LAHORE - The Higher Education Department of the Punjab government has forwarded PC-I forms to principals of 26 colleges to seek their demands of laboratories, libraries and human resources for launching 4 years BS (Hon) programme in six subjects of science and arts from September next. The college administration is working on the project to formulate the requirements and recommendations to be finalised by the department. Secretary Higher Education Punjab Ahad Khan Cheema has said that the principals of 26 colleges have been given administrative and financial autonomy and the constitution of Board of Governors had also been finalised to run these colleges independently under the supervision of this department for launching new programmes in science and arts under semester system for quality education. The principals of these colleges will not be able to fulfill the criteria set by the Higher Education Commission unless they are given the powers of hiring faculty members and allied staff as per HEC criteria. Till now the department has extended financial and administrative autonomy to four colleges and the experiment has paid dividends in the shape of introduction of market-oriented subjects, improvement in learning environment and public perception about the institutions. As the new programme of BS (Hon) will be based on semester system, he enumerated merits and demerits of the system. He said annual system covers more syllabus and compels the students to remember all this till the end of the year. Sometimes, two or more topics are included in the same paper, then paper will have to be set by two examiners - internal and external examiners. Otherwise, certain topics are omitted and the syllabus gets diluted, he stated. In the semester system the students get more advantage, since examination is held within five months and what is studied remains fresh in their mind. The syllabus load is also less. Different topics need to be combined in the same paper. Students get more chances to improve. Since examination comes within a few months students are more comfortable. As far as the universities are concerned the workload will be almost double, the secretary said. In order to foster confidence and communication skills semester system has undoubtedly edge over the annual system. In addition, academic rigor is also ensured in this system which should be made a constant feature of higher education because the state is providing huge subsidy on the provision of higher education and incomprehensive and specialised version of teaching-learning process. It ensures continuous assessment and evaluation of students and teachers. In terms of contents the new system of four years is not just double the size of two years programme. It has a wide range of compulsory subjects, and offers a variety of optional subjects. Subjects such as English, Mathematics and Computer are compulsory for all streams. The programme is targeted at producing well-rounded and flexible graduates, ready to work on a variety of jobs and equipped with requisite skills. He said the normal BA/BSc programme contains three optional and as many compulsory subjects. After two years of study, a graduation degree is awarded. After two more years of study, a student is awarded post-graduate degree. The evaluation system is based on annual basis giving a student plenty of spare time to indulge in other activities. A student gets degree without gaining essential communication, IT, mathematics and analytical skills.