The academic council of Government College University (GCU) Lahore has approved major reforms in the university’s admission process and structure of academic programmes. The council approved a policy of entrance tests and aptitude interviews for admissions in undergraduate programmes of all disciplines, except physical education and fine arts. Apart from the entrance test carrying a weight of 30 per cent, and aptitude interview 20 per cent, intermediate results will receive a weight of 40 per cent and another 10 per cent will be given to matriculation. VC GCU Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi said: “Unfortunately, our admissions system has failed to test the skill set required for pursuing good quality higher education. We find a great difference in the marking standards of various secondary boards,” he said. Applicants often have high scores but do not possess basic conceptual clarity, communication and analytical skills, Zaidi said, adding that on the basis of marks, they are admitted to disciplines for which they lack aptitude. “Our teachers have to focus on improving students’ basic skills because a university is not supposed to impart school or college-level education. Our new undergraduate admission policy will attract the sharpest minds and ensure learning is based on knowledge,” he stressed. The academic council also recommended a policy proposal for bringing evening undergrad programmes at par with the morning. Evening programmes will now be called self-supporting. Self-supporting students are now eligible for scholarships, hostels and transport facilities. Prof Zaidi said: “Self-supporting students are admitted on merit and pay fifty per cent higher fee. They deserve facilities like regular students. Through centralised timetabling, self-supporting students will now be able to take classes with regular students. This will help them integrate into the university culture and acquire socialising skills in a formal academic setting. We have also approved merit-based scholarships for self-supporting students to assist them financially.” Additionally, the academic council approved the standardisation of the nomenclature of undergrad degrees. All degree programmes will be called Bachelor of Studies (BS). The step was taken in line with the Higher Education Commission (HEC)’s policy and to avoid confusion in the job market.