ISLAMABAD: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has advised the students not to waste their time and money by enrolling in unauthorized degree programs such as two-year BA/BSc or MA/MSc which have been phased out due to the quality concerns.
According to an official of HEC, one or two universities have announced admission to unauthorized BA/BSC and MA/MSC programmes which would earn money for the university but would not in the interest of the students. These discarded degrees would not enable students to apply for jobs or further education.
The decision to phase out BA/BSC and MA/MSC programmes and replace 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.
In 2011, the Associate Degree (AD) was announced as an alternative to the BA/BSC degree. AD is equivalent to 14 years schooling and entitles graduates to get admission in the 15th semester of respective BS programmes after fulfilling the admitting university’s requirement.
In 2016, the transition period was concluded and a final decision made to stop admissions in BA/BSC programmes on December 31, 2018 and in MA/MSc programme on December 31, 2020.
The official source revealed that 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 would take place before December 31, 2020. These decisions were confirmed in 2017, and again in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
However, due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus, universities were given a grace period of three months to conclude the final BA/BSc exams before March 31, 2021.
Similarly, the deadline for admission to the final cohort of the MA/MSC programmes was extended to March 31, 2021 so that the final cohort of BA/BSc students could apply for admission.
In addition, holders of BA/BSc degrees were 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 has missed the deadline to get admission to the MA/MSc programmes can apply instead for admission to the third year (semester) of the BS programme, which is a far superior option.
Fresh students can be admitted either directly into the 4-year BS programme, or in the 2-year Associate Degree Programmes, offered through recognized 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. HEC cannot recognize degrees of students who enrolled in conventional BA/BSc programmes after December 31, 2018 and in MA/MSC after March 31, 2021, the source added.