Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

Students demand semester fee waiver

HEC promises to assuage grievances, refuses to cancel exams


​ Our Correspondent June 04, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Scores of university students gathered outside the Higher Education Commission’s secretariat in Islamabad on Wednesday, demanding that the apex regulator of higher education ask varsities to waive semester fees since campuses are closed.

The commission, while promising to address genuine concerns of students, refused to automatically promote students without any exams.

In the wake of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the government had directed to close campuses of higher education institutions and instead directed them to continue semesters through online classes.

But with the pandemic exerting immense financial pressures, scores of university students from across the country gathered outside the Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) offices on Wednesday and demanded that their full semester fees should be waived.

They further demanded that varsities stop their online classes and instead promote students to the next semester without conducting any examinations, as had been done for students of matriculation and intermediate.

With placards in hand, the students shouted slogans and blocked the Service Road for traffic.

Claiming that the pandemic has affected them severely, student Aswad Shiraz had called out varsities for charging the full semester fees, declaring it “immoral” and “unfair”.

HEC addresses concerns

Meanwhile, the HEC assured students that their problems will be resolved.

HEC officials said that students were told that the commission, in collaboration with PTA and telcos, is  resolving the connectivty issue apart from quality of lectures.

However, the students were categorically informed that promoting them without examination was out of the question.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2020.

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