Sharp rise in tuition fees worries parents
Karachi, Jan 23: At a time when prices of almost all essential commodities have skyrocketed, a number of private schools in the city have arbitrarily increased tuition fees from 20 to 40 per cent with effect from January in violation of the private schools registration act, it emerged on Wednesday.
A random survey of various private schools and complaints received from parents indicated that tuition fees in most schools had been increased between 20 and 40 per cent, though they are not authorised to do so in the mid of an academic session.
Under the relevant rules, the schools could raise the fee only by five per cent and that too at the beginning of an academic year.
Also, the trend of collecting the so-called "annual charges" - which almost is equal to the tuition fees of one month - from students also continued in almost all private schools of the metropolis.
A large number of parents calling from different parts of the city said that the schools where their children were studying had informed them verbally or through notices that the ever-increasing electricity tariff and high inflation had forced them to increase tuition fees with effect from January and accordingly, the increased tuition fees of this month would be collected.
The parents said that on the one hand the prices of essential commodities had increased manifold and on the other arbitrarily upward revision of the tuition fees by private schools had made it impossible for them to make ends meet.
They accused senior officials of the Sindh education department and its directorate of private educational institutions of conniving with the management of private schools.
They said if the officials concerned were not in hand in glove with the management, it was not possible for any private school to increase tuition fees in the mid of an academic session and demand "annual charges".
They said it was beyond their comprehension under what rules private schools had been continuously charging the annual charges from students when there was no such provision in the law.
Some parents recalled that a former Sindh chief secretary, Fazl-ur-Rehman, had described the annual charges as unlawful. Yet the officials concerned had, so far, failed to implement his directives that the fees collected under the head of annual charges be either returned or adjusted against tuition fees, they deplored.
Perturbed over the illegal increase in tuition fees, a delegation of parents, whose children study at the Karachi Public School's Star Gate branch, met the provincial director of private educational institutions, Mansoob Hussain Siddiqui. They lodged their complaint in writing against the school management
which, according to them, had increased tuition fees between 20 and 40 per cent with effect from January.
The delegation, led by Masroor Ahmed Masroor, also apprised the official that the school management had been continuously charging annual charges although there was no such provision in the law.
According to the parents, the director of the private educational institutions informed them that the education department had not yet approved the school's
enhanced fee structure, besides an explanation in this regard had already been sought from the management of the school through a notice. DawnYour Comments
KU unable to locate records of suspected students
Karachi: Following the blast that injured four Karachi University students on the campus last year, there seems to be a complete lack of coordination between the teaching departments and the administration with regards to retrieving the records of the students suspected to be involved in the incident. The teaching departments claimed that it was the responsibility of the examination and enrollment section to maintain the records of students.
These statements were issued when The News asked the chairpersons of the chemistry and food as well as the science technology departments about their records. A student each was arrested from both the departments.
However, the Chairperson of the Department of International Relations (IR), Dr Shaista Tabassum possessed the records of the third suspect and sent copies to the administration. She claimed that she has all the original records intact.
The three students, Hafeezullah Khan (International Relations), Syued Fayyaz (Chemistry Evening Programme) and Muhammad Umer (Food Science and Technology), were all taken into custody for allegedly masterminding the blast that injured four people on campus.
The Chairperson of the Food and Science Technology Department, Dr Jehan Ara said that she had no record of the student who was arrested from her department. She added that such records could only be found in the Enrollment Section office of the KU Student Adviser.
A teacher of the department, who chose to remain anonymous, claimed that Dr Ara was simply apprehensive and did not want reveal too much to the media. The teacher added that she feared a backlash from either university officials or the sympathisers of the rusticated students.
The Chairperson of the department of Chemistry, Dr Shaikh Sirajuddin Nizami was unaware of the student and suspected that his record could be available in the office of the Former Chairperson, Dr Zahida Maqsood. Syed Fayyaz Ali was indeed a student of the Chemistry department, but failed to complete his degree.
Requesting anonymity, another professor criticised the Enrollment Section and said that some students were unable to get their enrollment even after a year. "This reflects the lackadaisical attitude of senior officials of the department. It also displays bad governance on their part. Most of them just sit there; draw fat salaries and take advantage of the perks. It is possible that the departments are following the example set by the enrollment section and doing the same.
A senior official of the university embarrassedly admitted that the case of the three accuse students had been mishandled. "I was embarrassed by the attitude of the big wigs at KU. Initially they claimed that the accused were not students of KU and now they say they have 'rusticated' them. How can they rusticate someone who is not a student of the university?" the official wondered.
The Registrar of KU, Professor Kaleem Raza Khan informed that a copy of the records remains with the chairpersons of their respective departments.
