pakistan
Saturday Oct 23 2021
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'Reverse the fee hike': Postgraduate students on hunger strike at Sindh University

Students at the Sindh University in Jamshoro are on a hunger strike, protesting a recent fee hike. Photo courtesy: Author
Students at the Sindh University in Jamshoro are on a hunger strike, protesting a recent fee hike. Photo courtesy: Author

Students of the postgraduate program at the Sindh University in Jamshoro have been on a hunger strike for over a month, protesting the sudden increase in college fees.

The students of the M.Phil and PhD programs were outraged after the University, recently, fixed the admission fee for each semester at Rs34,000. Earlier, students paid an annual fee of Rs35,000.

The decision was taken at a board meeting of the administration on June 12.

Subsequently, fee challans were issued by the University on July 27, giving students only till October 22 to pay up. Students who could not afford the required amount were deprived of the opportunity to enroll at the University this semester.

Protesters say the administration’s decision is “anti-education”. The students told Geo.tv that when they first announced plans to demonstrate the vice chancellor, Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro, met them.

He told them that the University was low on funds and needed to hike the fee to bankroll the postgraduate programs. Kalhoro did not respond to Geo.tv’s request for comments.

Sanjha Channa, an M.Phil scholar and leader of the Progressive Students Federation Hyderabad, said that there was already no drinking water at the campus and no sanitation facilities. “Where are the University funds being spent then?” he asked.

Channa added that 90% of the students studying at the University of Sindh come from the lower and middle class. “If they don’t reverse their decision, I don't think students like me will be able to continue our studies.”

However a statement released by Nadir Mughrei, the PRO of the Sindh University, has called on students to respect the decision of the University’s board.

In response, the protesting students released their own statement, promising to continue their hunger strike until the new fee increase is yanked.

“Due to non-representation of students in the board, such student hostile decisions are made,” the students’ statement read, “We demand that the increased fees be withdrawn immediately and that the existing fee structure be implemented.”