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Students & rising education costs

Students perturbed over rising education costs
Lahore, June 24, 2008: The education sector is no exception to being affected by the unprecedented inflation as public sector universities have started increasing tuition fee and other charges.

In a recent meeting, the Government College University syndicate approved an increase in tuition fee of all the programmes for the upcoming academic session. It is learnt that all the newcomers will have to pay around 12 percent extra tuition fee.

Sources say, initially, the proposal floated in the meeting aimed at increasing the tuition fee for all the programmes by 15 percent, but there was a consensus on 12 percent increase. A senior GCU official said the varsity had not increased the tuition fee during the last four years, adding the insurmountable inflation was the main cause behind the increase.

A series of protests were held at the Kinnaird College (KC) recently when the college authorities started charging fee according to the revised fee structure. Though, the fee of all the programmes had been increased, the increase in the fee of the college's BBA programme was so high as the college students had to protest against the decision.

The Punjab University's Finance and Planning Committee decided to enhance the examination and registration fee by 15 per cent in a meeting held last week. Reportedly, the PU administration has not increased tuition and admission fee for the on-campus, regular students and the decision, subject to the approval of the syndicate, would apply only to the private students.

It may be mentioned here that thousands of students appear in BA/BSc, MA/MSc and other examinations conducted by the Punjab University every year. At present, the PU is charging Rs 1200 as registration fee while the examination fee varies from programme to programme.

The exam fee for BA is Rs 1700, for BSc Rs 2100, for MA Part-I and Part-II Rs 2025 each and for MSc Part-I and Part-II Rs 2225 each. Double fees are also charged if a candidate fails to deposit his/her dues for registration and exams before the deadline.

A large number of students and their parents expressed concern over the increasing fees of the public sector institutions, saying the government must intervene to provide relief to the inflation-stricken poor.

Azeem, a student, said the PU was already collecting a handsome amount through registration and exam fees, adding the recent increase, if approved by the varsity's syndicate, would add to the miseries of the students.

Zaheer Ahmed, the father of a student, said the government was providing support of million of rupees to the public sector universities, adding it must ensure check on the fee structure as well.

However, a senior PU official said the decision to increase the exam and registration fees was taken out of necessity, adding the increasing inflation was the main cause behind the increase. "The prices of paper have increased while the transportation has also become costly", he said, adding "the remuneration for those involved in script marking would also be increased."

The official said grants for the public sector universities had also been reduced by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). "In such circumstance it was impossible to maintain the registration and exam fee structure", he added. The News
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