LAHORE Hundreds of the students, enrolled in the four-year BS (Hons) programme in 26 autonomous colleges across the province have left the degree programme due to insufficient faculty, infrastructure and uncertainty about the future of the newly introduced programme, TheNation learnt on Wednesday. The BS (Hons) programme was launched in different disciplines including Science, Arts, Commerce and Information Technology by all 26 colleges which had attained administrative and financial autonomy last year. The Punjab government had gone ahead with this programme despite much criticism by some political parties and academic circles. The critics of the programme were of the view that it was started without proper planning and was a step towards privatisation of public-sector colleges. The 26 autonomous colleges were allocated huge amount of Rs 500 million by the Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) in order for enhancement of faculty and infrastructure but the funds were lapsed as the colleges had not utilised them. Resultantly, the newly introduced programme could not get wide acceptance among the students and were facing multiple problems including quick dropout ratio. According to the official statistics, 3,944 students were enrolled in different disciplines in six autonomous colleges of provincial capital including Government Post Graduate College for Women, Samanabad, Government Degree College for Women Gulberg, Government Post Graduate Islamia College for Women, Cooper Road, Government Islmia College Civil Lines, Government MAO College and Government College of Science Wahdat Road last year. The statistics said that 993 students including 326 from MAO College, 116 from Government College Civil Lines, 146 from Govt Science College Wahdat Road, 197 from Government Post Graduate College for Women, Samanabad, 144 from Islamia College Cooper Road and 64 from Government Degree College for Women Gulberg had abandoned the degree in first semester. According to academic circles, the students were opting for the two-year BA degree instead of four-year BS (Hons). They said that the dropout ratio in the colleges other than Lahore was much more. They said that about 30 per cent students enrolled in the programme in Government Sadiq Degree College for Girls Bahawalpur have left the college. According to the a teacher of MAO college, the institute had admitted about 1200 students in four-year BS (Hons) programme last years and more than 500 students had left the degree till now. He said the college did not have sufficient faculty to teach the students. He said the college offered only Rs 300 per lecture to the visiting faculty, which was too meagre to attract the teachers. He said the Punjab Higher Education Secretary had promised to increase per lecture rate at Rs 1000, but he had not fulfilled his promise yet. The college also did not have proper libraries and computer labs, he added. Uncertainty and negative rumours about the future of the programme were also major reasons behind rising dropout ratio, he revealed. Moreover, delay in conducting examination by the universities was another cause behind more dropout ratio, he maintained. A teacher of Government Islamia College Civil Lines said that the students studying in BS (Hons) were very disappointed and concerned about their future. He said that not only students, but teachers were also confused as they had no awareness about the course. Ironically, Punjab Higher Education Secretary Haseeb Athar while talking out the dropout issue said that this was not only with BS (Hons) programme but the students studying in other degrees were also leaving.