KARACHI: The Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan (APSUP) Chairman Prof. Dr. Ch. Abdul Rehman has written a letter to the Federal Education & Professional Training Minister Shafqat Mahmood, demanding timely commencement of autumn semester 2021 at private varsities.
The letter reads; “APUSUP is an elected representative body of 85 private sector universities with 31 regional campuses having more than 40% students in the higher education sector across Pakistan. Like any other sector, the third wave of COVID-19 has severely affected the higher education sector as well. Private sector universities are playing a pivotal role in providing quality education by taking many timely measures like redesigning educational models to avoid disrupting academic system during a pandemic”.
It further read that since a prolonged closure of higher education institutes is undergoing uncertainty about reopening timeframe, the situation has gotten even more stressful with the Government’s latest decision about delaying the commencement of Autumn Semester 2021. This decision will cause an irreparable loss to students in terms of disrupting their academic journey and resulting in further stress and unrest among them.
At the outset of this development, the already troubled financial system of private sector universities is going to be collapsed which is hardly surviving on their own without any substantial relief from the Government during the pandemic. By implementing the decision of delaying the commencement of Autumn Semester 2021, it will be impossible to meet recurring financial cost i.e. faculty & staff salaries and operational expenses because private HEIs depend solely on admissions for their financial sustainability.
Therefore, it is requested that the admission process for the autumn semester of 2021 may not be delayed and universities are given permission to open admissions for Autumn Semester 2021 as per their academic schedule.
The APSUP Chairman has proposed that the best international practices may be followed by the Government of Pakistan if it becomes difficult to conduct exams physically during June-July 2021, like the School-Assessed Grades, College-Assessed Grades system should be adopted so that students may not further suffer academically and mentally and get a fair opportunity for promotion on the basis of marks/grades secured in internal examinations. This step will also be helpful in protecting the students from the deadly 3rd wave of COVID-19 and mental stress as well.
APSUP, being an important stakeholder, assures its utmost cooperation to the current government in enhancing access, improving quality in higher education sector and contributing to socio-economic development of the country and look forward to your kind consideration of our proposal for the timely commencement of Autumn Semester 2021.