“Look at that building over there, Arif. It’s being built from your money.”
Fits of laughter broke out between our group on this private joke.
The place that my friend pointed was the building under construction on the premises of University of Balochistan, Quetta, and the money he referred to was the amount of the hiked fees that Arif had paid in the recent past for his papers.
This friend studied B.Com and went to the Commerce College, Sariab Road, Quetta. When he failed in his finals and appeared in the supplementary exams he had to pay 4,700 rupees for each subject, which made a total of 9,400 rupees. He had asked for loans from friends and took some money from his family to pay the examination fees.
This amount might not seem to be so high to some people, but when your father is a driver and is the only bread earner, you start worrying. Somehow, he managed to go through the exams and pass one subject, he had again to pay 4,000 rupees for the remaining paper.
The recent hike in the examination fees by University of Balochistan has taken a toll on students like Arif who were shocked to learn that unlike the past when one failed in a single paper had to pay some 700 rupees will now pay 4,700. Either you pay this amount to sit in the exams or you let your previous efforts and money go all in vain.
In 2015, when I submitted my forms for B.A exams as a private candidate, I had to pay 1,000 rupees for registration and 4,700 for examination fees which made a total of 5,700 rupees. Anybody who failed to pass even a single paper would have to pay 4,700 to appear again. When the results were announced some 75% students had failed in at least one of the papers, sending shockwaves among the students. The percentage of failed students was way higher compared to the previous exams.
Some friends of mine who failed faced a hard time arranging the fees as neither they nor their families who supported them financially expected such results. Many people like me believed that the university was doing this deliberately to mint money from students who had no other option but to re-appear.
As if all that was not enough, this year they decided to increase the fees again. The registration fees was increased by 100 rupees this year and the examination fees by 700, totaling 6,500 rupees. It’s a 14 percent increase.
Keeping in mind that Balochistan is the least developed province which ranks the lowest in education, the recent hike in the fees will only discourage students from continuing their education.