Lahore:September 24:FIVE public-sector autonomous colleges affiliated with the Punjab University for the four-year BS (Honours) degree programme remain mired in most basic issues two years after its launch.
The issues like regularisation of semesters, teaching techniques, setting examination papers at the academic level, hiring of faculty and provision of required facilities at the administrative level are far from over.
The latest BS (Honours) semester examination results (declared by the Punjab University) have shattered hopes of the students as well as faculty members of these colleges. The bad news for them is that the unsuccessful students have been dropped out of the system.The principals of the Government MAO College; the Government Science College, Wahdat Road; the Government Islamia College, Civil Lines; the Government College for Boys, Satellite Town, Gujranwala; and the Government College for Girls, Satellite Town, Gujranwala had to negotiate with the Punjab University BS (Honours) Committee and won a re-sit examination for their failed students “against the policy of the university.”
A major issue is that the teachers taking semester classes have no role in paper-setting, which is against the spirit of the (semester) system. In the Punjab University, each teacher prepares his own question-paper for his students and marks the scripts.
The PU BS (Honours) Committee says it cannot allow the college teachers to prepare questions and then ask for a degree from the varsity. “In such a case, the colleges should be given degree-awarding status,” said PU BS (Honours) Committee chairman Shahid Kamal.
The college principals are coordinating with the PU committee and have reportedly sought an opportunity for teachers to prepare model papers and ensure at least 25 per cent of their questions in the university papers.
MAO College Principal Dr Farhan Ebadat Yar Khan has taken an initiative and asked all other principals to nominate one teacher of each discipline being taught at their respective colleges for model papers’ preparation (at MAO College) on Sept 29. The final model papers will be forwarded to the Punjab University for their incorporation into the final question-papers.
Dr Khan, answering a question, admitted that the colleges lacked qualified faculty to run the semester system programmes. He said there was no regular teacher available at his institution to run the BS (honours) programme in mass communication and commerce disciplines.
He said there was only one teacher for information technology. Although mathematics was a compulsory subject in the first four semesters, he said, there was a dearth of faculty in this discipline too.
Further admitting that a lot many students were admitted to the programme without any merit and student strength criterion, Dr Khan said the poor results were obvious. “I have this year admitted students on high merit. The maximum class strength this year will be 50 students,” he asserted.
The Punjab Higher Education Department is still responsible to make autonomous colleges’ boards of governors functional either in their present shape or as boards of management.
The department is also supposed to arrange semester system teachers’ training to equip them with the required skills and understanding.
Mr Kamal said the autonomous colleges were highly under-equipped in terms of faculty as well as facilities. As the PU was supposed to issue degree to the autonomous colleges’ students, he said the PU would implement its rules strictly and the colleges needed to upgrade themselves.
He said the colleges needed to follow the PU schedule to streamline their semester system. “When the government will continue to announce holidays and longer summer vacation, the colleges will have to suffer and complete courses during the summer vacation,” he commented.
Mr Kamal said the PU had recently revised the criteria and enhanced teacher marks criteria from 20 per cent to 40 per cent – to be given on account of assignments and midterm examinations. The PU will now have 60 per cent marks share.
He said all autonomous affiliated colleges also needed to take care of the intake to ensure that teaching and learning process could take place at higher pedestal and product could face modern world challenges.
“If the PU’s Institute of Business Administration, set up in 1968 and having all required facilities, admits 100 students a year, how a new college with no faculty and facility can admit 300 students and then expect good results,” he asked.
In order to facilitate autonomous colleges, he said, the PU would arrange a meeting of the principals with the PU Controller of Examinations and the BS (Honours) Committee chairman prior to declaring the results. “The results will be declared after a consultation so that the results should not lead to protests and complaints by the principals,” he said.
He said the PU had also allowed that the autonomous colleges’ BS (Honours) science students, who will complete two years of education, could appear for the BSc examination after providing a certificate from college principal that he/she had done his/her complete practicals. The arts students could always appear for their BA private examination, he added.Daily Times.