Higher Education Commission (HEC) has once again advised students not to waste their time and money by enrolling in unauthorized degree programs including the two-year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programs.
HEC’s warning comes after Karachi University (KU) last week announced to restart the two-year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programs in government and private colleges across Sindh. KU also decided to postpone the implementation of the two-year Associate Degree program of the HEC in colleges in the province until June next year.
In an official statement, HEC said that one or two universities have announced to resume admissions to the unauthorized two-year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programs. While these universities will reap financial benefits from the admissions, it will negatively impact the students possessing these degrees as they will become ineligible for jobs or further education in the future.
HEC clarified that the decision to phase out the two-year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programs due to serious concerns over the quality of such programs and replace them with the four-year BS degree was taken way back in 2004. However, universities were allowed to continue both systems in a transition period.
The transition period ended in 2016 and HEC decided to do away with BA/BSc programs on 31 December 2018 and MA/MSc programs on 31 December 2020. It was also decided that the last BA/BSc exam would be held in 2020 while admission to the last batch of MA/MSc would take place before 31 December 2020. HEC reminded all universities about these decisions in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Furthermore, HEC introduced the two-year Associate Degree as an alternative to the BA/BSc degree in 2011. HEC’s Associate Degree is equivalent to 14 years of education and allows the students to get admission in the fifth semester of respective BS programs after meeting the requirements of the admitting university.
However, HEC allowed some flexibility to the universities due to the disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
It granted a three-month grace period to wrap up the final BA/BSc exams before 31 March 2021. To facilitate the students of the last batch of BA/BSc exams, it extended the deadline for taking admission in the last MA/MSc batch from 31 December 2020 to 31 March 2021.
HEC also allowed BA/BSc degree holders to apply for admission in the fifth semester of the BS programs subject to the completion of a bridging semester or any additional course requirements imposed by the admitting university. It also requested the students who missed the deadline for applying to the MA/MSc programs to apply in the fifth semester of the BS programs.
More than 16 years later, HEC finally did away with the two-year BA/BSc and MA/MSc programs under its Undergraduate Education Policy that was enforced in January this year. It also announced not to recognize the degrees of students who enrolled in the BA/BSc programs after 31 December 2018 and in the MA/MSc programs after 31 December 2021.