Punjab colleges & four-year BS degree
Punjab struggles to sell four-year BS degree
Lahore, Nov 10: The number of bachelors' students in the 'top 26' Punjab
colleges has dropped almost by half in the wake of the Shahbaz Sharif
government's flagship initiative: the launching of four-year BS
The Punjab higher education department
says some 12,400 students have got admission in the new programme
offering 25 disciplines -- against last year's enrolment of over 23,500.
The programme was launched on Oct 15. These top 26 colleges in
12 districts have ceased to offer the old two-year degree programme.
These were considered to be more resourceful of the 440 government
colleges in the province.
The students who have enrolled in the
new programme are uncertain as they await qualified teachers to turn up
in full strength, and for infrastructural facilities to take shape.Many
in the select group of colleges lack even the information technology
(IT) labs which are an important component of the programme. An IT
teacher from one of the selected institutions in Gujranwala says his
college has not even been provided a course outline.
teacher says the higher education department had promised that there
would be no increase in the fee but each student had been asked to pay a
monthly charge of Rs350 at computer centres being managed privately in
the colleges. Since IT is part of each of the 25 disciplines offered in
the four-year programme, it would mean that, without something which the
department would consider as an increase, each student would be
required to pay Rs2,100 in a six-month semester.
Ali Murtaza, a
student of BS (Honours) at the Government College, Gujranwala, says
only 18 of the 38 students who qualified for admission to the English
programme there had enrolled.
This wariness on the part of the
students is substantiated by a letter Punjab University Affiliation
Committee's Chairman Dr Hafiz Iqbal wrote to the education department.
It reads: "The syllabi for some of the disciplines offered in four-year
BS (Honours) programme still need to be developed."
Cheema, who was the driving force behind the initiative as the higher
education secretary, has since been transferred. The administrative
secretary, Haseeb Athar, is a fresh arrival and is busy taking briefings
from officials. Additional Secretary Yawar Husain who
admitted that the number of students had fallen because the affiliating
universities had allowed only 50 seats in each of the 25 disciplines.
"We got approved 100 seats for two sections in certain disciplines," he
He confirmed that some 400 faculty seats were vacant in
the selected colleges. These include faculty seats that have become
redundant as well as some which were not related to the BS (Honours)
disciplines on offer.
The higher education department is unable
to recruit qualified faculty because the boards of governors,
constituted to exercise administrative and financial autonomy, have been
unable to meet even once. Initially, the department could not finalise
the BoGs' rules and regulations and in the meantime then Lahore High
Court's Multan bench granted a stay against the boards. The case is
As the classes have begun, the bloc allocation of
Rs500 million -- Rs250 million each for faculty and setting up of IT and
science labs and other infrastructure -- is lying unspent in the
absence of the BoGs. This grant was in addition to the regular budget of
Rs2.12 billion for the 26 colleges.
It is an alarming situation especially because the colleges are required to hold mid-term exams in the third week of December.
College teachers and students under the banner of the Joint Action
Committee, Punjab, led by Punjab Professors and Lecturers' Association
chief Dr Zahid Ahmed Sheikh have been protesting against the
constitution of BoGs.
The protesters demand constitution of
college or academic councils comprising senior academics and
educationists instead of BoGs that will, they fear, eventually lead
towards privatisation of education.
Dr Sheikh says the BS
(Honours) programme is destined to fail because the higher education
department has introduced it in haste. The existing faculty, which has
no experience of teaching BS (Honours) classes, he claims, has neither
been imparted training nor given orientation about the semester
programme and the courses approved by the Higher Education Commission.
He cites the example of five colleges, including two girls' colleges,
in Lahore, where some 10,800 students got admission to two-year degree
programme last year. This year, the colleges were allotted 5,700 seats
and admitted only around 4,150 students. He says even some of the
enrolled students have since withdrawn, realising that the four-year
programme might not be fruitful for them.
secretary blames teachers' protests for creating doubts in the minds of
the students about a programme which was set to bring about a revolution
and train the students to take on the challenges of the modern world.
Mr Husain seeks to justify the rather selective gathering of students in
the 26 colleges on the basis of figures from the previous year.
