GILGIT: Karakoram International University is hit hard by a financial crisis. The university faces a shortfall of around 100 million rupees.
This was revealed in a letter written by Vice Chancellor of KIU Prof. Dr. Attaullah Shah to request allocation of more funds for Gilgit-Baltistan’s first university.
The Vice Chancellor has requested CM and Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as FCNA’s commander, and the Chairman of HEC to reverse the decision of de-affiliating the region’s public schools and colleges from the KIU Examination Board, citing loss of revenue.
In his letter, the Vice Chancellor explained that due to 43 Million budgetary cut from HEC and loss of revenue of Rs.50 Million due to de-affiliation, KIU is facing a huge shortfall of about Rs.100 Million. KIU has already adopted austerity measures to save 35 Million but to fill the gap, the only option left was to increase the tuition fee.
At present the University fee ranges from 12000 to 20000. Hence increase in fee was inevitable. “Due to this [fee increment] an unrest has been started at the campus but we have shifted minimum burden to students. The fee have been increased for the programs where the semester fee was very low from Rs.12000 to 15000. Very little increase has been made in programs where fee is reasonable”, the VC has said.
While justifying the fee hike, the VC has advised the students and their parents to support KIU in this hour of need.
The VC has further written: “The average per month fee in most of the programs is less than the fee of good schools in Gilgit. VC KIU also requested the GB Assembly, Chief Minister and Education Minister to revert their decision of de-affiliation of Govt Schools and Colleges from KIU External Exam. VC KIU, after joining in June 2018 has revamped the Examination system of KIU. He also requested Chairman HEC for additional allocation to the fund of 50 million to avert this crisis. At present HEC is providing only 40% financial support to KIU, whereas only 35% are generated from fee revenue and 25% from External Exams. He also requested other stakeholders for financial support. KIU has established Higher Education Endowment Fund and all philanthropist are requested to generously donate to the fund, which will be used for scholarships of students.”
Recently, various student organizations have started an agitation at the university, reject the fee hike. The students have said that transferring the financial burden to the students and their families is an inconsiderate. The students have said that in view of Gilgit-Baltistan’s economic conditions, the federal and provincial government should further subsidize tertiary education in the region.
KIU Examination Board Controversies
The demand for forcing public schools and colleges to affiliate with the KIU Examination Board, for revenue generation, is being condemned by the public in view of quality concerns. In the past, there have been widespread allegations that the KIU Examination Board was involved in preparing results based on sectarian and regional biases. There have also been various reports of examination papers being leaked by certain faculty members. Some faculty members and staff are under investigation for leaking examination papers.
In November 2018, KIU informed Pamir Times that they had cancelled a paper after receiving complaints about the alleged leak. The KIU Public Relations department had also said that an Inquiry Committee has been constituted to investigate the allegations. There have not been any reports since then about the findings of the inquiry committee.