‘It is your life you are de­vel­op­ing’

The Pak Banker - - Editorial5 - Saa­dia Naveed

Ed­u­cat­ing youth of a so­ci­ety is like paving the path lead­ing to dis­il­lu­sion­ment. It sim­ply swabs out er­ro­neous be­liefs in the mind cre­at­ing a clear con­cept about what­ever we learn. In fact ed­u­ca­tion shells out and the sooner we ap­pre­hend it's im­por­tance, the bet­ter will be our fu­ture. Con­trary to what the re­ces­sion and con­se­quen­tial de­pressed job mar­ket would have you be­lieve, get­ting higher ed­u­ca­tion be­comes even more im­por­tant in a tough econ­omy. In to­day's job mar­ket, many em­ploy­ers look for in­di­vid­u­als who have some kind of post­sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion even for low-end cler­i­cal roles.

The higher your ca­reer as­pi­ra­tions, the higher should be your level of ed­u­ca­tion. How­ever an at­tempt is made to un­der­stand the ur­gency of an ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem that goes well with the in­ter­na­tional stan­dards thus fill­ing in the gap cre­ated by the crip­pled ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy of the past regimes. So a forth­right step has been taken by the Pun­jab Govern­ment to in­crease the two-year de­gree pro­gram to a four-year one, both in terms of the use­ful­ness as well as the mea­sures that should be con­sid­ered by the govern­ment to im­ple­ment pol­icy suc­cess­fully lead­ing to a bet­ter and mod­ern sys­tem. A well-ed­u­cated work force is es­sen­tial for eco­nomic growth.

The devel­op­ment (re­form) of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is needed, both to give work­ers more trans­fer­able, mar­ketable skills and to de­velop in­formed cit­i­zens, ca­pa­ble of par­tic­i­pat­ing ac­tively in civil so­ci­ety BSc Hon­ors is an ac­cel­er­ated de­gree pro­gram over four years. This BSc hon­ors path­way stud­ied in 4 years of­fers stu­dents an es­sen­tial ground­ing in the knowl­edge and skills re­quired to op­er­ate at a man­age­rial level within in­dus­try. It of­fers foun­da­tion el­e­ments of a man­age­ment pro­gram while giv­ing a com­pre­hen­sive over­view of the chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment at the work places.

In an un­cer­tain econ­omy, an hon­ors de­gree could be the dif­fer­ence be­tween an in­ter­view and a "thank you for ap­ply­ing" let­ter.

Rec­om­men­da­tions for bring­ing about im­prove­ments in higher ed­u­ca­tion by in­creas­ing the ex­ist­ing two-year de­gree pro­gram to a four-year one, is quite a wel­come step. As a re­sult, Pak­istan finds it­self lag­ging be­hind de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in South Asia such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and In­dia both in terms of lit­er­acy as well as qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion. This pro­gram has been in­tro­duced in 26 se­lected col­leges. It is con­sid­ered as the need of the day if we have to bring our youth at par with the mod­ern era and to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. The present B.A/BSc de­gree has been steadily los­ing its cred­i­bil­ity in the mod­ern world. At present all B.A/BSc stu­dents have to re­peat a 3-4 years in or­der to grad­u­ate at par with the rest of the world.

Ahead of the launch of the four-year BS (Hon­ors) pro­gram, the Pun­jab Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment had no­ti­fied boards of gov­er­nors in all 26 col­leges se­lected for the am­bi­tious plan of im­part­ing qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion to a large stu­dent body.

The 26 se­lected col­leges in 12 dis­tricts have been at­tached to seven uni­ver­si­ties and both par­ties are work­ing to for­mally af­fil­i­ate col­leges' four-year hon­ors pro­gram. Ac­cord­ing to the break­down, six col­leges each have been at­tached with the Pun­jab Uni­ver­sity, the Uni­ver­sity of Gu­jrat and the Ba­haud­din Zakariya Uni­ver­sity, Mul­tan; and two col­leges each with the La­hore Col­lege for Women Uni­ver­sity; the Is­lamia Uni­ver­sity Ba­hawalpur; the Uni­ver­sity of Sar­godha and the Govern­ment Col­lege Uni­ver­sity, Faisal­abad.

