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HEC issues warning against unauthorised 2-year Bachelor’s, Master’s programmes

Logo of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC). Photo: File

ISLAMABAD:   The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) on Sunday announced that students should avoid seeking admission in two-year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes because they have not been authorised by the Commission. 

According to an official notification issued by the Commission in this regard, students have been advised, “not to waste their time and money by enrolling in unauthorised degree programmes, such as the two-year BA/BSc or MA/MSc programmes.”

According to the HEC, these programmes have been “phased out because of quality concerns.”

“One or two universities have announced admission to unauthorised BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes. While this will earn money for the university, it will not be in the interest of the students. These discarded degrees will not enable students to apply for jobs or further education,” the notification stated.

The HEC further said that the decision to phase out the BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes and replacing them with a single, composite, four-year BS degree was taken in 2004. However, universities were allowed to continue both systems in a transition period, the statement added.

“In 2011, the Associate Degree (AD) was announced as an alternative to the BA/BSc degree. AD is equivalent to 14 years of schooling and entitles graduates to get admission in the 5th semester of the respective BS programmes after fulfilling the admitting university’s requirements.

In 2016, the transition period was concluded, and a final decision was made to stop admissions in BA/BSc programmes on December 31, 2018, and in MA/MSc programmes on December 31, 2020.

“It was also decided that the last BA/BSc exam would be held in 2020 and that the admission to the last batch of MA/MSc students would take place before December 31, 2020. These decisions were confirmed in 2017, and again in 2018, 2019, and 2020,” the statement read.

The HEC added that because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus lockdown, some flexibility was granted.

“Universities have been given a grace period of three months to conclude the final BA/BSc exams. Any exams concluded before March 31, 2021, shall be considered to be 2020 exams,” the statement said.

Similarly, the deadline for admission to the final cohort of the MA/MSc programmes is also extended to March 31, 2021, so that the final cohort of BA/BSc students can apply for admission.

“In addition, holders of BA/BSc degrees are allowed to apply for admission in the third year or 5th semester of the BS programme, subject to the completion of a bridging semester or any additional course requirements that the university may impose.”

“Any student who misses the deadline to get admission to the MA/MSc programmes can apply instead for admission to the third year (i.e., 5th semester) of the BS programme, which is a far superior option.”

The Commission added that fresh students can be admitted either directly into the four-year BS programme, or in the two-year Associate Degree Programmes, offered through recognised campuses, constituent and affiliated colleges in place of the old BA/BSc programmes.

In case of admission in illegal and phased-out programmes, the students will end up bearing all risks and costs or any associated loss incurred.

“The HEC cannot recognise degrees of students who are enrolled in conventional BA/BSc programmes after December 31, 2018. Likewise, the last date for admission in conventional MA/MSc programmes is March 31, 2021,” the statement said.

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