Universities ever-increasing fees
Students, parents hit by spiralling varsity fees
Lahore, Nov 23: The ever-increasing fees of public sector universities have reached an
unprecedented level, burdening people already hit by skyrocketing
The situation has become bleak with every passing day and
people look towards the government to control the unbridled working of public
sector universities. An overview of fees being charged by public sector
universities should be an eye-opener for the government which always claims to
be education-friendly and the one working for the betterment of students.
The Punjab University's Institute of Business Administration (IBA) has
set over Rs 75,000 fee for its one-year diploma programme in Business
Administration this year whereas a four-year honours degree programme in
different disciplines from the same university costs over Rs 80,000 which is
also certainly high as the PU is after all a public sector university.
Similarly, fees being charged by the Government College University (GCU)
Lahore, Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) and Government Kinnaird
College for Women for different academic programmes are too high.
moment, the GCU is charging over Rs 13,000 and over Rs 10,000 per semester for
its honours degree programme whereas intermediate level programme costs around
Rs 30,000 from the same university. Similarly different degree programmes at KC
cost over Rs 50,000.
Father of a
student said it was becoming difficult for him and many other parents like him
to bear the cost of education of their children studying at the LCWU. He said
the increasing fee was multiplying problems of poor parents who were already hit
by skyrocketing price hike on essential commodities. He regretted that the
government was doing nothing to control fees of universities.
LCWU students had also demonstrated against fee hike and blocked the main road
outside the university campus. There are also concerns over "hidden"
charges. A citizen whose daughter is studying at the PU Institute of
Communication Studies (ICS), says the institute's semester wise fee challan form
does not clarify under which head semester charges are being collected. "This
raises misconceptions and doubts," adding "students have the right to know where
the fee is going".
A PU student said it was strange that every student
had to submit transportation charges whether he/she uses the university
transport or not. Similarly, he added that apart from tuition fees, students had
to pay dozens of other fees. "It is as if the university is receiving nothing
from the government," the student said.
Nonetheless, those who support
the fee being charged by public sector universities argue that it is less than
private universities and even less than some elite private schools. They,
however, forget that at present there was no regulatory body in the province to
control fees being charged by private sector educational institutions. The other
group argues that the situation would have been different if there was a
regulatory authority for institutions working in the private sector.
Academic circles argue that the government should go for policies that
benefit students in general and not a particular group of students adding
controlling fee and ensuring uniformity in this regard should be its topmost
priority. Referring to a recent seminar-cum-essay competition on "Austerity
Economy" held at the PU, they argue that managements should also cut their
unnecessary expenses and enormous perks and privileges in order to provide
relief to students. Meanwhile Punjab University (PU) Dean of Arts and
Humanities Dr S Qalb-e-Abid participated in the South Asia seminar held at the
Hamburg University Germany recently.
According to a PU press statement
in his presentation, Dr S Qalb-e-Abid said Pakistan and India should follow the
example of the European Union and establish soft border and cooperation in
trade. He said both countries were expending huge budgetary allocations on their
defence due to tension on their boarders. He said both countries could spend
this amount on development projects if this tension was reduced.
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Universities asked to develop linkages
Lahore: Local universities should develop strong linkages with each other
for the promotion of modern education in the country while it will also help
them benefit from an international window of opportunities.
This was the
crux of a meeting of International Islamic University (IIU) senior officials
with Government College University (GCU), Lahore, Vice Chancellor Dr Khalid
According to a press statement, the IIU delegation led by IIU
President Dr Anwar Hussain Siddique, called on the GCU vice chancellor to share
and learn from each others' experiences. The meeting was also aimed at
developing strong link between the both universities.
Strategic Planning Cell Dr Abdul Majeed and senior official Dr Ahmed were also
part of the delegation while GCU Dean of Sciences Dr Ameenul Haq, Dean of Arts
Dr Khalid Pervaiz, Registrar Sahibzada Faisal Khurshid and Director Academic
Planning and External Links Fouzia Shaheen were also present
Aftab informed the delegation about the steps which the university had taken in
the recent years for providing quality education to its students which included
the establishment of Quality Enhancement Cell, University's Data Bank and Career
Guidance and Placement Centre.
