As many as 16 stalls were set up by various educational institutes and education consultants at the central courtyard of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) on Friday for the Third LUMS Annual Education Fair.
The event, first held in 2009, is being organised by the LUMS Career Services Office (CSO). Educational institutions from five countries including US, Germany, Canada, Singapore and the UK participated, including University of Warwick, University of Buckingham, Cardiff University, Queen Mary University, University of London and University of Hertfordshire. Organisations such as DAAD – German Academic Exchange Service, Alliance Francaise, British Council and the US Consulate also participated.
Organisers said the attendance and number of participants has gradually increased. Last years fair hosted 13 organisations and universities with an audience of 1,300.
LUMS CSO officer Ali Mumtaz Waraich said universities from the US, UK and Canada are popular amongst students. “We try to invite quality education programmes which attract our students,” he said.
“I am either looking for a fully-funded scholarship or research opportunity in the US,” said Farooq Haider, a student at LUMS. Haider, who is completing his masters in Computer Sciences from LUMS, said he wanted to pursue another Masters in his discipline from the US. “Education in the US is very expensive and that holds students back from going abroad. We look for scholarship oppurtunities,” he said.
“A number of LUMS students wish to pursue higher education abroad…our aim is to facilitate them,” LUMS CSO deputy manager Masooma Zeeshan said.
Zeeshan said the fair drew dispersed crowds after it started at 2:30pm and ran till sunset. “Students drop by when they get time but the overall attendance was very good,” she said.
“We prefer calling this an information session…students have a platform to pose their queries,” she said.
‘Students want ‘fully-funded’ scholarships’
“Education is increasingly commercial and very expensive,” said Shoaib Jaffer, who works at the Etimad Education Consultants. “Students opt for scholarship programmes which bear some of the tuition fee,” he said. Jaffer said students rarely seek the advise of education counselors and directly apply for scholarships. “Several universities offer merit scholarships to students but students are hesitant to apply,” he said.
Aroosa Subhani, who works as a counselor with the University of Warwick international office, said most Pakistani students apply in the fields of finance, accounting, business administration and public relations. She said as many as 100 students from Pakistan join the University of Warwick each year, including students from LUMS, Lahore School of Economics and Institute of Business Administration. She said since the university attracts a large number of Pakistani students each year, it participates in various education fairs and conducts information sessions throughout the country on the programmes it offers.
University of Buckingham country representative Imran Fayyaz said the university conducts various sessions throughout the year in major cities, including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. “We tried to conduct a few seminars in Faisalabad as well but the response was not good,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2012.