Missing Link Between Curriculum and Reality - HEC 4 Years Degree Programs

(Shahida - Sultan, Islamabad)

Dr. Hoodbhoy talks about two different point of views by Banuri and Rehman and how it might shape the future policies of higher education in Pakistan. However, I am not supporting or negating his views, but I am talking about a very practical issue regarding higher education which directly influences many parents and students. The issue which worries me is the lack of quality and relevance of undergraduate programs offered at private and public universities in Pakistan. Since many public universities lack capacity to accommodate an increasing population of young students aspiring for undergraduate studies, many prospective students end up getting enrolled in available courses offered by private or semi private institutions which charge even higher fee than public universities. The overall tuition fee for these 4 year programs ranges from Rs. 500,000/- 1,000,000/- Of courses, no one else, but the parents have to pay this cost, by hook or by crook, with the hope that their investment will have greater returns for their prosperity. However, soon both the parents and students are hit by the hard reality that job opportunities are extremely limited. Also, students carry a huge emotional burden to pay back to their families through earning some income. Even many graduates find it quite hard to get some internship opportunities, let alone dreaming for a decent job, given the current economic situation of the country.

An issue which HEC needs to address is the lack of quality and relevance of curriculum of 4 years undergraduate programs offered at most of public and private universities/institutions in Pakistan. it is clearly evident that there is missing link between the curriculum and reality. This issue is pertinent because the graduates lack necessary knowledge, motivation and life skills to take self-initiatives for alternative solutions where there are no jobs. HEC should revise the current curriculum to address the gaps to enable the graduates to become creative and critical thinkers to solve problems and shape their own future.

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