ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to abolish two-year bachelors and masters programmes after the academic years 2018 and 2020 respectively.

Through an official letter, the HEC informed all degree awarding institution in the country on Friday that there will be no admissions in the conventional BA and BSc degrees after the year 2018 and in MA and MSc after 2020. The letter says universities are using the abbreviations BS and BSc (Hons) for degrees awarded after 14 years of education and that Ms, MPhil and MSc (Hons) is being used for degrees awarded after 18 years of education, which is creating confusion for employers, both national and international.

The letter says the HEC had constituted a committee of experts from various universities to work on the possibility of phasing out BA and BSc programmes, to devise a mechanism for accommodating students who had already had BA and BSc degrees into a four year BS program and that the committee had analysed BA and BSc programmes in various universities.

“The committee proposed a bridging semester as foundation to cover the academic deficiency of students who would be entering in to the 5th semester of the BS programme,” the letter reads.

It says all degree awarding institutions are advised to comply with the commissions’ endorsement of the committee’s recommendations.

Asked if the step will create hurdles for students as obtaining a four year bachelors degree may not be possible for everyone, HEC spokesperson Ayesha Ikram said the step had been taken for improving education standards.

Another HEC official said the letter was sent just to remind universities of the decision and that the deadline for this may be extended for a year or more.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2017

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