A large number of students staged a sit-in outside the Governor House, Karachi, to protest against the new Associate Degree (AD) that has been introduced by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC).
The students also protested against the alleged irregularities in the Medical and Dental Colleges Admissions Test (MDCAT) that was recently conducted by the newly-formed Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC).
The protesters held placards and shouted slogans against the PMC and demanded the immediate restoration of its predecessor – the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). They also called for the cancellation of the MDCAT 2020 and demanded a retest under the PMDC.
The protestors want the HEC to restart the two-year degree program as there are thousands of students who are unable to complete the four-year degree program due to either financial hardships and other reasons.
In November, the HEC had directed all its affiliated colleges and universities to discontinue the two-year bachelor’s degree program, saying it would not recognize such programs undertaken after the academic year 2018.
The HEC had first announced early in 2019 that it would replace the two-year B.A./B.Sc. program with the AD program.
What is the AD Program?
The HEC had merely changed the nomenclature for the degree to make it internationally recognized. Under the AD, two-year B.A. or B.Sc. degrees will be extended to four years to provide broad-based education to students along with experiential learning via skill-based courses.
After the completion of the AD, students will be eligible to apply to study in the fifth semester of the Bachelor’s programs of their choice following an evaluation of their transcripts by the concerned universities.