Should private colleges be allowed to magnetize prospective students through cash prizes?


Why more students joining private colleges in Punjab? Explained!

By Khalid Khattak

Every year when the results of Secondary School Certificate (Matriculation) are announced in Punjab, admission ‘frenzy’ private colleges put up ads offering cash prizes to prospective students who have scored well in the exams.

This year 700 public sector colleges in Pakistan’s Punjab province enrolled 34% of total students who passed Matric (grade-10) for further education i.e., Intermediate (Grade-11) program. Contrary to this, almost 40% students went for over 1,400 private colleges. The figures about enrollment in private colleges are estimated but are strongly supported by the following facts and might be slightly high. Read this story.

The following interactive chart explains where rest of the students were enrolled for further education.




Big question

Why did more students go for private colleges?

First, obviously there are more private colleges, even double, than the public ones. These colleges also operate from morning till evening or even night unlike public colleges where second shift (afternoon classes) are offered only in a dozen or two colleges. It is pertinent to mention here that most of the private institutes are far poor than public colleges in terms of infrastructure and that’s why these operate in different shifts.

Secondly, the private sector is doing business and makes utmost efforts to attract more and more students. For example, Pakistan’s largest group of private colleges, Punjab Group of Colleges, owned by one of the country’s largest media groups Dunya News Network offers cash prizes to high achievers of Matric exams (prospective students) if they take admissions in its colleges. Besides the group offers fee waivers and special discounts to the students who had scored well in previous exams for getting admissions in its colleges. Similar ‘initiatives’ are taken by Superior Group of Colleges owned by Nai Baat Media Network.

In this way, most of the private colleges ‘cash in’ on high achievers to attract more and more students. And when these students, appearing from their colleges perform well in exams it adds to their ‘quality’ education proof.

PGCSuperior College


For several years, the private colleges have been advertising ‘cash prizes‘ and ‘gifts including cars‘ to attract prospective students especially high achievers/ toppers of Matric to get admissions for higher studies and this all has been going on unnoticed!

Thirdly, unlike private colleges, the public ones are not well managed or looked after. For example, against over 21,000 sanctioned teaching posts, around 15,000 are filled in government colleges. One fourth of the colleges are without regular principals!

There are issues related to overstaffed and understaffed colleges too. For example, Government Degree College, Shahkot, district Nankana Sahib has two teachers for journalism subject with around 20-30 students while in Government MAO College of Lahore, the provincial metropolis, there is shortage of teachers for journalism subject.

If this cannot happen in private colleges, why its happening in public colleges? 


Check out division-wise enrollment in public colleges across Punjab.



Photo credit: Main photo from gallery of Govt College, Township, Lahore.