LAHORE  - Punjab government has evolved a plan to launch associate degree programme in government degree colleges for preparing skilled manpower according to the market needs which will be called community colleges programme. Under this pilot programme, after matriculation, four-year associate degree courses of various trades will be started for male and female students in five degree colleges of Gujranwala division.

A briefing was given to the Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan in this regard. Secretary High Education Punjab Abdullah Khan Sunbal, Vice Chancellor LCWU Dr Sabiha Manzoor and educationists from Gujrat University who prepared proposed programme attended the briefing session. The meeting was informed that three-year diploma courses are already being offered after matriculation in various trades by Technical Education and Vocation Training Authority (TEVTA). The students obtaining this associate degree will be given admission in fifth semester of BS (Hons) in the same technical discipline and facility of MSc from the concerned universities. It was informed the meeting that there are only 120,000 skilled diploma holders in Pakistan. It was decided that annual fee of Rs 10 thousand only will be received by five degree colleges of Gujranwala division from the students of associate degree programme.

The meeting also considered to award four-year associate degrees in Computer Networking and Software Engineering, IT Management, Accounting & Finance in Government Degree College for Boys Dinga. Likewise, associate degree in Accounting & Finance, Media and Production in Government Degree College for Boys Lalamusa, Accounting & Finance and Print Media associate degree in Government College for Boys Kotla Arab Ali Khan, IT Management, Home Economic and Fashion & Textile Design associate degree in Government College for Women GT Road Kharian, Architecture, Fashion & Textile Design, Library and Information Science associate degree in Government Degree College for Women Gakhar Mandi were discussed.

Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan constituted a sub-committee which will finalize its recommendations within a week for administrative control of associate degrees in the above five degree colleges and later evolve associate degree programmes in various trades all over the province. Secretary Higher Education Punjab Abdullah Khan Sunbal has been nominated as focal person of this sub-committee while Technical Advisor to Chief Minister Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi will be head of this sub-committee.