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 Pakistan plans cheaper education to lure foreign students

  KARACHI, November 6 (Internews): The Pakistan government is working on a  plan to lower the fee structure for foreign students studying in  Pakistani universities and educational institutions, it is learnt.
 The fee structure is being revised by the ministry of education in the
 light of a recent directive by President Pervez Musharraf.
 Sources said the President had in the recent past issued directives that
 fee structure for foreign students be appropriately reduced to a
 realistic level to encourage enrolment in the country's universities.
 The University Grants Commission has asked the universities and
 institutions in its jurisdiction to suggest a revised fee structure for
 foreign students in the light of Musharraf's approved guidelines and
 intimate the Commission immediately.
 The Ministry of Education had revised the fee only twice for foreign
 students during the last two decades.
 Under a policy of the ministry, five per cent of the total seats are
 initially reserved for foreign students for a period of 45 days from the
 last date of receiving applications in a particular academic session in
 all universities subject to availability of hostel facilities, and if
 aspirants do not apply, these are filled with local students.
 The ministry had fixed an annual tuition fee between Rs 50,000 and Rs
 450,000 for foreigners studying at different levels of professional and
 general study in 1997.
 The fee rates are as follows: BA/BSc Rs 50,000; MA/Arts, education,
 law/MPhil/PhD Rs 50,000; MBA/Computer Rs 60,000; MSc/MPhil/PhD, all
 science subjects Rs 70,000; engineering Rs 350,000 ($9,000); agriculture
 Rs 100,000 ($2,500) and medicine/dentistry Rs 450,000 ($11,000).
 A survey of the public universities in Karachi reveals that the foreign
 students are being charged less than what was prescribed by the
 education ministry in October 1997.
 The NED University has devised its own system of charging fee from
 students, including foreign students. The system, sources said, has been
 approved by the statutory bodies of the university.
 The last time that tuition fee for foreign students was enhanced in
 An amount of Rs 56,000 has been fixed for first year, and Rs 18,000 each
 for second, third and final year per head which is presently being
 charged from foreign students, who numbered around 12.
 In the case of the University of Karachi, where 54 students are enrolled
 as regular students, the fee structure of 1997 is applicable, but at the
 same time authorities also adhere to an order of the education ministry
 issued in 1988 in which the university was asked to give special
 concessions to students belonging to some 30 countries.
 According to the education ministry list, students from Somalia,
 Ethiopia, Sudan, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Palestine, Lebanon, Thailand,
 Philippine, South Africa, Yemen Arab Republic, Nepal and Bangladesh are
 entitled of a 100 per cent exemption, but liable to pay fee at par with
 local students.
 Students coming from Iran, Iraq, Sri-Lanka and diplomats and their
 children could be given an exemption of 75 per cent, while students from
 Turkey, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria,
 Kenya, USA, Australia and Germany are entitled of a 50 per cent
 exemption in fee prescribed by the education ministry, added the source.
 It was further learnt that some years back, the ministry had informed
 the university about withdrawal of exemption, but the instructions could
 not be implemented as another letter was received by the university
 asking again for concessions in some cases.
 It was deemed better to strict to the 1988 list of countries allowed
 exemption in fee as the fresh orders were more confusing on the subject
 of tuition fee of foreign students, said sources in the varsity.

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