HEC says NTS tests not required for admission to MS and PhD
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has informed all universities in the country that they are not required to use tests organised by the National Testing Services (NTS) to grant admissions or award scholarships.
In a letter dated May 27, which many universities received Friday, the HEC stated the NTS was not an officially approved testing service. It proposed a regulatory framework to establish, monitor and supervise a national testing service.
The letter was written in the wake of an LHC judgment, stating that the NTS tests were not mandatory for admission to masters, MPhil or PhD programmes.
The letter stated that the HEC considered the discontinuation of admission tests detrimental to the quality of education. “Discontinuation of admission tests (GAT General, Subject or International GRE, SAT, or tests prescribed and undertaken by the universities) will derail the process of quality assurance. It will also negatively affect the international compatibility of MPhil and PhD awards,” the letter stated. It said the NTS could continue to operate as a private entity.
The HEC informed universities it would not sign a contract with the NTS or any other entity until they were approved under the HEC Ordinance. “The existing arrangement between the HEC and the NTS shall only continue till May 30.”
The letter mentioned that the high court ruling will not affect the admissions and scholarships granted or refused previously on the basis of NTS tests.
In the letter, HEC Chairman Mukhtar Ahmed urged universities to refrain from giving up the standardised test requirement till the HEC prescribed a new test or testing body in accordance with the LHC order.
Ahmed told The Express Tribune that universities must have a test before admitting students into graduate programmes, and this may be any test. He said this was not in violation of the LHC’s order, and the Law Department had vetted the letter. “This system will be in place until the HEC makes a national policy,” he said.
The HEC had engaged NTS in September 2003 to administer standardised tests across Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2014.
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