He also discussed the transition from the
college to the status of university and lauded the role of Higher Education
Commission (HEC) in this regard. "We justified our existence by producing
quality graduates," he said. The vice chancellor also laid stress on promoting
the research culture in the country. The IIU president and GCU vice chancellor
also shared the working of their various departments. The news
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Students' right to safe transportation
Islamabad: The traffic accident in which a student died last Thursday on the Islamabad
Expressway was one that was just waiting to happen. Every day on the
road we see students perched on the rooftops of moving public coaches and
wagons, a practice which nobody can deny is potentially hazardous and
Every week almost, a photograph depicting students
traveling in this perilous manner is published in our newspapers. The
Federal Directorate of Education, school/college administrations and teachers
know about this practice. The city transport authorities are well aware of it
The drivers of our public transport vehicles also know that it is a
practice liable to fines by the traffic police. So also are our students aware
of the fact that traveling on rooftops is both dangerous and illegal. Yet the
practice continues with abandon - despite the presence of multitudes of
grey-uniformed traffic policemen and blue-uniformed security policemen on our
So if this practice has taken the life of a 9th class public
school student, who according to this paper fell down from the rooftop of a
moving bus, we are all to be blamed - some of us more so than others.
How many students must die like this for us to wake up to the fact that
a drastic change in public transportation - or at least student transportation -
is needed to stop needless death and injury on the roads?
The last time
an apparent effort was made to resolve the transportation problems of public
school students, particularly of colleges in H-sector, occurred early this year
after a college student in H-sector was fatally hit by a speeding car on
Islamabad Expressway. The Islamabad Traffic Police had consultations with the
various stakeholders involved, including the administrations of various public
colleges. Nothing much though has changed for the students in terms of
After the accident in January, steel speedbreakers and
road bumps were constructed on the Islamabad Expressway to slow down traffic for
students to cross the multi-lane road. A pedestrian bridge for these students
has also been under construction for several months now but it seems to be
taking an unnecessarily long time to be completed.
In any case, these
structures alone are useless in preventing accidents - so long as students
continue to do what they do every day, i.e., spill over onto the road in the way
of traffic, trying to stop a coach/wagon or hitch a ride. This is the
scene which occurs every day not only on Islamabad Expressway but also on Ninth
Avenue (Agha Shahi Avenue) - particularly on the portions of these roads
adjoining H-sector. Motorists on these two highways have to be very careful to
avoid these students and not hit them.
Like the practice of traveling on
rooftops, the spilling of students onto these two highways after school is
dangerous and can be the cause of potentially fatal accidents. It is the
scenario of yet another accident waiting to happen. Are we just going to
sit by and let it happen? We are again making a grave mistake by not doing
anything to forestall such accidents knowing full well the dangers to which the
students are exposed.
To keep students off the two highways in question,
we have to ensure that they are able to get onto transport from their colleges
or just outside their colleges in H-sector so that they don't have to walk all
the way out onto the Islamabad Expressway or Ninth Avenue to wait for public
transport or hitch a ride home.
For these students, most of whose
parents do not have cars - official or private - to drop and pick them up from
college, there are only two options of safe transportation to and from college:
college buses run by the Federal Directorate of Education or public
transportation that they can get onto outside their colleges.
As it is
the case in countries elsewhere, ideally our college students should be given
passes to travel on public transportation that ought to comprise high-capacity
buses. But the public transportation system in Islamabad - a responsibility of
the district administration - is poor and grossly inadequate, despite demands
for change and countless apparent attempts to change it over the years.
