In this era of mindless consumerism, everything works for the same altar same purpose: “profit-making”. Fake and non-accredited degrees have been issued by our so-called educators in massive quantity, causing unprecedented deterioration of our youth’s mind. 

First, COMSATS (dual degree) issue; then Indus International Institute DG Khan (interestingly run by minister of communication)l then Federal Urdu University (the irony: government is not affiliating its own institute); Quaid-e-Azam University (law department) – this situation has gotten out of hand. 

Firstly there’s no access to education for the majority lower socioeconomic class, and if there’s any they have to literally wrestle to get the accredited degree. Students have been deceived and kept under the illusions of all-bright future; and when it’s the time to graduate they fall on their head. And if someone manages to get the so-called accredited “degree” then it’s the time to get an enrolment in a job-finding race. The current system pressurizes them to join the market force, where it is inept to produce any space for them. 

Most private universities, including my Alma Mater, increase their fees at an alarming frequency every semester. To rub salt to the injury, students are obligated to pay convocation fee — and on my part, despite my absence during the event. I was told that my official diploma will not be issued, if I refuse to pay. And if someone tries to challenge their dictatorial attitude, they silence them by public shaming, prompting their parents to apologize. At times, they threaten the students to hold their degrees — as recently happened to Fawad Hasan of IoBM Karachi and to the QAU students. 

Instead of educating our young minds, these varsities are systematically dehumanizing their creative faculties and critical sensibilities, turning them into mindless, soulless machines. 

All high ranking institutions here are operating under same teaching attitude - rote learning and its reproduction in exams would ensure you great grades. Genuine quality education is amiss on their agenda list, and as far as they are profiting. During my 4 years in university, I found most of the teachers having poor subject knowledge. They could only read the slides on the projector or download them from SlideShare web-hub. It’s like a drugged system, dragging on a self-set pattern and nobody’s willing to change it as far as it’s pouring the pockets. 

Students have no say and zero representation in any matter of the institution, as university management is utterly unwilling to decentralize their power to its actual stakeholders. The obvious reason is that it will threaten their whimsical rules that are solely placed for power accumulation and wealth generation. 

Access to quality education , to free education , to have say in matter that are affecting students directly or indirectly, to run the affairs of their institutions through democracy and to have an environment free from policing of thoughts where ideas can emerge for the development of progressive society without any fear are some of the basic rights of any student living on any piece of land. 

Despite its growing negative reputation with time, especially in the middle-class diaspora, politics is something we practice and experience every day in our daily lives. For instance, when a traffic warden stops you for whatsoever reason, you try your best until the end to avoid getting the ticket and vice versa, that’s politics. Politics is simply an artful prudence and sagacity. Running off from politics is not sane for students at all as it is going to affect them throughout their lives. 

Every varsity advertises this “preparing for the future” cliché sentence on their prospectus, but can you actually do that by systematically keeping students shunned and away from politics in the very institutes of their own? 

We already have successful models available in form of socialist societies, where quality education is free with equal and same access to all and there’s no sword of fear dangling overheads of youth to left unemployed or employed as an alienated piece in the capitalist machine. Why don’t we student strive to be the first steps in the way of achieving it or at least try to lead the way? 

And, I believe one thing is for sure: health and education should never be privatized or commercialized. 

AUNIL MUNTAZIR,  

Islamabad, January 21.