Parents and teachers have expressed their concerns over the shifting of universities to suburbs of Lahore, as the move is causing financial problems, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Various universities located in the middle of Lahore were forced to construct larger campuses in the city’s suburbs to meet the demands of higher education and the ever-increasing number of students.
University buses charge Rs 2,000 to 4,000 per month for transporting students to varsities located at the Burki and Raiwind roads. If a student spends Rs 3,000 per month on transporting charges, the whole four-year undergraduate programme would cost him approximately Rs 0.15 million excluding the vacations.
People complained that even prestigious educational institutions had opened their campuses outside the city putting an extra burden on the students. According to parents, precious time of students is wasted due to the long distances between the university campus and their homes.
According to private university sources, sky-rocketing property prices and unavailability of big lands in the city had forced them to construct campuses outside the city. Students complain that their precious time is wasted while waiting for university buses.
Bilal, a MBA student at the Lahore School of Economics (LSE) located at Burki Road, said, “Our university charges too much for the bus service. It’s difficult for students belonging to middle class families to pay the transportation charges along with the tuition fees.”
LSE spokesman Javed Ahmed told Pakistan Today that the institution is providing a shuttle bus service from their Liberty campus to Burki campus and most of the students could afford their own conveyance as well. “We offer a bus service but it’s not free of cost as we have to pay the price of fuel,” he said.
Parents demanded all stakeholders including the Punjab government, the Higher Education Commission (HEC), university owners and parents to devise a mechanism for solving the problem. Muhammad Jamil, father of a student, said, “The gap between the rich and poor is widening day by day. There used to be a difference between government and English medium schools but now only the rich could afford sending their children to private universities, as it is almost impossible to send our children to universities located in the city’s suburbs.”
“The fuel of my motorcycle costs at least Rs 2,000 per month. The government should facilitate universities in buying big lands in the city,” said a student of D-Pharmacy at a university located at the Raiwind Road. He said that he usually missed his first class of the day, as he had to cover a distance of 20 kilometres daily.
Speaking on why students preferred private universities, Ali Asad, a student, said, “It’s difficult to meet the merits of public-sector universities and the quality of education provided by private-sector universities has improved since the last couple of years.”