He says some 22,000 students got admission to the two-year graduation
programme and 1,500 in the two-year postgraduate programme in these
colleges last year. But then only 10,000 students appeared for their
BA/BSc programmes and only 3,500 of them got the degree.
new four-year programme, Mr Husain predicts, the higher education
department will ensure that at least 8,000 out of 12,400 students
admitted would get the BS (Honours) degrees. "It is these 8,000 BS
(Honours) degree holders who will help bring about a revolution in the
society," he declares.
The additional secretary says the
department has finalised the rules and regulations for the BoGs for
approval by the chief minister. For the moment, college principals have
been asked to utilise income from their evening programmes to upgrade
their centres and they have recruited 'college teaching interns' at a
monthly salary of Rs10,000 to bridge the faculty gap.
Post your comments
'Illegal fees': LHC summons BISE head
Lahore: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif on
Monday took a suo motu notice of collection of different fees by the
Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE), Lahore, from
students in violation of government's direction.
The chief justice directed the BISE chairman to appear along with the necessary record before court on Nov 10.
The notice was taken on an appeal published in a national Urdu daily by
principal of the Allama Iqbal Public High School, Kasur.
appellant pointed out that the Punjab government had abolished the
registration and examination fees of all students who were enrolled in
public institutions, and the decision had already been implemented.
He complained the BISE, in order to collect revenue, had started
collecting a sum of Rs450 from each student under the so-called head of
result card fee, including the private ones from whom the board had
already received registration, examination and card fees.
Justice Sharif observed the matter of concern was that when the Punjab
government had abolished these fees, how the board being a statutory
authority could act in violation of its (government's) directions.
"In the circumstances, I would like to know the real facts of the case
so in exercise of powers under article 199(1) (c) of constitution, I
direct the chairman of the BISE to appear in court," CJ said in his suo
motu order and also directed the advocate general to assist the court in
the matter. Dawn
Post your comments
Lahore: The 10th Quality Assurance
Test of the Foundation Assisted Schools partnered with the Punjab
Education Foundation (PEF) has been completed in 834 schools located in
10 different districts. In a DGPR handout, a PEF spokesman say the QAT
has so far been held in Okara, Pakpattan, Vehari, Lahore, Bahawalnagar,
Bahawalpur, Lodhran, DG Khan, Rajanpur and RY Khan districts, adding
that the test would be held in 193 partner schools in Muzaffargarh
district on Wednesday (today).
Post your comments
Rs20m damages suit: Notices issued to IUB VC, others
Lahore: A senior civil judge of Bahawalpur on Monday issued
notices to the Islamia University Bahawalpur vice-chancellor and other
officials on a Rs20 million damages suit filed by the former
vice-chancellor of the varsity.
Plaintiff Dr Bilal A Khan has
accused the incumbent vice-chancellor and others of launching a
vilification campaign against him and dragging him into baseless
inquiries after his retirement.
vice-chancellor Dr Mukhtar Bhara, the plaintiff also enlisted assistant
professor Dr Javed Chandio, lecturer Riaz Sindhar, deputy registrar
Imtiaz Ahmad Sukhera, Dr Aslam Adeeb, presently working as registrar,
dean faculty of arts Dr Najeebuddin Jamal, additional secretary
(academics) of Higher Education Department Akram Chaudhry and MPA from
Bahawalnagar Shaukat Basra as defendants.
contended that he remained the vice-chancellor of the university for
five years from 2005 to 2010 and was awarded a number of titles and
medals by various renowned non-governmental organisations.
said that all defendants, in connivance with certain influential
political figures, succeeded in initiating baseless inquiries against
him. He said that inquiries were aimed at disgracing him and to injure
his dignity and credibility among his fellow beings.
He said that defendants got published fake stories in newspapers against him only to tarnish his image in society.
The plaintiff stated that the additional secretary of the higher
education department had played his role as a senior bureaucrat to
maneuver and manipulate the official quarters concerned to humiliate
He prayed to the court that an amount of Rs20 million be recovered from the defendants as damages for their acts.
The senior civil judge also directed the defendants to file their replies fortnightly. Dawn
Post your comments