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The semester system

March 29, 2013

THIS refers to the letter ‘Education reform: semester system no answer’ (March 23) by Ashique Ali Joyo. There is no discrepancy in the semester system. As compared to the traditional annual system, it is doing well in all respects.

The problem is in the syllabus/courses’ content and the way of imparting these courses. These also include the quality of teachers, the method of the teaching, the resources available to the teachers and students, and the overall approach towards education in our society.

There are serious problems in the courses designed by the Higher Education Commission, especially at the BS level. The courses are not according to the demands of the programme concerned. In one semester in most of the universities, we have observed, students have to take up to six courses at a time. In such a situation, students are unable even to concentrate on a single course.

Serious attention is required by the HEC towards the course contents in any field of study. They have to make the courses comprehensive and also lessen the number of courses by amalgamating various courses into one. There is a possibility of the concept. In most of the universities abroad, especially in Europe, students study one or maximum two courses at a time for a period of one, two or three months in a single semester and then they are offered another course or courses in the same semester.

Instead of offering too many courses, they can take too many study hours in a single or maximum two courses. In such a situation, students will be able to concentrate on a single subject.

The idea is quite applicable to Pakistan by making the number of courses in one semester to maximum four, and offering the two courses every two or three months. The study hours will remain the same per week. The idea will also be interesting to students as it will give them maximum time for a single course.

In such a situation, not only the HEC but also the universities will have to bring about dramatic and dynamic changes in their course of work.

In order to improve the quality of education, it is not only the semester or annual system that makes a difference but it is the method with which the system is maintained.

ADIL ZAMAN PhD scholar, Shandong University Jinan, China

Rote learning THIS is apropos of the letter ‘Education reform: semester system no answer’ (March23). The crux of my letter (March 2) was to support Khurram J. Khan’s letter (Feb 23) in which he had emphasised that the ‘concept of rote learning is the only saviour’ is no solution.

Rote learning can be skipped by switching over to the semester system. I had also urged the need for adopting a modern western syllabus which has been designed for the semester system. If we succeed in adopting latest techniques/methodologies, we can give boost to our economy.

Research and development cannot move forward if our educational system is weak and redundant. Research and development is solely based on reformed educational system as is being practised by Western countries. I hope that this has cleared my point of view.