In view of the increasing demand for education in the country, a gradual rise in the number of private universities has been witnessed since the 1990s, filling the gap left by government universities. Unfortunately, unscrupulous elements stepped into the field solely with the aim of making money on the pretext of promoting education. They have been helped in their money-grubbing enterprise by lax regulations and lack of proper oversight by the authorities. A large number of private universities, without reportedly receiving accreditation from the Higher Education Commission, have sprung up in different parts of the country. The consequences of the bad practices are disastrous for students. Gullible pupils get admission to substandard universities in the hope of pursuing higher education in a suitable academic atmosphere expecting required attention from qualified teachers. They enroll in these institutions on an expensive self-finance basis.
Students get attracted to such private varsities by the art of persuasion. Visually they are presented as having impressive campuses and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. This ostentatious representation of institutions of higher learning attracts scores of students. The HEC says it keeps a proper watch on private universities, and periodically publishes warnings in newspapers about fake universities. The sad thing is that unregistered private institutions are mushrooming by the day in the absence of oversight by the authorities. A large number of such varsities are functioning in three and two rooms of bungalows. They offer teaching of subjects like business management and other such courses that can be run with minimum infrastructure and facilities.
The importance of genuine private universities cannot be ignored. Efficient private universities are assisting the country in saving precious foreign exchange, as pupils enroll in universities whose standards are on a par with those of institutions in other countries. The need is only to deal with an iron hand varsities that are there only to mint money.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2022.