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March 22, 2020

Private universities’ body seeks relief package

Lahore

March 22, 2020

LAHORE : Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan (APSUP) has written a letter to the prime minister to seek an “educational relief package” in the wake of closure of education institutions following coronavirus cases in the country and possible lockdown.

The APSUP requested the prime minister to help universities in making arrangements to give salaries to teaching and non-teaching staff of private universities during this period.

It also requested the premier that Nepra should waive off 50 per cent amount of bills for all private universities while all direct and indirect government taxes of private universities, including annual fee/charges of regulatory/accreditation bodies, should be waived off for this financial year during the lockdown.

The APSUP requested that private universities which had taken loans from commercial banks should also be given financial relaxation. It said the government should direct commercial banks to reschedule such loans during this lockdown, while special long-term interest-free loans should be offered to private sector universities to mitigate the financial impact of the crisis.

The letter reads, “We have put in place multiple alternative pedagogies and technologies to ensure the students and their education do not suffer. Teachers are engaged with students through online methodology and all the coursework is being covered without any loss.

The APSUP also assured the prime minister that in this hour of need private sector universities were standing with him to combat the COVID-19.

“Your every action will be taken as our national duty but during this lockdown, we need to support our staff so that they can easily feed their families without worries and stand shoulder to shoulder with us throughout this difficult time,” reads the letter.

Meanwhile, talking to The News, a number of stakeholders, particularly, parents of the students studying in private universities demanded the government that in case any relief package was announced for the private sector universities, the government should ensure that these institutions did not charge fee from students during this break.

Amjad, father of a student, who goes to a private university in the provincial metropolis, said he feared that in April the university would send fee voucher despite that fact there were almost no classes at the university during the month of March. He said the government in case announced any relief package, the same should be linked with fee of the students.