Universities in Pakistan

AIMS Springhill Cambridge International School

Multan, Pakistan
The AIMS Springhill Cambridge International School was established in Pakistan in 1999 with a mission of providing education and training to both local and international students.  Advertised on its website as “quality education at a low cost,” the services provided at the AIMS Springhill Cambridge International School are based in the southern Punjab region, which is much less developed than the rest of Pakistan, bringing education to an area that was once grossly underserved. About the AIMS Springhill Cambridge International School:  Aims and Objectives In realizing the... See full description.

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About universities in Pakistan

Pakistan is a South Asian country of approximately 162 million inhabitants.  The country gained its independence in 1947, when what used to be British India was liberated and split into the largely Hindu-practicing country of India and the predominantly Muslim-practicing country of Pakistan.  The country is a federation of four provinces, each with its own parliamentary system of government; many federally administered tribal areas and the Islamabad Capital Territory.  The four provinces in Pakistan are Punjab, Sindh, Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan.  The country is very diverse, consisting of several different ethnic groups, the largest of which is Punjabi, and although the majority of Pakistanis speak the Punjabi language informally, the national or officially recognized language of the country is Urdu, with English used in all official business dealings within the administration.
Higher Education in Pakistan:  Policy and Curriculum Development, Administration
The entire education system in Pakistan, including higher education, is the responsibility of the National Ministry of Education, and is administered by both the national and provincial governments.  Educational policy, plans, programs and curriculum is developed and coordinated at the federal level, while implementation and administration is left to the provinces.   Each province has its own distinct Department of Education, while the institutions in the Capital Territory of Islamabad are directly administered by the Federal Ministry of Education.  This structure, which was the result of a constitutional amendment in 1973, aims to increase the access to professional and technical education and give equal opportunity o the higher education system based on merit.
In 2002, in an effort to promote and improve the higher education system in Pakistan, a new commission was developed by the federal government called the Higher Education Commission (HEC).  Working directly under the prime minister as a conduit between the higher education institutions and the federal government, the Higher Education Commission has been charged with sharing the duty of policy and curriculum development with the Federal Ministry, and working with the provincial governments on its implementation. 
Higher Education in Pakistan:  Structure
Public Education
The higher education system in Pakistan is made up of universities and colleges, both of which take part in advanced instruction, but only the universities are permitted to conduct research. The universities in Pakistan are those schools that have been given a charter by either the federal or provincial government.  They are the only schools officially recognized in Pakistan and are the only type of public institution allowed to directly award degrees—a degree system with three levels:  Bachelor, Master and Doctorate. 
Colleges, on the other hand, can be categorized as either Affiliated Colleges or Constituent Colleges.  Affiliated colleges are schools that are “affiliated” with the university, and the university is responsible for determining the various courses of study, prescribing the required syllabi and conducting examinations.  Students who attend affiliated colleges can still earn a degree, but that degree is awarded by the university, and not directly by the college.  Constituent colleges are also part of the university system and are fully funded as such, but these schools/hubs are typically located off the main university grounds.  Constituent colleges do not award degrees, but merely prepare students to take the university entrance examination.
Private Education
Due to the high demand for a university education in Pakistan and the rigid admissions criteria at public universities, the number of private universities in Pakistan has risen dramatically since the 1990s.  These schools, of which there are now close to 60 with the power to award degrees, must also receive a charter by the national or regional government to be recognized.  However, the rate at which these schools were opening over the past 20 years made it difficult for the Higher Education Commission to make certain the value of their work.  This unfortunately led to a small percentage of “degree-mill”- type schools popping up, at which students would essentially pay for their degree, without getting the proper level of education.  This prompted the HEC to develop a 4-tier rating system for each of these private schools, designed to inform and educate students of a private university’s status before paying the required tuition.  The lowest rating on this scale, which was indeed assigned to nearly 10 percent of all private universities in Pakistan, is “sub-standard,” meaning the school is in danger of losing its charter.

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