ISLAMABAD - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has directed all the universities of the country to stop offering ‘doctoral’ degrees in undergraduate programmes being run in the institutions, Saturday. 

An official informed The Nation that universities and other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have been directed through a letter in the month of September to stop offering admissions to students in the undergraduate programs with the title of ‘doctor’.

An official said that some universities were offering the doctoral degree programs without approval of National Curriculum Review Committees (NCRCs). 

The notification available with The Nation said that, it has been observed with grave concern that some of the universities/HEIs are offering undergraduate programmes with the title of ‘Doctor’ in their BS degree  nomenclature, without the concurrence and approval of the National Curriculum Review Committees (NCRCs) constituted by this commission.

The letter said that this practice amounts to misleading the students, their parents and employers at large who request HEC for clarifications. Out of these some titles are ‘Doctor of Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences’, Doctor of Optometry’, Doctor of Medical Laboratory Sciences’ and Medical Imaging Doctor’, etc.  The notification added that all the universities/HEIs are hereby directed to stop further admissions in such programs and to withdraw their advertisements in the newspapers as well as on their websites/ social media platforms with immediate effect.

HEC shall not recognize such programs if offered after issuance of this letter.

The letter said that it has earnestly directed to refrain from offering such programs which lead to ambiguity, false presumptions and confusion for students, their parents and employees. 

The letter further said that this commission has only approved the curriculum and nomenclature of the degree titled as ‘Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)’ a five year program that can only be launched by those universities which have requisite, qualified and relevant faculty, infrastructure and required labs/ attached hospital for clinical practices.

The letter further said that it is a joint responsibility of HEC and universities/HEIs to safe guard the rights of the student for providing them quality education by using internationally accepted nomenclatures. Your utmost attention is solicited to make conscious and determined effort in ensuring complete observance of all applicable standards. “We sincerely hope that the universities/institutions will ensure compliance of the above and continue to strive for providing quality education to our students,” said the letter. 

It stated that with the continuous and determined support of educational varsities, the HEC has successfully led the transformation of higher education sector in Pakistan through continuous reforms, devising polices, setting standards and priorities in various educational disciplines.

The letter was sent to all public and private sector universities of degree awarding institutions of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Higher Education departments of all provinces including regional centres of HEC.