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I WANT to draw the attention of academicians, policymakers and the Higher Education Commission towards a genuine obstacle in higher education. In order to raise the number of PhDs, the HEC had reshaped the MPhil and PhD programmes, imposing some conditions, including aptitude tests and course work.

Some public sector universities and all universities of the private sector had adopted this programme. But some public sector universities have refused to implement it. The University of Karachi, which is one of the largest public sector universities of the country, is one of them.

In this regard, the University of Karachi statuary bodies and teacher community opposed such decisions, arguing that university is incapable to run such programmes due to inappropriate infrastructure, insufficient funds and shortage of PhD faculty.

But administration had started it on ad hoc basis. After one year of getting the experience, the University of Karachi syndicate took some decisions about the programme including aptitude test to be conducted by the university itself, formation of departmental research committees (DRC). Now it has been decided to exempt the university teachers from entrance test.

My concern is about the entrance test which can never be a benchmark for examining the research capability and analytical approach of a student. Before this MS/PhD programme, universities were producing PhDs but the criteria were different as candidates were allowed to submit research proposal to supervisor. The research synopsis was much better measure to judge the research abilities of someone rather than relying on memory based aptitude test.

Another fundamental flaw in this test is that it is divided into two portions; 80 per cent is subject-based and remaining 20 per cent is for judging English proficiency.

A student will be considered failed in test if he does not pass the English test, although if he gets 100 per cent marks in the subject portion. Is there any justification for this academic injustice with a student who wants to pursue his research in any discipline of social science and is legally allowed to right his dissertation in Urdu or in any other medium?

All universities should restore the old system of MPhil and PhD, including some courses. Higher education is going to devolve and the formation of provincial HECs is under process. Now it is the responsibility of academia to take a stance against such impositions of provincial HECs.


Comments (7) Closed

Smith May 26, 2012 05:06am
GRE and GMAT must be basic enterance requirements for Mphil in Pakistan as soon as possible.Mphil must be converted into Phd depending upon significant research contribuition.
riffat May 26, 2012 07:32am
ya but we cannot ignore the fact about the english language to excell in all fields
aftabkazi May 26, 2012 07:37am
Pakistani students, without research practice at Bachelors, and Master's degree levels appear to have difficulty writing scientific research methodology t the postpostgrauae level. HEC required course work in certain areas is either not taught properly or has not been designed carefully and efficiently. HEC must revise the existing course work, particularly in social scences, and also add new requirements , suh as advnced mathematics in entance tests. This is ncssary for producing the bst Mhil/PhD graduates, capable enough to practicate world wide. I understand that i Pakistan, PhDs are being lrgly produced in European educational pattern. Advantages of the American system, where every PhD graduate is trained at least in four fields (one as specialization, other three supporting fields of choice) are higher than European System where a PhD dissertation means specialization in one field. traditional PhD sstem in Pakista is marred with the politics of graduation, henc need not be re-adapted.Thanking you for your attention.
kanwal May 26, 2012 04:51pm
I would disagree with Mr Chaudhry. Admission tests are not the main judgment criterion of course, but they certainly filter out less than capable candidates. You can wrtie a research proposal with the help of professors whose favorite you can be. Tests truly filter this danger out, with very few exceptions may be.
Ali Muhammad May 26, 2012 06:51pm
So you want to get into a PhD program without any entrance exam and knowledge of English. Have you identified any Urdu books on research methodology? Does your computer have Urdu version of MS Windows? Can you do word processing in Urdu? You do not want to do any course work either. You want to publish your dissertation in Urdu. And I assume you would also like to write your research papers in Urdu. Have you identified any research journals published in Urdu? You need to re-think your approach.
Mali813 May 26, 2012 11:24pm
This came as news to me that there can be an entry test for PhD program. The skills, attitude and aptitude required to do PhD is not measurable. Rather it is the persistance and hard work that matters. You can be average person/student but if you have a zeal and rigor to do PhD, sure you can horn your analytical and academic skills.
Khalid Butt May 27, 2012 02:25am
I would suggest adding test for faculty as well not only the students. I am PhD Engineer by profession. We have to take Professional Engineering exam test in Canada to be a licensed in the profession same implies in USA and Europe. Students that pass international standard exames are rarely subject to seeking help from professors. Sorry, i disagree with you kanwal... Phd Khalid Butt