Ineligibility of BS Software Engineering Graduates for the Position of Computer Science Educator

Recently, the School Education Department, Government Punjab has announced various positions of Senior Elementary School Educator in Computer Science & Secondary School Educator in Computer Science. Unfortunately, Software Engineering graduates are declared ineligible for these jobs due to the word “Engineering” which appears in the title of their degree. It has created a depressing and heart breaking situation for these graduates. In this regard, I would like to submit following humble submissions for kind consideration of concerned authorities.

Computing is an interdisciplinary discipline that crosses the boundaries between mathematics, science, engineering, business, and social sciences. Before 1990’s, computing was limited to three disciplines – Computer Science (CS), Computer Engineering (CE), and Information Systems (ISs). By 1990s, the global community realized that the field of computing had grown in many dimensions and the discipline of Software Engineering was added in the computing domain. By the end of 1990s, once again, the academia realized that the existing computing degree programs were not producing graduates who had the right mix of knowledge and skills to meet organizational challenges. Consequently, the discipline of Information Technology (IT) was introduced.

Presently, almost every public and private sector university offer various degree programs in computing disciplines. Two National Accreditation Councils evaluate, scrutinize and monitor the standards of education in these institutions. Pakistan Engineering Council monitors Computer Engineering discipline, whereas National Computing Education Accreditation Council (NCEAC) looks after matters regarding, Computer Science, Software Engineering, and Information Technology.

It is important to point out that the term “Engineering” present in the title of “Software Engineering” degree does not make it an engineering degree.  According to ACM and IEEE-CS, the most prestigious international bodies, Software Engineering is a computing discipline.  At international universities, Software Engineering degree is offered by their computing departments.  Due to these reasons, Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) does not deal with SE programs. PEC develops curriculum for Computer Engineering programs.

It would not be out of place to mention that HEC has constituted the National Curriculum Revision Committees of CS, IT and SE.  These committees jointly publish the curricula of BS/MS/Ph.D. programs in CS, SE, and IT. Through an extensive consultation, these committees have identified some areas of unification among curricula of CS, SE and IT and have defined a common nomenclature for BS programs based on two criteria: i) Common courses in all disciplines. ii) Domain specific courses in respective discipline.

Body of Knowledge (contents) covered in these common courses aims to build essential knowledge, skills, and background that can help students to study advance courses and to join a variety of professions that have employment opportunities for computing graduates.  Whereas, Domain specific courses provide a more in-depth knowledge of the domain and develop advanced skills required to perform specialized task.

A comparison of general recommendations made by NCRC in Revised Curriculum 2009 regarding BS programs of CS, SE, and IT is listed in table below:

Category of Courses Name of Program
CS SE IT
Credit Hours Credit Hours Credit Hours
Common  Computing Courses
Core 43 70 43 70 43 70
Supporting Areas 12 15 15
General Education 15 12 12
University Electives 12 12 12
Doman Specific Courses
 Core 18 18 18
 Electives 21 21 21
 Supporting Areas Electives 9 9 9
Total Credit Hours 130 130 130

 

The table shows that out of 130 Credit hours, almost 82 Credit Hours Courses fall in the category of common courses. In particular, the common computing core courses of 43 credit hours mainly focus on developing students’ knowledge and skills which are required for Senior Elementary School Educator in Computer Science, Secondary School Educator in Computer Science and Computer Science Lecturers in Colleges.

In the light of above stated facts, it is requested that, similar to BSCS and BSIT graduates, BSSE graduates should also be consider eligible for computer related  jobs, including Senior Elementary School Educator in Computer Science, Secondary School Educator in Computer Science, College Lecturers, Computer lab staff, Web Masters, etc . It is also requested, in their job advertisements, the Government of Punjab announce BSCS, BSIT, and BSSE graduates equally eligible for the advertise position.

At the end I would make a humble suggestion that Software Engineering graduates must not be declared ineligible for the positions of Senior Elementary School Educator in Computer Science & Secondary School Educator in Computer Science. I am sure the kind consideration of concerned authorities will save the future of a large number of Software Engineering graduates in Punjab, Pakistan.

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Published by: Dr. M. A. Pasha

I have obtained a M. Sc. in Physics (Gold Medal) degree from Islamia University Bahawalpur in 1981 and a Ph. D. degree in Computer Science from University of Southampton, UK in 1996. I have more than 30 years experience in tertiary education, ten of which have been in strategic leadership positions, including as Professor of Computer Science and Dean, Faculty of Computing & Information Sciences, Imperial College of Business Studies, Lahore; Professor of Computer Science and Director, Division of Science & Technology at University of Education, Lahore; Pro-Rector of Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, Karachi. Director, Institute of Computer Sciences & Software Engineering, The University of Lahore; Dean, University of Central Punjab, Lahore; Advisor to the Vice Chancellor on Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore; Principal, Punjab University College of Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore; Professor & Pro-Rector, Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, Karachi. I also have the honor to work as Vice Chairman, National Computing Education Accreditation Council (Pakistan); Chairman Inter Universities Faculty Board for Policy and Framework Development of Computer Science and Information Technology Degree Programs (Punjab, Pakistan). In addition, I have worked in various academic and administrative committees of public as well as private universities performing diverse nature of assignments. Presently, I am member of the Chief Minister’s Committee to “Develop a Vision for Information Technology in Punjab”. I have delivered various teacher training workshops and taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, supervised postgraduate students and published 40 papers in national & international journals & conference proceedings. Knowledge Management, WWW Multimedia Content Management, and Artificial Intelligence are the key areas of my interest. I have attended various national & international professional trainings, conferences and took part in international ICT consultation sessions in Cambodia and Bangladesh in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

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