KU decides to retain new BS, up admission fee
Karachi: The Academic Council of the University of Karachi decided that the BS (Bachelor of Studies) programme will continue. Students graduating with this degree will be awarded an additional certificate stating that the programme is equivalent to a Masters degree. (MA, M.com and MSc)
The Academic Council was compelled to discuss the BS degree as some parents and students had reservations over the programme. They believed that the programme was not beneficial for the students as it is only considered a Bachelor's degree, like a BA B.com or B.Sc.
The council also decided that despite the current financial crunch, the MS programme will also continue. Teachers and students were wary of this programme due to the lack of resources. The Vice Chancellor of the University assured those with reservations that KU would manage to generate the funds necessary for the MS programme.
The University of Karachi Syndicate approved the establishment of a Directorate of Distance Education.
As a result, the university decided to switch over from the present external examination to the Distance Learning and Examination Programme in phases.
KU will initiate this programme in the field of social sciences. The University sought help from the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the Virtual University and the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) in this regard.
The programme of Distance Learning is aimed at rectifying the shortcomings of the present system of external examination. On a pilot basis, the programme will first be introduced for Master in Economics.
The Vice Chancellor of Karachi University, Professor Qasim Pirzada said that a core group of teachers was constituted to study the academic and financial aspects of the programme.
The reasons stated for this change were the poor performance of students and the large percentage of failures in the external examinations. Students taking external examinations do not attended classes and have no interaction with the faculty at KU. In addition they do not follow the standard syllabus and officials at the university believe that the knowledge gained by external students is not at par with that of regular students. However, both degrees hold exactly the same value.
Earlier on, the VC addressed a video conference on the distance education. The video conference was organised by the HEC. The news
KU IR Department organises condolence meeting
Karachi: Violence and impatience are the two core issues in today's world. These problems bring with them various other serious issues which include terrorism, extremism etc. These views were expressed by the Chairperson, Department of International Relations, Prof Dr Shaista Tabasumm, Dr Mutahir, Dr Naeem, Faisal Aziz, Dr Faisal Awan, Ejaz Bhatti and others while addressing a condolence meeting organised by IR Department on Thursday, in order to recall the memories of journalist Wali Khan Babar. ppi
HEC plans to introduce distance learning
Hyderabad: The system of distance learning will be introduced in public sector universities and a special directorate will be set up in six universities as a pilot project.
This was decided at a video-conference arranged by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) from Islamabad. Participants included vice-chancellors Prof Dr Nazir A. Mughal of the University of Sindh, Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui of the University of Karachi and Prof Dr Azmat Hayat Khan of the University of Peshawar, and HEC and university officials.
Executive Director of the HEC Dr S. Sohail H. Naqi explained the objectives of the distance education system. He said that at present the universities were running different systems of education: a regular degree programme and in affiliated colleges. There is one programme for regular students while another for students who appear in examinations as external candidates only by filling examination forms at affiliated degree colleges.
The students who appeared in examinations as external candidates, he said, were not found to be productive.
He said that at present total strength of university students was one third of those getting higher education. A large number of students appeared in exams from affiliated colleges or received education under the distance learning programme run by the Allama Iqbal Open University and Virtual University.
He said that private students did not meet the required criteria and needs of the job market. The distance education system was aimed at improving the quality
of education of external candidates.
The system will be launched with the assistance of information technology.
He said that a large number of people wanted to receive higher education and were willing to pay for that and this could be a source of revenue for the universities.
Dr Naqvi said that the Virtual University project was launched six years ago with a funding of Rs1 billion and its students were doing well in the job market.
He said that the main objective of the distance learning system was to produce quality students. It is a long-term programme and the HEC was providing a forum to the universities.
He said the universities should set up the directorate with proper staff, adding that Punjab University, Gomal University, University of Peshawar, University of Sindh and University of Karachi were working on it.
Pirzada Qasim called it an excellent programme and said that the University of Karachi would be implementing it as a joint venture with the University of Sindh.
He said both the universities would introduce MA economics.
Prof Dr Parveen Munshi, dean of the faculty of education, University of Sindh, said that a programme had been chalked out and the needed material was being developed. She said that registration under the distance education programme begin start in March.
By 2012, the programme will replace external programmes for MA in all subjects and by 2013 all external programmes. Dawn
SSUET academic session commences from 24th
Karachi: The academic session at the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) will commence from January 24. Registrar of the institution, Shah Mahmood Syed, on Thursday, announced this. He said that the orientation session for the new entrants would be conducted on January 24 at 9am. The entry will be for the students only and the parents would not be allowed in. Adequate security measures have been made for the occasion, it was further announced. app