HEC, Vice Chancellors discuss implementation of associate degree

Staff Reporter

The objective of phasing out two-year BA/ BSc degree programme, replacing it with Associate Degree and subsequent alignment with the four-year BS programme, is to ensure that students pass out after acquiring a broad-based education and have practical skills to compete in the field, and contribute for socio-economic development in the country.
Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) expressed these views while addressing a special consultative session on the launch of Associate Degree with the Vice Chancellors and Rectors, held at HEC Secretariat on Friday.
A number of university heads joined the session through video conferencing. Dr. Banuri said that a well thought-out and carefully examined notification has been issued on July 11, 2019, in the wake of 17 years of consultation, to phase out two year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes.
The new nomenclature, Associate Degree, shall be adopted in all documents and announcements related to two-year post-higher secondary or equivalent programmes and the previous nomenclature of BA/BSc programmes shall be discontinued.
The Chairman said that quality has long been a burning issue and HEC has expedited its efforts to ensure quality at all levels of higher education. “We need to ask ourselves as to what are the competencies required in our degree holders and how these competencies can be developed.”
In light of this decision, he said, the students admitted in 2018 will get degrees in 2020 and their degrees will be considered valid, while the admissions after 2018 will be awarded the Associate Degree.
The Chairman made it clear that the Universities are allowed to gradually move from the current programme offerings to fulfillment of new requirements. He explained that the Universities and affiliated colleges may make step-by-step progress towards the goal. “By the end of 2020, we must be in a position to make the transition smoothly.
HEC will be in close coordination with universities to identify and overcome all possible challenges for this transition.”
The Vice Chancellors expressed a number of concerns with regard to implementation of the decision, especially with regard to private students, distance education, capacity building of college teachers, curriculum, bridging courses and infrastructure.