Rising cost of higher education in Pakistan
Recently, two cases of suicides on university campuses in Karachi highlighted how the stress associated with education that has left its mark on students’ lives and the lack of support and guidance are forcing young people to take desperate measures. Although little is known about what ended the lives of the two students, it cannot be denied that students, particularly those in higher education, do not receive as much support as they demand to cope with the particular challenges associated with their academic pursuits.
The woes of higher education
Overall, education funding is the most important form of support offered by educational institutions, particularly at the high school and university level. This takes the form of a full or partial waiver of tuition fees, rare loans, and formal and unofficial community support. The main criterion for this provision is a high level of academic performance. Participation in extracurricular activities is also seen as positive. All of this forces students to devote more time and energy to their educational efforts, and this comes at a cost.
“Other” unavoidable expenses
During one of the sessions of the 2016 Karachi Literature Festival, the heads of Pakistan’s leading business and liberal arts institutes shared the tremendous level of educational funding support for students offered by each. The coverage rate ranges from 50% to 85%. All will respond to the statement that higher education is an expensive proposition and therefore inaccessible. While it is undeniable that many well-established institutions provide generous funding, especially to students from low-income families, extensive research is lacking on the quality and adequacy of this funding and its role in facilitating access to higher education. This precludes an accurate assessment of the ‘drop-out’ rate common in our education system, but there is evidence that such a phenomenon exists.
The cost of training: a load
Maintaining high academic performance, a prerequisite for funding education, requires spending that goes beyond tuition fees. People from low-income backgrounds struggle with a list of unavoidable education-related expenses.
The Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM) 2013-14 shows that tertiary education, whether public or private, is the most expensive item for households compared to primary and secondary education. In urban areas, the average annual expenditure for higher education in public institutions is Rs 25,374 and Rs 42,704 in private institutions. This includes tuition fees as well as those classified as “other” which includes uniforms, books, supplies, tutoring and transportation. Costing Rs 12,191 at public universities and Rs 14,406 at private institutes, this category of “other” accounts for 48% and 33% of total expenditures for tertiary education, respectively.
New Malir University promises affordable and quality education
PSLM statistics give a conservative estimate. A typical higher education student spends a significant amount of money on transportation, buying books, library memberships, photocopies of notes, computer and internet access, and canteen. In addition, all major disciplines require students to undertake independent or group projects to add value to their academic experience. Such projects include expenses that include fieldwork, academic and project materials, and output production, which are the responsibility of students.
The magnitude of education-related costs may be due to the fact that due to the lack of public transport in Karachi, students have to pay at least Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per month for minibus fares to reach universities (depending on distance). . Other means of transportation, such as a rickshaw or personal car, can account for at least 60-70% of this cost each month. A general survey of students from various universities shows a minimum monthly expenditure of Rs 1,000 for photocopying alone. Books are another company spent. Canteen snacks can cost at least 100 rupees a day. Together, these charges can amount to at least 10,000 rupees.
Solutions for reforming the higher education system
Above all, higher education should be affordable. In recent years, university tuition fees have skyrocketed. Due to rising costs, students do not enter university or drop out of the program later. There are many ways to make higher education more affordable. Improving organizational performance is a good place to start. The number of students enrolled should be maximized, which will directly impact the fee structure, as the cost of education per student will be reduced. Also, the government should provide incentives and subsidies with proper accountability and transparency.
Also, public-private partnerships should be offered to solve our higher education problems. Due to the stagnation of education and the privatization of institutions, access to higher education has become difficult. We maximize opportunities in higher education through innovative partnerships with leading universities. It also ensures student and staff success. Likewise, these developments have the potential to transform the higher education system. Many countries have partnerships with private companies. Simon Morganson (Professor of Higher Education at Oxford University) says in his book that the entire education system of his country has been completely transformed by public-private partnerships.
Higher education is the cornerstone of the country’s development. Education gives people the tools to raise their standard of living and break down gender barriers. Along with this, the higher education system is also facing many challenges. The shortcomings of Pakistan’s higher education system are far from a long-term solution. Obviously, unhealthy curriculum, unaffordable tuition fees, school dropouts and unemployment are major obstacles to the development of our education system.