As many as 25 per cent of the 2,209 admission seats at NED University of Engineering and Technology were up for sale during the induction process for the upcoming academic year, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The university officials, insisted, this is their “strategy to come out of the financial crisis”. Apart from the usual 336 seats under the self-finance scheme, the university had for the first time introduced 200 more seats – 50 each in major engineering disciplines of civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical – under the sponsorship scheme. This increase in the number of seats led to an unprecedented total of 536 opportunities for self-financing students.
The students vying for the self-finance seats will pay Rs600,000 – a fee that has seen a nearly 140 per cent rise as it used to be Rs250,000 in 2007. Now the contenders for the sponsor seats will have to pay Rs800,000.
This increase was, however, made necessary due to the financial crunch that the university faces. It faces a net shortfall of around Rs1.4 billion to date in which around Rs665 million were bank loans against investments. It expects to earn revenue worth Rs361.6 million by putting these seats up for sale.
A five-year finance report on NED University that was presented before Sindh governor’s adviser on higher education, maintained that apart from government-announced increase in salaries of public servants, the inordinate number of teaching and non-teaching staff hired by the university during last five years lead to a crisis-like situation.
The decision was taken keeping in view the imminent financial burden on the university in the absence of sufficient grants from the Higher Education Commission (HEC), said the university’s registrar, Engineer Javed Aziz Khan, while talking to The Express Tribune. “Besides, public-sector universities have been facing this constant pressure from the HEC to generate at least 50 per cent of the finances on their own.”
A meagre 43 per cent of over 8,200 applicants, who were vying for a total of 2,209 admission seats in 22 different disciplines at NED University, managed to clear the entrance test that was held on September 28.
Applicants had to meet the entrance test benchmark of 50 numbers out of 100 to be declared eligible for admissions, based on their results in the Intermediate exams. A majority of them could not, however, get through. When it comes to admissions to NED University, most students, ironically, consider the entrance test as a mere formality.
While around 88 per cent of the A’ level graduates managed to clear the entrance test, the performance of Board of Intermediate Education Karachi graduates was below par, said the university’s admissions director, Dr Muhammad Tufail while talking to The Express Tribune.
Only 52 per cent of the latter, a majority of whose had scored ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ grades in the Intermediate managed to score 50 marks in the test.
The performance of other provincial boards of intermediate education was even worse as around 17 per cent of the Hyderabad board, 20 per cent of the Sukkar board, 15 per cent of the Mirpur Khas board and eight per cent of the Larkana board managed to pass the test.
The performance by students from Federal Board of Inter-mediate and Secondary Education graduates was much better as compared to their counterparts at the provincial boards of education. Around 72 per cent of the federal board students passed the test.
The university’s admissions director said that the final merit list is expected to be displayed on October 18, following which the university will conduct interviews of the successful candidates on October 20 for their final placement. The classes for the new academic batch will begin from October 31, followed by the orientation day, which is to be held a day earlier.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2013.