Image Source: DailyTimes

22nd June 2020: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has been planning to help students in remote areas have access to the internet.

Chairman HEC, Tariq Banuri, said that HEC is seeking special permission from the federal government. If they are granted permission, the decision will help students return to their hostels under strict SOPs so that they can rejoin online classes.

The Chairman also highlighted that the commission is currently in talks with telecommunication companies as well to offer data bundles to students at cheaper rates. He added that his collaboration will prove to be beneficial and will help students have easier access to educational resources.

Last but not least, Banuri shared that the growing demand to waiver fees entirely is not legit; several institutions are already offering cuts in light of the current pandemic. He said that cuts could be considered, but a complete waiver of fees can’t be acceptable.

For fees to be waived-off ultimately, the federal government will have to increase HEC’s annual budget according to the Chairman.

9th June 2020: Pakistani students want the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to suspend online exams and pass students this year without any formal examination.

As the coronavirus pandemic elongates its period, education systems across the world have brought significant changes in their layouts for next semester. The changes mainly include the fee structure and conducting formal exams online at the end of the term.

#SuspendOnlineExams has been trending on twitter as students pour in their concerns

HEC, however, has rejected suspension of exams according to a leading news website.

HEC tweeted, “HEC is addressing students” concerns regarding online classes & exams, BUT promoting students without examination is out of the question.”

It is challenging to get the hang of studying online and also giving exams. In case, if students have been facing challenges, HEC has been actively trying to solve them.

A discussion has taken place with the students to try to solve issues at hand.

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4th June 2020: Pakistani students protest over universities charging a hefty fee for online classes. Many universities across the country are conducting classes online for the next semester as the situation is still unstable.

With a lack of means to pay the hefty fee due to the lockdown, students urge other students to protest against universities as the layout for the summer semester comes out. Hashtag #SayNoToUniversitiesFees has been trending on twitter since then.

A PAF-KIET student says:

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my university, which is asking to pay 50k for the summer semester with only two courses, and of course, classes will be online without any concession since they are saving millions through online courses!!

“Education is not business,” says another user.

With no utility charges, security expenses, examination expenses, other expenses, universities are still increasing the fee or charging the same amount.

After cutting all these expenses, still slowly charging students seems unfair.

A twitter user says, “We have taken online classes for almost two months, we’ve had the worst learning experience ever. They are just trying to complete ‘Credit Hours’; hence fees will be collected. Please stop this system where the faculty doesn’t have any online teaching experience.”

Previously, LUMS, a university in the provincial capital, was heavily criticized on Twitter after massively increasing the fee. Students boycotted the university’s decision to move forward with the increase during a pandemic.

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However, the university clarified later that the increase in fee was supposed to take place even though we are going through a deadly pandemic.

Universities across the world have been giving students discounts as classes continue to be conducted online for the rest of the year.

What do you think about the situation in Pakistan? Let us know in the comment section below.

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