Following a thorough review, UK NARIC has changed its comparability for Pakistani four-year Bachelor degrees from British Bachelor (Ordinary) degree to British Bachelor degree standard. The new guidance has been made possible by increased confidence in the quality and standard of four-year Bachelor degree programmes now being delivered in Pakistan.
Improvements in quality assurance
Since 2002, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Pakistan has implemented a raft of measures to improve quality assurance in the higher education sector. These measures include:
- Establishment of the Quality Assurance Agency in 2005
- Creation of Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) in all degree awarding institutions for conducting internal quality assurance
- Implementation of regular external evaluation by means of Institutional Performance Evaluations (IPEs)
- Establishment of five more accreditation councils for programmatic accreditation—overseeing agriculture, business education, computing, teacher education and technology—in addition to the nine professional councils already in existence in 2002
- Development of the National Qualification Framework of Pakistan (PQF), officially adopted in 2016
- Development and regular revision of standard curricula for Bachelor degree programmes.
Revised degree curricula
To date, revised curricula for over 115 different Bachelor degree subjects have been approved by HEC. These curricula have been adopted by a large number of institutions in Pakistan and compare favourably with Bachelor degree programmes in the UK. Almost all contain compulsory independent research elements such as a sizeable research project or dissertation in the final year.
Discontinuation of traditional 2+2 Bachelor-Master’s programmes
In a further move to bring higher education in Pakistan into line with international standards, the HEC has instructed all institutions to discontinue traditional two-year Bachelor degrees and 2+2 Bachelor+Master’s degrees. These programmes are being phased out over a four year period which began in 2018.
These changes have given UK NARIC reassurance in assessing Bachelor degrees from Pakistan as comparable to UK Bachelor degree standard. The new comparability applies to degrees awarded after January 2016, when the PQF was formally adopted. The revised evaluation should help to give greater confidence to all institutions considering applications from Pakistani graduates for entry to postgraduate programmes.