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Higher Education in Pakistan: Are Unrecognised Degrees Putting Students’ Careers at Risk?

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The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has announced that it will not recognize the degrees of students enrolled at Metropolitan University, Karachi after August 5, 2022. The HEC has also halted admissions to the university due to gross violations and non-adherence to its guidelines. The university could offer undergraduate degree programs with limited seats only through its principal seat located in Malir Cantt, Karachi. However, the HEC has found that the university has been operating through unauthorized campuses/study centers in Sukkur, Larkana, Quetta, Rawalakot, Islamabad, and Chakwal, violating its guidelines. As a result, the admissions of Metropolitan University have been stopped by the commission with effect from August 5, 2022, and degrees of students enrolled in the university after the cutoff date shall not be recognized by HEC.

HEC has repeatedly advised students to seek admission only in universities recognized by HEC to avoid future academic and professional complications. In February 2023, HEC also halted admissions to Isra University from Fall 2022, without mentioning the crisis that led to the suspension of admissions.

The actions taken by HEC raise several questions about the quality of higher education in Pakistan. What measures are being taken to ensure that universities adhere to HEC guidelines? How can students and parents ensure that they are enrolling in recognized universities? What is the impact of unrecognized degrees on students’ careers? These questions require a comprehensive examination of the state of higher education in Pakistan and the role of regulatory bodies like HEC.

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