For those of us who can’t afford private college

Published: December 12, 2010

Private education is not an affordable for most university students

As a student, I knew I had to score a high grade in my Intermediate Board exams to get into a decent university. Unfortunately, I also knew an ‘A’ grade could not guarantee admission.

In the face of financial constraints and family restrictions my options were limited. There was never a question of what I wanted to be, what I liked doing or what I was good at because only one thing mattered: what my family could afford. I knew my choice was likely to be a government university.

‘We can’t afford it’

My experience taught me that government universities,  charge nearly a quarter what private universities charge. I don’t blame private institutes for their exorbitant fees since they do provide students with a competent faculty and a good environment.

But for those of us who cannot afford private education, the fact is scholarships and financial assistance cannot to be depended on – the safest route is to get admission based on merit.

I got an ‘A’ but didn’t get admission

Admission by merit is not fool proof. This year NEDUET, an engineering college in Karachi, began merit admission from 79 per cent and above. This means lots of students with an A grade were left to seek admission at a government university. (The high percentage was a result of a new paper pattern.)

Many students with high scores end up in government universities where they have a chance for a better future. The most recent Intermediate results in mathematics were astounding. 1,200 students scored an A-1 grade. Ninety per cent of these students belonged to middle class families and have two to three younger siblings.

Do what you love

Studies have shown that people are more loyal to their work and profession if they enjoy it. You don’t really need a research study for that it’s just common sense. If you love your job, your passion drives you to success. If you love to know how things work, become an engineer. Just be something you want to be and don’t bow down to the pressure of family traditions and what people say – remember, life is too short to have regrets.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 12, 2010

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that NEDUET is a private institution.


Anam Ashraf Ali

A system engineering student currently studying at NEDUET

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Shahid

    Editors please do some fact-checking on the blogs that you publish. NED is a state run university, a chartered public university with the Governor of Sindh as it’s Chancellor.Recommend

  • muhammad irfan

    why don’t female bloggers in pakistan write about the prevailing attitude in our society that if a girl works then it has to be “o bichari kisi MAJBOORI ki waja se ghar se bahar nikli hogi”.
    why is this sickening attitude so prevalent in our culture.
    why can’t a woman work,have a career & earn herself for her own selfrespect & sense of achievement?why can’t a woman behave like an equal human being & leave her house to enjoy her life & see the world?
    why is it only the right of men to work & earn money?our girls should start dreaming about being brand managers,CFO’S,barristers & executives rather than dreaming of being pretty engough for some caveman to approve of them & then begging him for their “pocketmoney” every monthRecommend

  • Sajjad Ahmed

    I see Bahria College’s main gate picture in the background. Without doubt, the college has churned out many great entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors etc at notably high positions throughout the country and abroad.Recommend

  • Nadeem Hussain Arain, TCFiet

    Dear Blogger and editor, as my friend Shahid mentioned above about the status of NEDUET,
    NED is a public sector University. Most of the readers in our society totally relie on the Newspaper sources and specially the students those read these sort of blogs totally based on the writer. So please make sure that you people do not make these sort of Mistakes which can damage your credibility!
    Thank you.Recommend

  • Talat

    “do what you love” madam students aspire to get admission in good colleges/universities because then their chances of getting a decent job increase, people simply can’t choose a career of their liking, well you know why…Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    Happens here a lot. Actually the author should do the fact-finding too.

    @Anam Ashraf Ali:
    Good post. But where does the sense lie?Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    Well some one should write about forced occupations, professions, degrees, careers which parents force upon their children, due to a variety of reasons, ranging from financial needs of the family, or matters of personal pride, like telling people with pride o my child is a doctor or an engineer, at times there is even forced professional heritage, a doctor wants his son to be a doctor, an engineer wants his son to be an engineer and so on.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    The topic was good but not well executed. Its a Bejaan read.Recommend

  • Dr, Mueed

    Even the public sctor colleges are not so economical now, atleast med schools!
    I did MBBS from Dow Medical COllege in 2008 and my accumulative tution fee for five years was less than 75 K,(Avg. 15 K a year). Now in 2010, it’s 45 K per semester (90 K a year). I don’t know how many from the lower middle class can afford it!Recommend

  • parvez

    If I’m not wrong the country spends some 2% of its GDP on education, which shows the importance this gets. How does one expect things to improve with such priorities ?Recommend

  • Anam Ashraf Ali

    “This means lots of students with an A grade were left to seek admission at a government university. (The high percentage was a result of a new paper pattern.)”

    What I meant by this was many students then try to get an admission at Karachi University, the engineering ones change their fields and apply for applied chem, applied physics and mostly the medical ones go for pharmD.

    I study at NEDUET… I know its a government university. My point wasnt to compare private institutes to government. My point was that many grade A students due to lack of seats at government universities are left stranded even with decent grades cause they don’t have the money to try for private universities.Recommend

  • Bilal

    I would agree with the writer’s point of view. I would like to add that it is not just financial difference but also the education standard difference as well which does not help you to qualify for better university.. I am sorry to say those guys who have poor educational background are unable to clear the test.. this is not their fault if they could not avail better opportunities in the past… so judging a student by a aptitude test in completely unfair…..

    the system only polishes, those kids who are from better schools hence they are offered better jobs and so the cycle is with their generations where as there are lesser opportunities for a guy who belongs to poor family and poor educational background… Recommend

  • bilal danish

    well my family is just going through financial crisis my parents still managed to send one of us abroad … me .. to a boarding school….i didnt have much financial probs in the begging but now its very hard!!! sooo school is sooo nice .. they gave me scholarship i started to do what i love late … and i will become an artist … financial probs wont stop me from becoming artist … we just need passion for what we love … .Recommend