The Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) is set to phase out two-year degree programmes by 2018 and replace them with four-year bachelor of science (BS) programmes, in tandem with the National Education Policy, 2009. The move to increase the number of BS programmes is promising for Pakistan’s future, as it will produce more students who have been scientifically trained in using logic and reasoning skills — an area that many people, including those in positions of power, lack in today.
There are several advantageous outcomes of the elimination of two-year degree programmes. The most prominent is, perhaps, that graduates will be in stronger academic standing after receiving four years of instruction at university. There is also the development of establishing more mathematics and physics degree programmes at girls’ colleges. Taking into account the dearth of women in mathematics, science and engineering fields globally, this is a progressive step indeed. Furthermore, we will have a greater variety of fields with the inclusion of concentrations such as applied psychology and computer science.
The move to standardise four-year degree programmes in Islamabad’s universities should be extended across the provinces as we need uniformity in educational policies. This becomes pertinent if graduates of a two-year programme in Sindh, for example, wish to move to Punjab. They might face difficulty in securing jobs, competing against candidates who have completed four-year degree programmes. Hence, with the implementation of four-year degree programmes, we must also consider job market prospects. The government needs to work to improve employment rates or we may eventually find overqualified candidates in job positions requiring lower qualifications. Another point of consideration is that the implementation of four-year programmes might discourage some students from attending university due to the cost of the length of programmes. In this regard, scholarships must be offered to qualifying candidates, especially those from less-privileged backgrounds, to encourage students to attend university and make university education accessible to all.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2014.
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