Educationists and experts have differing views regarding the full implementation of the four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) programme introduced in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa colleges and universities. While some believe the BS system stunts creativity among students, others think it lays the foundation for meeting international standards.
Talking to The Express Tribune Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar Assistant Professor Dr Khadija Aziz said, “The bachelor’s degree is only suitable for departments and institutions where teachers are lazy and fail to fulfill their duty.”
She said this system places the burden of education solely on teachers, compelling them to work. It is a system in which heads of departments can delegate responsibilities to their subordinates.
Aziz pointed out students were encouraged to rote learn and pass their semester exams with much more ease compared to the previous annual system. “Unlike the annual system where students study for the entire year and take their exams, the semester system caters to those who prefer studying for a shorter amount of time and taking exams, giving presentations and having a limited syllabus,” she said.
Aziz added it had become increasingly difficult to differentiate between those who achieve and those who under-perform. “Biased teachers allocate points to their favourite students and it is not easy to keep a check and balance in this system,” she said.
“Students entering this four-year programme after intermediate examinations often cannot adjust to the system completely and struggle a great deal,” said Aziz. She added since the students are used to taking annual exams, the semester system was a completely new challenge.
Another educationist Shafeeq Gigyani commented on the lack of trained teachers in the new system. “The government has introduced the semester system without training instructors who are used to teach in annual system,” he said. Shafiq added if the government really wanted to bring changes in the education system, it should make amendments in Secondary School Certificate Examinations and intermediate level exams that would better prepare the students for the BS system.
In addition, under the previous system, parents paid Rs10,000-15,000 per year but under the new system, they have to pay around Rs240,000 per year.
University of Peshawar Assistant Registrar and focal person Akhtar Amin praised the system and said, “If we are to compete with international standards, we need to follow this system in its entirety.” He was grateful the previous Awami National Party government was mindful of the educational system abroad.
Amin said the difference in fee was not great. “Since the university fee has increased by 10%, both the annual and semester systems are very similar monetarily,” he said.
Higher Education Additional Secretary Khalid Khan said Pakistan was 40 years behind the rest of the world when it came to education. “All educational institutions should have this new system,” he urged.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2015.