It took quite a while, but the time finally came when I got admission in a Public sector Institute to complete my master’s degree. I always had a dream of getting admission in LUMS, LSE, PCBA or PAK-AIMS but I was not able to get in somehow reason either I was late or there were some financial constraints. In the meanwhile I got a job in bank and started working for in search of greener pastures with the reverie of completing master degree someday. And after six months I quitted the job on the pretext of my desire to hold a master’s degree and started my pursuit for the same. I avoided any public sector university, knowing importance and wonders of a recognized degree, where admissions are given on merit basis as I was not a fresh graduate and would automatically get disqualified.
It was on one historic Sunday morning when my uncle called me just to tell about the advertisement for admission in an Institute of Punjab University, instantly I looked out for the advertisement and was pleased to see the requirements of inaugural afternoon program and was thrilled to see that I meet the criteria. After submission of the forms I kept praying that I get admission this time, finally my prayers were answered and I got admission in the Masters in Finance degree program of the Institute. The inaugural afternoon session and a new-fangled degree, there were few tall claims and promises were made to the first batch. They wanted to market their degree emphatically and all they have to do is to prepare the batch of students to meet the market standards and the latest curriculum, as there was no better way of marketing their degree.
My two years long journey at the institute started on the fateful January of 2003 in a two lecture room department to provide education to a little more than two hundred students of morning and afternoon program and also the strength of our seniors. There was a space constriction right away and to solve the problems faced by the students the first semester of afternoon program was shifted to Higher Energy Physics Department. The classes started with regular introductory sessions and after reading the course outlines and hearing the pattern of imparting the knowledge I was happy if not overjoyed.
The preconceived notion about any public sector institute is their unwillingness to the use of modern ways of teaching. But what I saw was a totally different picture the teachers were eager to use multimedia, power points, quizzes and asked for more students’ participation. In the first semester the lecturers were emphatic and gave us all a real tough time and importantly made us study. The picture at that time looked really sunny and impeccable. Yes! The two years study here will allow them to compete in the job market thought all the students, but little they knew what is in store for them.
The second semester started with same will and eagerness to gain knowledge, but with the exception of few the lecturers failed to carry forward the zeal of the students and failed to provide the impetus they were required to provide apart from the students’ own efforts. Still the second semester was fine enough with some gray areas. With the assignments getting fewer along with the presentations and the scrutiny required in judging the student’s work and capabilities.
Starts the third semester and our miseries are all set to increase. The students were dealt with much carelessness ignoring their cause all the way. The standard they themselves set in the first and second semester, though the standards were followed in bits and pieces in second semester, started declining. The students were deprived of the quality education and it is one feature which is attached to most of the public sector institutes, if not all. Yes their degree is recognized and this is one of the main reasons for which students get admission in such institutes. So the story of our darkness continued and we are provided with an inexpensive and ineffective education in the real sense of the world. This was the time when dreaded my decision of getting admission in this institute but at that point of time I was left with no choice but to continue with it and bear all the strings of unhappiness attached.
The scenario even worsened in the fourth semester but I was happy and relieved that it is going to end soon with all the rough treatment. The specialization subject became a mere shaggy dog story for us and the approach all we have to follow is stay calm, careless and enjoy with no real pressure of studies. This is not the way the specializations are dealt with. The specialization needs special attention, care and involvement on the part of the faculty as well as students. But the state of concern was that one out of the two was always lagged behind and most of the times it was the faculty. And by the end of the two years program I have a recognized master’s degree. When I look back all I see is modest learning, a lot of friends and antagonist, some good reminiscences of the wholesome entertainment and few qualms especially of times when most of the people wrongly quoted me and misinterpreted me.
Lastly I should give the credit due to the deserving members of the faculty of the institute, in which I was studying, who has the sincerity and willingness to develop a good breed of students and transfer knowledge to them and make them assiduous for most of the times. They are surviving in the non-professional environment and are struggling as well at times but hats off to them they have not lost the zeal and zest. Let me talk about the members of faculty who made me wonder of their credibility as a good spokesperson and as a hub of information to be transmitted forward and more importantly their appointment as lecturers’ of masters degree program. The credit for hiring them also goes to the director and company of the institute who made it very sure that their eye candies were appointed with no teaching experience, no real knowledge but seizing good grades from the same institute are thus rewarded the important position by depriving so many.
All said and done, the revelation is that the one major area of improvement in the public sector institutes, which is offering quality and inexpensive education affordable by all and sundry, is quality of education and how it is transmitted not to forget the milieu of study. The bureaucratic structures needs to be reengineered and has to be more participative. The courses need to be redesigned, faculty needs to be revamped and continuous process of quality improvement and gaining knowledge should be followed. They have to set standards and help in developing a contingent which has got all it takes to strive and live in the competitive environment of the globalize regime.
I do hope that the prevailing situation will change someday somehow and this sector becomes more vigilant and diligent. But bringing this change requires sincere efforts from both faculty members and students. The public sector is still way beyond the standards of some private institutes, though it has started changing the traditional trends but it requires more than that to combat the standard set by LUMS, LSE, PAK-AIMS and PCBA, to name a few.