Grad schools: Expensive education

Published: May 26, 2011

I don’t think I will be able to afford the good ones, at least not in the near future.

‘Profit-making machines! That’s what these educational institutions have become’, I keep shouting out, sometimes to my friends, at times in my head.

I just can’t stop cursing our top grad schools; they are so unaffordable, especially for the average income families. My frustration arises from the fact that our educational institutions have transformed into these lucrative profit-seeking businesses that leave ‘consumers’ (as they would call the ‘students’ in their business jargon) drained of their earnings and savings.

I finished my undergrad programme almost a year back and now I’m hunting for grad schools in Pakistan. After having made my parents go through the trauma of paying for my four-year bachelor’s programme at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) – which cost my family more than Rs1.1 million – I cannot subject them to more misery by making them pay for a master’s degree from their meagre savings.

Hence, the onus of my education is on me. After having done some research on the masters’ programmes offered by local universities, I don’t think I will be able to afford the good ones, at least not in the near future. Lums costs around Rs1.2 million just for two years; if I don’t have lands in Sindh, or if my father is not some big shot corporate sell-out, there is no way I can afford it right now.

Yes, I am told that both Lums and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) dedicate a major chunk of fee increases to aid programmes like the Sindh Talent Hunt Programme (IBA) and the National Outreach Programme (LUMS). I’m also given the argument that the exorbitant cost of education is necessary to attract quality professors, to invest in the infrastructure of the university, to add sports and other extracurricular activities etcetera to it. However, I will not buy this argument that supports the commercialisation of education, since I am also fully aware that these prestigious universities get millions in donations from corporations.

And although I don’t want the government to completely take over (since the standard of education in the university is sure to fall if that happens), I still propose the government should subsidise higher education costs more often to facilitate students.


Sarah Khan

A sub-editor on the sport pages of The Express Tribune

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