The Higher Education Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has planned to introduce the four-year Bachelor of Studies (BS) programme in all government colleges and universities of the province by doing away with the existing two-year degree programme.
However, the plan will be executed in phases only after it is okayed by the Higher Education Commission.
Currently, the two degree programmes run parallel in the province with most government educational institutions offering the conventional BA/BSc course.
The BS programme was introduced by the last Awami National Party-led government around three years ago.
The four-year BS degree is equivalent to MA/MSc degree.
Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Higher Education Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani told Dawn that the provincial HED wanted to phase out the conventional degree system by replacing it with the BS programme.
“It is our desire to get rid of the decades-old conventional higher education system,” he said.
Mr Mushtaq also said the HED had proposed to the HEC to redesign the four-year BS programme to introduce the two-year associate degree programme in the province.
He said once the proposed programme was in place, then the students wanting to discontinue studies for one reason or the other could secure the associate degree after successfully completing two years of the BS course.
The special assistant said the students opting for the associate degree could resume the BS programme anytime afterwards.
Currently, the students enrolled in the BS programme have to study for four years to get degrees and in case, they leave the course in the middle, they’re not entitled to the degrees.
“After the introduction of the associate degree programme, the students will have the option to quit the four years course after passing examinations of fourth semesters and resume the course in the fifth semester whenever they have the time,” Mr Mushtaq said.
The special assistant said the HED was in contact with the HEC for the redesigning of the BS programme to introduce the associate degree course. He said he was hopeful that the proposal would sit well with the HEC.
Meanwhile, officials in the HED said it was necessary to abolish the conventional BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes for the introduction of the BS programme throughout the province.
They claimed that after receiving their department’s proposal, the HEC had prepared a comprehensive plan of how to do away with the conventional degree programme in the country for introducing the BS programme.
The officials said the plan had been shared with the relevant departments of all provinces for feedback.
Educationists have favoured the replacement of the BA/BSc programme with the BS programme, saying many students, especially the poor ones, couldn’t afford to study for four years at a stretch and therefore, they had to go for conventional degree programme.
They said the conventional degree programme didn’t meet the international standards, too.