Private universities are to be banned from enrolling undergraduate students who possess the General Education Development (GED), a four-month international standard course which has been accepted instead of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams.
The GED diploma has so far been considered equivalent to the HSC, and could even be attained by students within a month of enrolling at university.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has now moved to change that practice, issuing a directive to safeguard standards across higher education from July 31.
“HSC is a two-year course and a GED is a four-month diploma course, but both courses offer certificates equivalent to a higher secondary level,” UGC Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan said. “These two cannot be equal. There are huge discrepancies.”
Dhaka Education Board said a student qualifies for enrolling at a university after getting an HSC certificate by passing the exams with 1,200 marks.
But with the GED course, a student can enroll to the same university by studying only four subjects in four months.
This opportunity drew flak from various quarters, including academics and guardians, who consider it a major barrier to maintaining standards in higher studies.
Prof Abdul Mannan said: “The GED course is based on the syllabus of Europe and the US. Even though this course is equivalent to a higher secondary certificate in other countries, it cannot be similar to HSC in our country. That is why we have scrapped the acceptability of the course.”
GED Centre course coordinator Al Amin said he thought the UGC directive would have little direct impact on the numbers enrolling for the GED.
“We are not much worried about the decision as very few students enroll at universities in the country after completing this course,” he said. “Students mainly pursue this course for admission to universities abroad.”
As a further condition of the UGC directive, a GPA of at least 2.5 or a second division in the SSC and HSC exams will be mandatory for admission to private universities.
All private universities have been asked to comply with the decision.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com