RAHIM YAR KHAN:
The tuition at Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology has drastically increased over the past four years, making it extremely difficult for students to seek admission at the institution, Express News has learnt. The situation has created problems for students who wish to study at the varsity as they are unable to afford the high tuition fee.
Rahim Yar Khan, considered one of the most important and developed districts in southern Punjab, is known for its medical and cadet colleges, industrial SITE and hospitals, which cater to a large number of patients from as far as Sindh and Balochistan. The city is also popular for hosting south Punjab’s biggest college Khwaja Fareed Government Postgraduate College and Islamia University’s sub-campus. In 2014, the district also saw the establishment of Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology.
Former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif showed a keen interest in developing the university. The varsity is affiliated with the Pakistan Engineering Council and the Higher Education Commission and is currently headed by Vice Chancellor Dr Athar Mehboob. The university rose to popularity soon after its establishment. Residents were overjoyed to see a university being developed in their remote, poverty-laden district. The university was a breath of fresh air in the area as it promised modern education for deserving students, who could not afford to travel and reside in other cities.
However, in the past four years, the university has drastically increased the tuition for Bachelor of Science (BS) programmes, going beyond the budget of aspirants. The university is reportedly charging up to three times the tuition at other universities in nearby cities. The BS programme of Islamia University in Bahawalpur is offered for Rs17,800 per semester, while the tuition for the same course is Rs55,000 per semester in Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology. Similarly, the M Phil programme at Islamia University charges Rs28,000 per semester, while the same programme at Khwaja Fareed University stands at Rs97,000 per semester.
The remarkable difference in fees is both disappointing and concerning for the students; Rahim Yar Khan is still considered a backward and under developed region in Punjab. Instead of providing relief to poor citizens, the university’s administration has resorted to collecting exorbitant fees from the students.
A survey by Express News showed that majority of the students enrolled at the institution are of the opinion that semester tuition should be nominal or at most half of the price at other universities. They declared that the unjustified hike in tuition is a ruthless measure. The government should take immediate notice of the tuition hike and prohibit the administration from further burdening citizens, they pointed out.
They demanded that they be refunded for the extra money they have had to pay. They added that the authorities should ensure the allocation of funds and should complete those departments which have been planned. With more departments, the university will not be able to collect excessive fees in the name of development and high operational costs, they maintained. The university should develop to its fullest potential and use its resources to help poor citizens get higher education at an affordable price, they said.