Centres charging students Rs 8,000 to 19,000 for preparing them for engineering, medical and other tests - Tuition academies are busy fleecing students under the garb of entry test preparations, Pakistan Today has learnt. Intermediate Examinations ended on Monday and now students face an uphill task of passing entry tests for admission in various varsities and institutes. Students and their parents are rattled to see the fees of tuition centres, which range between Rs 8,000 to 19,000. Various tuition centres are publicising their entry test packages throughout the city using newspaper ads, banners, posters and fliers. Students aspiring to join engineering and medical professions have to go through the Engineering Colleges Admission Test (ECAT) and Medical Colleges Admission Test (MCAT) respectively.
Tuition academies also offer preparation of entry tests of NUST, FAST, GIKI, PU, COMSATS and NTS. These preparatory courses normally range from two to three months. ECAT is conducted by the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore while the University of Health Sciences (UHS) conducts MCAT. ECAT is scheduled on July 24 while students claim that entry tests prove that the government did not trust board exams and depends on further assessment to evaluate students. According to details, a famous test preparatory academy, KIPS, is charging Rs 14,800 for MCAT, 14,300 for ECAT while the combined fees of entry test preparation of all varsities is Rs 19,000.
Business of entry test books is also on the rise, as academies coaching students, also publish their own books for entry tests and ask students to buy them. A famous academy Naveed Majeed did not only coach students but also publishes entry test preparatory books. A cluster center of Intermediate exams at the Lawrence Road witnessed a rush of people publicising their academy by distributing pamphlets outside gate of the centre. An academy owner claimed that they had to increase fees due to raising costs of electricity. He said that the academy also needs a huge amount for generator fuel in order to cope with load shedding, whereas salaries of teachers have also been increased due to high inflation.
The academy owner said that extensive preparation of two months could change the whole life of a student due to which thousands of students enroll for preparation. These academies also offer preparation for Inter-Services Selection Board (ISSB) tests for selection in the armed forces. They also guarantee 100 percent results and normally retired officers of the armed forces teach students. Academies magnetise students by showing previous position holders of entry tests in newspaper ads, notice boards and pamphlets. Academicians claim that the Punjab CM introduced entry tests and also announced to end them but failed to do so.
A college teacher said that students, after getting extraordinary course study in their college, have to go through another obstacle in order to get admission. He said that quality of board exams should be enhanced in order to avoid further assessments. The teacher said that forcing students to buy typical books for exams preparation should not be allowed at any cost. Student Danish said that until students and international examiners have a total trust on our examination system, these tests should carry on but the government should facilitate students of public-sector colleges. He asked the government to start preparatory classes of these tests in public-sector colleges in order to address problems of students.
Danish said that a family with Rs 20,000 monthly income could not afford Rs 14,000 entry test fees for a single child. Despite several attempts, Punjab Higher Education Additional Secretary Chaudhry Akram and the department spokesmen were not available for comments.