman, however allowed the universities to gradually move from the current programme offerings to fulfillment of new requirements. “By the end of 2020, we must be in a position to make the transition smoothly. HEC will be in close coordination with universities to identify and overcome all possible challenges for this transition.” he added.

The Chairman said that currently distance education programmes have been endorsed for only two universities. However, other universities have submitted proposals to restart distance education. He said HEC will work with the universities in order to build capacity of faculty and equipping them to meet requirements of the new system. “Funds are being mobilized to provide faculty with practical training opportunities.”

On the occasion, Dr. Zulfiqar Gillani, Curriculum Expert in HEC said that “The two-year curriculum will be very closely aligned to four-year curriculum structure,” he assured. No change is being made in enrolment process, as students will be enrolled for Associate Degree programme.’’

Chairman HEC speaking to Rectors and Vice Chancellors

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