The man­age­ment, proper im­ple­men­ta­tion and eval­u­a­tion of the whole sys­tem is be­ing reg­u­lated by the Board of Gov­er­nors. The BoGs will pre­pare rules and reg­u­la­tions for the pro­gramme.

The re­spec­tive col­leges' 16-mem­ber BoGs com­prise nine of­fi­cial mem­bers and seven non-of­fi­cial mem­bers. The pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter will be the chair­man of all 26 se­lected col­leges' BoGs, while the com­mis­sioner of the di­vi­sion concerned will act as BoG vice chair­man in re­spec­tive col­leges in a di­vi­sion. The prin­ci­pal of the col­lege concerned will act as sec­re­tary.

The BoGs non-of­fi­cial mem­bers in­clude ed­u­ca­tion­ists, in­dus­tri­al­ists, phi­lan­thropists, re­tired judges, re­tired army per­son­nel and re­tired bu­reau­crats The stu­dents of cer­tain col­leges with Hon­ors De­gree Pro­gram com­mented that con­sti­tu­tion of boards of gov­er­nors was a good step if they strived to im­prove aca­demic stan­dards while ex­ploit­ing all re­sources ex­cept rais­ing fees as feared by re­spec­tive col­leges' teach­ers.

They, how­ever, ad­mit­ted that the re­spec­tive col­leges and the higher ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment had as­sured that no col­lege would re­vise the fee struc­ture and keep the fee for new mar­ket-driven dis­ci­plines like busi­ness and in­for­ma­tion technology in the same bracket. It is lot of con­fu­sion on the mind of the peo­ple and the con­cern stu­dent that what may be their de­gree will not be equal to mas­ter and more that we will must do ms of one year af­ter this. It is the prob­lem of our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem which is not able to prop­erly an­nounced the rule and reg­u­la­tion of ed­u­ca­tion in Pak­istan. "I think HEC should an­nounce prop­erly. By this the whole con­fu­sion will re­move and also ex­plain that af­ter two years of BS we can take de­gree of Grad­u­a­tion and more that our MS will equal to M.Phil, which we will do in two years." was the state­ment of a stu­dent.

In the be­gin­ning the sys­tems have hiccups but then again the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment has clearly tried to straighten the is­sues by stat­ing that BSc Hon­ors De­gree is not equal to masters' de­gree in­fact the Mas­ter's De­gree can be achieved one year af­ter this. Af­ter two years of this pro­gram de­gree of grad­u­a­tion can be acquired and more that the MS will be equal to M.Phil which can be done in two years.

This pro­gram is more com­pre­hen­sive and will en­able the stu­dents to en­hance skills, thus prov­ing to be more ef­fec­tive in their re­spec­tive fields. It is an in­ter­na­tion­ally stan­dard­ized de­gree pro­gram which fo­cuses on the main­stream of sub­jects, up­dated knowl­edge, pre­sen­ta­tion skills, stu­dent -teacher re­la­tion­ship and much more aware­ness and con­fi­dence. As the first batch hit the job mar­ket it eas­ily re­placed the two year grad­u­ates due to strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion, IT, and an­a­lyt­i­cal skills. There is an emerg­ing class dif­fer­en­tial be­tween de­gree hold­ers of the two ver­sions which might ac­cen­tu­ates in fu­ture, re­sult­ing in so­cial un­rest and ed­u­ca­tional apartheid. Se­mes­ter sys­tem has un­doubt­edly edge over the an­nual sys­tem.

As this is a new launch strong ad­min­is­tra­tion is of key im­por­tance. Gov­er­nance in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor has lately be­come one of the ma­jor con­cerns. Ev­ery sin­gle syl­labus has been up­graded and re-done. The ad­min­is­tra­tion is well han­dled by the com­pe­tent Board of Gov­er­nors.

The Pun­jab Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing In­sti­tu­tion Or­di­nance 1960 em­power the Govern­ment to es­tab­lish a Board of Gov­er­nors for the ef­fi­cient man­age­ment and con­trol of the aca­demics and fi­nan­cial re­sources.

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