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Karachi University four-year BS programme problems

KU's four-year BS programme creates academic crisis
Karachi, Sept 05: The University of Karachi faces a serious academic crisis that is bound to affect thousands of students' future either enrolled or have completed their four-year education under the BS (Bachelor of Studies) programme last year, it has been learnt.

Sources said most of the over 4,000 BS students who passed last year and were now waiting for their degrees would end up having second division while students already announced as position holders under the BS system were likely to lose their status once their marks would be converted into the old honours and MSc/MA system.

Currently, around 25,000 students are enrolled under the BS programme at the university.

Students were allowed to opt for conversion of their marks into the old system of education after many students failed to get the required marks to get their degrees under the BS system.

Students argued that when they started seeking jobs, prospective employers were not considering the BS degree holders for jobs and demanded a master's degree holder.

Resultantly, a series of protests were held that forced the university administration to do a 'somersault' and allow conversion of marks into the old system as well as restore the old honours and masters' programme from 2012.

"The student failure is directly linked to the large number of high-level compulsory courses introduced under the BS system by the KU administration with teachers' support," a senior KU teacher remarked.

"These courses, most of them were irrelevant to the subject in which students planned to do their major proved to be a great burden on students who lost focus."

The university, he said, adopted the BS system reportedly under the Higher Education Commission's pressure without doing adequate homework that caused a great deal of problems to students and will definitely further undermine the credibility of

the KU degree.

"Many students would face a dilemma. Though they would get their degrees under the old system as its passing percentage is much lower as compared to the BS system, a masters' degree with second division would obviously limit their prospects of seeking advanced studies and employment," he said, adding that the issues in conversion could only be solved through

amendment to relevant rules.

The BS system was introduced by the HEC a few years ago to make students compatible with those studying in the American system of education.

The KU is, probably, the only public sector university in the country that has abolished the old British system as many universities offer both the BS and the honours programme.

Ad-hoc decisions

Although the KU has abolished the old educational system in the morning shift of the university, it continues with the same in the evening shift along the BS system. The reasons are monetary; the HEC's pressure to stop funding led to the abandoning of the old system while attracting candidates for a self-financed master's programme in the evening.

The students' argument that employers were not considering the BS degree holders for employment hold logical grounds because the HEC neither created public awareness that the BS degree was equivalent to the master's degree as students were told in the beginning of the programme, nor any official notification was issued in this regard.

In fact, newspaper advertisements showed that the HEC itself called for candidates with a master's degree.Senior teachers are of the opinion that the university's academic council's decision over a month ago to restore the BSc, the BA, the BCom (honours) and the two-year MA, the MSc and the MCom programmes and continuing with the BS programme from next year is another example of the ad hoc and unplanned nature of the decision-making process currently prevailing on the campus.

They argued that the BS and the old honours and masters programmes were two entirely different systems of evaluating students' potential and the conversion option with the restoration of the old system and the continuation of the BS system would only further compound the academic confusion at the university.

"A student gets a bachelor's degree after 16 years of education in the BS system [while they were entitled to a master's degree in the old system for the same number of years] or, if the student is a graduate from a college, he would end up with receiving double bachelors' degrees," a teacher explained.

Besides, the students studied a number of additional courses in the BS system, which were not required in the old system.

"The marks of these courses have to be excluded for conversion which would affect the academic status of students, including those of position holders," he said.

The huge difference in their evaluation mechanism, he said, could be gauged from the fact that a student with an overall 60 percentage was considered in the first division in the old system of marking while a candidate having less than 62 percentage didn't even qualify to receive his or her degree in the BS system.

The currently enrolled students, he said, as well as teachers had no clue as to how they would proceed because the university hadn't yet given them a clear guideline, though more than a month had passed since the academic council took the relevant decision.

"We are making a fun of ourselves by taking ad-hoc decisions. How can anyone justify giving a masters degree to a student enrolled in an undergraduate programme?" a teacher said.

KU Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi said that a committee had been set up to sort out the conversion issues and till the time the body presented its recommendations, it was too early to comment on it.

"I don't know under what pressures the university decided to adopt the BS system since I was not part of the administration at that time. But, what I do know is that the university had been running the old programmes very successfully for decades and it was an unwise step on part of the HEC to ask universities to discontinue the programme."

The old programmes, she said, had been restored after the university officials realised that it wasn't contributing to raising the students' educational standard. Dawn

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KU announces BEd supplementary result
Karachi: University of Karachi (KU)'s Examination Department on Tuesday announced the result of BEd (Morning) Supplementary Examination 2010. As per the statistics, some 236 students were registered of which 221 appeared while 162 were declared pass. Thirty-two students passed in grade A, 115 in B and 15 in grade C. The results of three candidates were withheld and the pass percentage of the result remained 74.21 percent.

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KU to hold international conference on Faiz
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU)'s Pakistan Study Centre is going to hold a three-day international conference in collaboration with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and Jinnah Medical and Dental College (JMDC), Karachi to commemorate the birth centenary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The conference would be held from Sept 6 to 8. The sessions of the conference will be held in KU, JMDC and Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi. KU's Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui will preside over the inaugural session of the conference at KU Arts Auditorium at 10:00am on Tuesday (tomorrow). Daily times

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Chinese to be taught in govt schools from 2013
Karachi: The Chinese language will become a part of the school curriculum in Sindh from 2013, and students will learn the language from Class VI as part of their syllabus.

This decision was taken by a meeting chaired by the chief minister on Sunday.

The meeting also decided that Cadet College Petaro would offer the Chinese language as a compulsory subject from Class VI, and the Bureau of Curriculum would soon give its approval in this regard.

Meanwhile, the relevant departments and offices have been directed to prepare rules and regulations on an emergency basis so that education department could induct the language as a course into the syllabus, according to a handout issued from the CM House.

China is a close friend and neighbour of Pakistan. Students who adopted the language course during their schooling would get scholarships, foreign training and overseas study tours and other benefits, a spokesperson for the chief minister said.

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah called the meeting at the CM House, and Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, Secretary to the President of Pakistan, Salman Farooqui, Secretary Education Sindh Mohammad Siddique Memon and others attended, he added.

They discussed in detail the introduction of other international languages as well.

It was observed that China was Pakistan's time-tested-friend and neighbour with whom bilateral trade relations were growing with every passing day, which necessitated promotion of the Chinese language in the country. The news

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Admission in SU to begin
Hyderabad: Admission to all disciplines of bachelors, masters as well as MS and M.Phil degree programs for academic session of 2012 in the University of Sindh would begin from Monday, according to a handout issued by director of admissions on Saturday.

It said the admission forms for bachelors, masters and four-year BS degree program in all disciplines would be issued on Sept 5.

The forms can also be downloaded from the university's website www.usindh.edu.pk.

Admission forms for MS and MPhil would be issued on Sept 12 and an open house would be held on Sept 20-24 at the Institute of Sindhology for the guidance of candidates seeking admission. Last date for submission of forms would be Sept 26, said the handout. Dawn

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