PESHAWAR: The Higher Education Department (HED), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has planned to disaffiliate colleges from the public sector universities across the province so that the universities could focus on their primary job of research work, according to sources.
With the disaffiliation of all the government and private colleges from the universities the right to award degrees and conduct examinations – currently enjoyed by the universities – would be given to selected postgraduate colleges.
The sources said that HED would give degree awarding status to the postgraduate colleges of the province each on divisional level, the sources said. Rest of the colleges, currently affiliated with different universities, would be affiliated with the postgraduate colleges after award of the honour to conduct examinations and award degree to the students.
After getting the degree awarding status, the postgraduate colleges would conduct examinations up to Bachelor of Studies, the 16 years degree programme of the affiliated colleges. The universities would only conduct the examinations of MPhil and PhD and would be asked to focus on research work, they said. The sources said that the universities in other countries had been doing research work in the respective disciplines round the year. However, the universities in Pakistan, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have little time to do research and introduce market-oriented courses. They said that unfortunately the universities had been awarding only degrees while the degrees holders with no experience of research work could not deliver in the field.
Higher education department wants varsities to focus on research work
The HED has planned to give degree awarding status to seven postgraduate degree colleges. These degree colleges will then give affiliation to different colleges after their disaffiliation from the universities.
These degree awarding colleges would include Government College, Peshawar; Government Post Graduate College (GPGC) Mardan; GPGC Abbottabad No 1; GPGC Kohat; GPGC Dera Ismail Khan; and GPGC Jahanzeb, Mingora besides others.
The sources said that HED had already prepared a proposed law in this regard, which would be tabled in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly after completion of necessary procedures in the department.
Under the proposed law, academic autonomy would be given to the colleges though they would remain financially dependent on the government, the sources said, adding that universities were autonomous both academically and financially.
Like universities, examinations system would be developed at the level of each degree awarding college. The colleges in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas would also be affiliated to the nearest postgraduate colleges entitled to award degrees, they said.
Currently, said an educationist, the trend of research was on decline in the public sector universities. He said that the universities were making all-out efforts to give affiliation to as many colleges as they could to earn money in the shape of examinations and other fees being charged from the students.
The less interest in research work by teachers of the universities has set the alarm bills ringing in HED as it has affected the ranking of the respective universities, he said.
He said that in the meetings of the vice-chancellors with the high-ups of the provincial government and Higher Education Commission, stress was being laid on research work in the universities.
However, a senior official in the directorate of higher education told Dawn that the execution of plan for giving degree awarding status to colleges would take time as it was under pressure from some circles to avoid the plan.
He said that the universities were also not happy with the proposed disaffiliation of colleges, which showed their lack of interest in research work.
Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2014