LAHORE: Students passing O and A levels will now be required to seek equivalence certificates issued by the Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC) for securing admission in any university across the country, The Express Tribune reliably learnt on Sunday.
According to a letter sent by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to all public and private universities, all students completing O levels in a foreign country and A levels in Pakistan would now require an equivalence certificate from IBCC.
The letter stated that the decision was taken by the National Quality Assurance Committee (NQAC) during its 22nd meeting.
The letter also laid out the required criteria for A and O level students who had already obtained their certification. It said: “The controller of examination and vice-chancellors of the universities from which persons mentioned graduated prior to December 31, 2016 (the cut-off date), shall provide an undertaking/affidavit with degree supplement form that in order to fulfil the admission requirements they implemented their own policies/procedures to determine the equivalence of O&A levels and equivalent foreign qualifications, instead of getting the IBCC equivalence certificates … However, in future, they shall require the IBCC equivalent certificates for the O&A levels and equivalent foreign qualifications to fulfil the admission requirements.”
The HEC also provided exemptions for some degree programmes.
The letter said: “For degrees of programmes covered by the professional/accreditation councils, the HEC may exempt the requirement of equivalence certificates for such graduates and attest their degree without imposing the condition of registration by the professional/accreditation councils.”
Outlining conditions for currently enrolled students, it stated: “(Such) students in the universities with O&A level and equivalent qualification who have not studied Urdu, Pakistan Studies and Islamiyat should take and clear the deficient courses from their own university, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) or any recognised national Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.”
The letter warned that no student would be granted admission without studying Urdu, Pakistan Studies and Islamiyat.
“In future, no admission be granted by the universities to students who studied O level/ equivalent education from abroad and A level from Pakistan but not studied the subjects of Urdu, Pakistan Studies and Islamiyat.”
A special clause was also added for agriculture students.
“HEC may attest Bachelors and higher level degrees of graduates having F.Sc. (pre-agriculture) who got admission in Bachelors programmes till December 31, 2016 provided all other requirements are met.”
The HEC spokesperson responded through an email that the HEC had not suggested any change in the IBCC policy and it was already giving equivalence certificates for such students who met certain criteria.
“Students who have graduated before December 31, 2016 (the cut-off date), the condition of getting the IBCC equivalence certificate for degree attestation purpose has been relaxed. But after the cut-off date, the universities/ DAIs are advised to ask for IBCC equivalence certificates for O& A level and other equivalent degrees at the time of admission,” the email added.
According to the spokesperson, “The decision regarding students who have already completed their degrees before December 31, 2016 aims at facilitating those students to get their degrees attested by HEC, if all other requirements are met, because at the time of their admission the Universities/ DAIs did not require them to provide the IBCC equivalence certificate.”