THIS refers to the letter ‘Myopia defines our education strategy’ (April 3). The abrupt manner of change at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) seems to have dirty politics and machinations working in the background.

A narrative was developed at lower tiers that the HEC was subverting the government agenda and supporting the opposition as the person concerned had been appointed by the former government. That narrative obviously got traction at the highest level and the outcome was the notification terminating the gentleman’s tenure.

The decision is not about the fate of one individual, but has larger implications for society in general and the education sector in particular.

The revamping of undergraduate education is one paradigm-changing initiative that illustrates the vision of HEC in recent times. The revamping initiative had started through an inclusive process of countrywide consultations with academics and other stakeholders. The outcome was the Undergraduate Education Policy 2020 (UEP) document, which is practically implementable.

The UEP has the potential to change the landscape of undergraduate education. Its highlights include competence-based learning, flexibility, broad-based education, disciplinary knowledge, and practical learning.

As in most parts of the world, the undergraduate degree under the UEP can serve as a terminal degree after which most graduates will be work-ready without needing further education. The implementation of UEP was already under way when the change at the HEC was announced. The timing of the action could not have been worse because it might jeopardise, if not derail, the policy.

Karamat Ali

Karachi

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2021

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