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Nangarhar private universities progressing amid complaints

Nangarhar private universities progressing amid complaints

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Sep 25, 2017 - 20:00

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Private universities and colleges have paved the way for thousands of youth to quench their thirst for higher educationinfo-icon in eastern Nangarhar province, but what concerns the people is the presence of ‘ghost’ students, high tuition fee and particularly low quality education at these institutes.

Private students in Nangarhar province identify unprofessional behavior of their institutes’ administration and the lack of professional and master’s level lecturers other major issues they face.

Private universities and colleges by the name of Spin Ghar, Al-Taqwa, Aryana, Khorasan and Roshan have been established but their goal has been to make profit.

Officials of these institutes claim problems existed in the past have been resolved to some extent.

Students’ complaints and demands:

Students of the Spin Ghar private university in one voice complained against high fees and improper learning environmentinfo-icon, but expressed different opinions regarding imaginary students and practical studies.

Ilham Khan, a second year medical student at the university, rejected the presence of imaginary students, but his other classmates acknowledged the issue, saying such students only appeared for exams.

Riazuddin Riaz, a journalism student, said before admission students were promised complete practical studies, but then backed out of the promise due to lack of resources.

Khorasan is another private university where students complained about high fees and lack of educational facilities.

Asadullah, an economy faculty student at the university, said many students were unable to submit their fees until final examination for being high. “The university administration fines students who fail to submit their fee and not allow them sit exam.”

Al-Taqwa University has two faculties and its students are happy with the teaching process but confirmed imaginary students in the university who only appeared for exams. “These imaginary students are sons of powerful individuals or have strong references.”

Habib Ameri, a first year law student, complained against continued absence of teachers and presence of ghost students in the facility.

The Roshan University is known for higher fee. Its medical students pay 30,000 afghanis per semester, highest in Nangarhar.

Mohammadullah, economy student of the university, said the administration provided more facilities to medical students then economy and law.

They also talked about imaginary students at the university, saying such students belonged to powerful families.

Ayana University, the oldest in Nangarhar, has lost its trust among common people.

People complain the Aryana University issues degrees to students against money.  One of the students at the university spoke on the condition of anonymity.

He said the university’s teaching process and as well the attendance of students and teachers was disorganized and even ‘imaginary’ students also existed there.

Students grumbled the government didn’t monitor universities in a persistent and accurate way and as a result, the situation of education at such institutes was deteriorating.

Civil societyinfo-icon concerns:

A civil society activist and Integrity Watch Afghanistaninfo-icon (IWA)’s representative in Nangarhar, Mohammad Hanif Hashimi, told Pajhwok that the public sector university could not absorb all students, thus leaving many students with no option but to get admission in private institutes.

However, he expressed concern that private varsities only focused on making profit instead of improving their standard of education.

All Afghanistan Federation of Trade Unions AAFTU president Dr. Liaqat Adil told Pajhwok that besides resolving issues university students faced attention should also be paid to finding jobs for them.

Adil said the number of private higher educational institutes had mushroomed in Nangarhar but they faced problems quality-wise.

He said hiring foreign teachers at private universities in Nangarhar was ‘injustice’ with talented Afghan young, urging recruitment of local teachers.

Provincial council’s observation and criticism:

Dr. Nasar Kamawal, who heads the provincial council’s education organizations’ monitoring commission, said that higher educational institutes in Nangarhar had many problems in terms of fees and practical education.

He also confirmed ghost students’ existence in some of the private institutes, saying Aryana University was notorious for that.

Private students’ response:

Officials of the private higher educational institutes in Nangarhar admitted the mentioned issues, but said they have been resolved to a great extent.

Spinghar Higher Education Institute director Dr. Khair Mohammad Momand said fee was charged keeping in view the costs and each student accepted the amount on the day one of their admission and they were satisfied with the fee.

He assured there was no ‘imaginary students’ in his institute because attendance was checked every day and students with excessive absence were even deprived of exams. 

Officials at Alfalah University, which has recently been upgraded to university from a higher education institute, said the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) granted the university status to their institute for best quality.

The university’s political science and law faculty head, Abdul Saboor, acknowledged some issues in practical education and training areas, but said quality had been brought to other spheres.

He said for controlling imaginary students’ phenomenon a computerized attendance database had been set up and that they charged lower fees compared to others. He said about 500 impoverished students had been exempted from fees

Khorasan University is famous for heavy fees, but its administration officials said their aim was imparting quality education.

The university’s public relations head, Bahir Zaland Aurang, said Khorasan was the only private sector university in the east providing bachelor’s and master’s degree education.

He insisted there was no ghost student registered with them and to prevent such cases, they had developed a database system for transparency in students’ attendance.

“Our fee is a little high because we provide better education facilities to students compared to some other universities”, he said.

Officials at Al-Taqwa private university said they had been able to overcome their previous problems.

Abdul Hakim, deputy head of the university, said their education process was fully supervised, student attendance was checked in-time and their lecturers were professional.

He said their university had signed agreements with some institutes for practical education to economy students. “We also offer practical programs and courses for political science and law students”, he said.

Fateh Gul Shinwari, academic assistant at Rrokhan Private University, said proper educational environment, professional teachers, practical education and some other important services were considered high standards in education that needed financial resources.

He said they regularly checked students’ attendance and no absent student was marked as present. He touted the quality of education his university offered as good.

Shinwari said the entry exam at their university was conducted by a special board.

Babrak Miakhel, chancellor of the state-run Nangarhar University, told Pajhwok that thousands of students were getting education at six privately run higher educational institutes in the province.

He said he was discharging his responsibility of supervising exams, fees and education process at private higher education institutes and universities, but it was not his authority to punish.

“Internship in practical education, particularly in the medical area is a major problem in private universities. Other universities have signed internship agreements with Rokhan Private University for their top students”, he said.

Miakhel said private universities had many problems in the past, but they had managed to overcome most of them.

MoHE supervision & control:

Acting Higher Education Minister Abdul Latif Rokhan told a meeting in Kabulinfo-icon that they would launch supervision of the quality of education at all private universities nationwide. He said the private sector higher education institutes would be categorized based on their quality of services.

He said the supervision and categorization would help identify clear private institutes offering high or low quality services.

Amir Mohammad Kamawal, head of private universities and higher education section at MoHE, said 12 years had passed since private higher education institutes and universities were opened in the country, but no specific legislation about them could be done.

He said plans to control ghost students, fees and education process at private institutes had been prepared and some of them had gone into effect.

About fee control, he said a team had been tasked with defining the maximum amount of university fee. About ghost students, he said it was an issue not confined to Nangarhar only.

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