Higher Education Commission, Administration & Coordination (A&C) Division issued a notification regarding Transition from BA / BSc Programs to Associate Degree Programs Phasing Out of MA / MSc Programs.
In place of the two-year BA / BSc programs (which have been terminated vide Notification No. 9-2(16)/Phasing out BA/BSc/Curri/HEC/2016/982 dated March 15, 2017), universities and colleges affiliated with public sector universities may offer Associate Degree programs (AD) for post-higher secondary students, in accordance with the following policies:
- The new nomenclature (Associate Degree or AD) shall be adopted in all documentation and announcements related to two-year post-higher secondary or equivalent programs, and the previous nomenclature of BA/BSc programs shall be discontinued forthwith.
- Students who were enrolled or registered in BA/BSc programs on or before December 31, 2018 are allowed until December 31, 2020 to complete their programs and receive the BA or BSc degrees, as applicable. Those who fail to complete their courses of studies by the cutoff date shall be awarded an Associate Degree upon completion of such requirements as determined by the degree awarding university.
- For the avoidance of doubt, students admitted to two-year post-higher secondary or equivalent programs of studies after December 31, 2018 shall have been and shall continue to be admitted to Associate Degree programs, as had been notified by the HEC in its prior notification dated March 15, 2017, regarding the phasing out of BA/BSc programs (Notification No. 9-2(16)/Phasing out BA/BSc/Curri/HEC/2016/982).
- The overall goal of the Assaciate Degree program is to provide degree holders with a broad-based education as well as marketable skills. Therefore, the Associate Degree program includes a "general education requirement as well as a "marketable skills" requirement. Detailed rules and guidelines, including specific requirements pertaining to the "general education" and "marketable skills" components, are being developed by the HEC and will be notified from time to time.
- The general education requirement is aimed at ensuring that every holder of an Associate Degree has the basic skills and knowledge relevant to effective participation in the economic, social, cultural, and political life of the country. This will include a scheme of studies that may cover languages (Urdu, English, plus an optional regional language), mathematics, general science, history (including Pakistan Studies), Islamiyat (or religious studies for non-Muslim students), ethics, economics, and general science.
- The marketable skills requirement is aimed at ensuring that every holder of an Associate Degree has the ability to obtain a paying job or start a business in an area of economic importance. Such skills may include computer literacy, office management related skills, accounting or business-related skills, or others. The objective is to provide these skills through a combination of (limited) in-class instruction and practical training in allied institutions.
- In order to facilitate the transition, universities and colleges offering AD programs will be allowed to move gradually from their current program offerings to the fulfillment of the new requirements. In the first year of the transition, the scheme of studies currently being offered in BA/BSc programs may be adapted, with minimum changes, for the AD program; provided that those institutions that have taken significant steps towards transitioning to the AD program shall continue to build on such developments in accordance with policies and guidelines notified by the HEC from time to time.
- It is advised that universities that award Associate Degrees designate an officer who shall coordinate the transition to the new scheme of studies. The officer shall ensure that significant steps are being taken towards the degree-awarding university's responsibility of providing Associate Degree holders with both a broad-based education as well as marketable skills. The officer shall liaise with the HEC with respect to the transition and the implementation of HEC policies and guidelines on the Associate Degree program.
Universities and colleges shall continue to follow the policy issued by the HEC with respect to the phasing out of conventional MA/MSc programs (vide Notification No. 9. 2(16y/Phasing out BA/BSc/Curri/HEC/2016/982 dated March 15, 2017) and there shall be no admissions in such programs after December 31, 2020.
The notification supersedes all notifications and letters previously issued by the HEC pertaining to the above policies. The policies provided in this notification shall be implemented with immediate effect, and shall continue to be implemented until they are replaced, modified or rescinded by the HEC.
This notification is issued with the approval of the Competent Authority.