The Higher Education Commission is gearing up to play a more proactive role in improving the quality of business education in Pakistan, starting with empowering the National Business Education Accreditation Council to manage the accreditation and standardisation process for both undergraduate and graduate business schools.
At a meeting with NBEAC Chairman Hasan Sohaib Murad, HEC Chairman Javaid Leghari reviewed the progress made by the newly created accreditation body and laid out the HEC’s priorities for business education in the country.
Among the key concerns of the HEC was the vast range of colleges and universities that offer business education, each with their own entrance criteria and curriculum.
The HEC wants a four-year college degree (or its equivalent) to be a mandatory minimum requirement for entrance into MBA programmes, for instance. The MBA itself would be standardised to a two-year programme, with up to a 15 credit hour (one semester) exemption for students with an undergraduate business degree. If the HEC is able to implement its new policies, students with a two-year college degree would be offered admission into remedial programmes in order to bring them up to the same level as their four-year college counterparts.
It was not immediately clear whether the undergraduate business degree would be standardised as well. Currently, students have a choice between a three-year Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) degree and a four-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. The HEC, does, however, want a clear transition from undergraduate to masters to doctorate-level programs in business.
The HEC also wants to improve the curriculum offered at business schools by offering more training programmes for business professors.
The education regulator also wants to standardise the use of the case-study method in business schools and has approved the creation of the National Resource Centre for Case Studies to increase the number of Pakistan-specific case studies to be made available to business schools.
Another area of focus for the HEC’s efforts is to try and improve the linkages between business schools and industry, to help improve the recruitment of students for internships as well as post-graduation employment.
This is one area where there is a great disparity between business schools: while some institutions such as the Lahore University of Management Sciences and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) have highly developed internship programmes, many other universities have none whatsoever, leading to poor job placement rates post-graduation.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2011.