An elected local government in Islamabad might perhaps be more
responsive to the transportation needs of the general public. Till then, college
buses are the only safe means of transportation for students studying in
Islamabad. Thus not only should adequate number of buses be procured for
existing and upcoming educational institutions in Islamabad, those students who
cannot afford the bus fees should be subsidised.
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Academics' access, HEC, British Council signed agreement
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and British Council
signed a letter of intent (LoI) on Friday aimed at cementing partnerships
between Pakistani and UK education institutions and giving academics an access
to international expertise.
The LoI would give Pakistani educational
institutions and academics an access to international expertise, up-to-date
knowledge and links to global networks through programmes tailored especially
for Pakistan's unique requirements and would be supplemented by leadership
training, support for research and other collaborative ventures, said a
statement issued after the signing ceremony.
The arrangement has been
made to equip Pakistan's future leaders, decision makers and opinion makers with
the awareness necessary to bring the country to its rightful place in the modern
HEC acting Executive Director Dr Mukhtar Ahmed and British
Council Worldwide CEO Martin Davidson signed the LoI. "This commitment covers a
range of issues such as leadership and economic," said the CEO, adding "we need
to constantly ask ourselves to make things better by sharing to get the best out
of an explosion of opportunities."
The HEC and council introduced Higher
Education Links Programme in Pakistan. It began with 15 linkages that were
completed in three years. Currently 35 links between higher education
institutions (HEIs) of Pakistan with UK's universities are operational.
"Institutions gained exposure to high quality facilities in the UK
benefiting from curriculum development and improvement. The linkages
brought the HEIs into a wider network of international partnership and it helped
them develop their research capabilities," Dr Ahmed said. Dawn
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Extension in principals services rejected
Rawalpindi: Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has rejected the
applications of political personalities to extend the services of principals of
girls colleges. Some MNAs and MPAs have requested the chief minister regarding
extension in the services of principals of three girl colleges.These principals
included principal of Government Waqar-u-Nisa Postgraduate Girls College,
Government Khyaban-e-Sir Syed Girls Degree College and Government Girls Degree
College B block.
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Swatis await economic, academic reconstruction
Mingora: Coming out of the trauma of Talibanisation only recently, inhabitants
of Swat now want the government to help restore their businesses, construct
schools at the earliest and remove the security barricades at least from the
city of Mingora.
Majority of the people are satisfied with the security
situation and believe the Taliban will never be able to stage a return despite a
recent call from Fazlullah, who was so far believed to be seriously injured and
almost under siege, regarding his presence at a safer place in Afghanistan and
launching of guerilla war in the valley.
Though some people are upset
about the call, a majority say Fazlullah is a history now as the people of Swat
would no more be conned in the name of Islam or other catchy slogan as done by
the fugitive Taliban leader or his jailed father-in-law, Sufi
However, what the people want the government and the army
troops to do was to compensate those who lost their near and dear ones, suffered
businesses, farm and orchards losses; start the reconstruction process with a
special focus on the rebuilding of schools for boys and girls and remove or at
least decrease the number of the security barriers.
figures, nearly 300 schools have been destroyed or partially damaged during the
wave of militancy in the valley over the past two years. None of those has been
reconstructed so far and the boys and girls are studying in open sitting on the
bare ground despite the prevailing cold weather.
"We're happy that bombs
are not going off in our city now and the security forces have successfully
defeated the militants, but the most needed thing is the reconstruction process
at this stage, which is yet to be started," said Muhammad Roshan, a college
teacher in the two of Saidu Sharif.
Launching of the much-needed
reconstruction process could also generate employment for the people who had run
out of the available cash during their days in camps, rented house or with host
families before July this year, he added.
Yousafzai, an ardent voice for the people of Swat during the days of turmoil as
well as today, is equally concerned about the plight of education in the
valley.He says most of the government-owned schools had been destroyed and the
students were studying in the razed buildings. "Hence, the government must start
the reconstruction of schools at the earliest," he argues. However, to the
dismay of Swat people, not a single school has been reconstructed despite the
lapse of nearly five months. The news
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