LAHORE: Association of Private Sector Universities Pakistan (APSUP) has written a letter to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to review the new HEC policies including Undergraduates Education Policy 2020 and policy on PhD programs 2021.
APSUP Chairman Prof. Dr. Ch. Abdul Rehman on behalf of APSUP wrote a letter and stated that the APSUP and Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences (IUCPSS) organized regional consultations (190 participants from 89 universities) through a series of regional sessions in Lahore, Bahawalpur, Karachi, Sukkur, Peshawar and Quetta to discuss and prepare recommendations/suggestions for the submission to the HEC Islamabad.
These sessions were attended by senior academicians including ViceChancellors/Rectors, Pro Vice-Chancellors/Pro-Rectors, Deans, Directors, and Professors from both the public and private HEIs.
The participants appreciated the efforts BY HECs to reform the BS 4- years and Ph.D. degree programs. However, they made several positive recommendations to improve and to smooth out the areas with a view to facilitate the implementation by all the HEIs.
The association chairman urged the HEC Chairman for a meeting to discuss the way forward as APSUP is willing to closely work with HEC to promote quality education in Pakistan.
The letter reads, “This (PhD) policy seems to discourage and throw out MS/MPhil/Equivalent programs completely ignoring the fact that they serve as a backbone to the education system. The programs act as a buffer for the degree holders providing them an opportunity to pursue Doctoral studies at any suitable time later in their lives.”
The association reminded that even the existing HEC policy requires MS/MPhil/Equivalent degree to be eligible for the post of Lecturer.
“In future, without MS/MPhil degree holders, which looks like the intent of this policy, the BS students will either be taught by BS or PhDs; neither is a realistic option,” the letter reads.
Commenting on the duration of PhD as per the new policy document, the association said, “New policy mentions the degree completion timeline for a minimum of 3 years and up to 8 years without considering the qualification of the candidate at the time of joining PhD. If a student has joined a PhD program after BS, it will be a miracle that s/he completes 48 credit hours course work, research work and thesis write-up in 03-year time. Actually, this timeline was previously set for MS/MPhil degree holders and is repeated as such here.”
However, surprisingly, APSUP maintained that, “The policy focuses more on increasing the numbers of PhDs in Pakistan than improving doctoral studies’ quality and standards; this scenario will cause more job market disruptions.”
The APSUP urged the HEC that there is a dire need of holding detailed deliberation sessions at the national level among all the key stakeholders.