Hopes shatter, skyrocketing zeal dashes to the ground and expectations breathe last when a student at the end of every semester during his university life—despite topping the class— has to beseech to The Heavens that his university dues be arranged in some way or the other. This is the story of every second person belonging to the marginalized sections of society.
People often say, university gives you those few good years, years that you will crave later in life. That’s true to a great extent, but only case of a few fortunate individuals. It’s a go-to matter for the less fortunate ones that they have to struggle with a plethora of fiscal issues during their university life. If you are blessed with a discerning eye, you are requested to take a round of any public University these days. You will feel like someone has stolen the ever-present smile from the faces of young men that used to reign supreme a few years ago. Regretfully, it is still a norm in our country that only women of elite or middle class families are encouraged to go to university. If in case a young woman goes manage to enroll, there are more than 80% chances that she will opt for dropping out owing to financial issues. I speak from experience.
This coronavirus pandemic as well as the ever surging inflation has proven to be a final nail in the coffin. Every public university is desperately trying to fill the seats of the programs they offered this year. A friend of mine told me that the International Relations(IR) department of a well-known public university uploaded its first merit list on their website in which thirty-six (36) students were selected. You can assume the situation very well from this fact that not a single student came to the University’s premises to verify their documents or gain fee vouchers.
Meanwhile, I have had an opportunity to submit my own semester dues in the bank nearby to my house where I chanced upon my university fellows who were also there for the same purpose. However, that was also the last day to submit the dues. I inquired about their being in the bank on the last day. Their answer was—as could be expected— that they were struggling to amass the required amount. Luckily, they had been successful in doing so. But what about the rest of students who never visited the universities since they opened their gates for Students after months long lockdown?
As the things stand, I can say without a modicum of doubt that many parents are finding themselves unable to provide for their children with two proper meals a day, let alone bearing the latter’s educational expenditures. What the Government of Pakistan can do at the moment is that it should restore merit based scholarships. These scholarships must be given to hardworking students that are struggling financially. The must also ideally halve the dues of every student during this very tough educational year. These steps may provide a sigh of relief to the students.
We are all in this together and we shall together come out of this crises. Sympathy and cooperation are badly needed for the time being. I hope my voice will be heard.