The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan is implementing a new Ph.D. admission policy that has sparked concerns among students and academics.
According to the new policy, students can pursue a Ph.D. degree directly after completing their BS programs, which means that the prerequisite of a minimum of a one-year Master’s degree after 16 years of education is no more a requirement for a Ph.D. However, Ph.D. students are required to complete 30 credit hours of coursework spanning at least two years.
Similarly, the new proposed policy states that a Ph.D. cannot be completed in less than three years or more than eight years of enrolment. Candidates are also allowed to get admission to a Ph.D. degree in another discipline if the policy makes a cut.
The policy applicable from 1 January 2021 allows researchers to send their Ph.D. dissertations to both Pakistani and experts foreign experts and makes it mandatory for students to spend at least two years in their home country during their Ph.D. program.
The HEC has not issued an official notification about the implementation of this policy which is why some universities have reached out to it to enquire about the future course of action.
The University of Karachi (KU) sent a letter to the HEC inquiring about the new admissions in the Ph.D. program, to which the Commission clearly stated in response that the new policy is binding for the universities.
Non-implementation of the policy may result in action against the universities including “warning to universities, suspension of admissions, suspension or revocation of NOCs for admissions, public alert, and non-verification of credentials”.
Regarding the new HEC policy, the Vice-Chancellor of the NED University, Dr. Surosh Hashmat Lodhi, said,
The positive aspect is that the policy has increased the number of courses (credit hours). People pursue a Ph.D. after a bachelor’s degree all over the world.
Meanwhile, a professor at KU, namely Dr. Hasan Kazmi, shed light on the research and funding and said,
It is an uphill task to pay the salaries of the employees from the grant being provided to the university by the HEC. The university lacks laboratories, research facilities, and an adequate grant.