Visitors being briefed at one of the stalls set up at Dawn Education Expo on Saturday. — White Star
Visitors being briefed at one of the stalls set up at Dawn Education Expo on Saturday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Students, parents and other members of the public attended the Dawn Education Expo on Sunday seeking information on higher education.

A total of 79 universities from within Pakistan and abroad participated in the expo, while 100 countries were covered through education counsellors. Students were guided by delegates, 25pc of whom were foreign.

Danish Ilyas, who has an MSc in Electrical Engineering and has been teaching at a local university, told Dawn he was at the expo for information on Electrical Engineering PhD programmes.

“I would prefer to do a PhD from Australia or Germany. The representatives of some universities told me I could get up to 20pc discounts on fees, but they are still very high,” he said.

Mr Ilyas added that he knew students can take out loans to study in some countries and pay them back when they start earning, but said he had never heard of such loans in Pakistan.

A strategic level student at the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan, Tauseef Akbar, said he had come to the expo to see if he could gain admission to a foreign university.

“I was also interested in finding out if I could get a discount while getting admission. I have collected application forms for a number of universities and will discuss with my family if they can arrange funds for my studies,” he said.

Most of the visitors asked what kinds of courses are offered in Australia, Australian Education Office Senior Manager Sajid Rashid Awan told Dawn.

“We told them that a large number of students prefer to go to Australia and those who want to go there must pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). In Australia the medium of studies is English so it is ensured that student should speak and write English. So the IELTS is mandatory,” he said.

Education Resources Network Counselling Manager Mohammad Asif Javed said most students were interested in scholarships but did not have much information on them.

“The Chevening and Commonwealth scholarships are offered in Pakistan, but students should know that students from a number of countries compete for them. A student with a 2.8 GPA asked about the scholarship, I told them those who have below a 4.0 GPA have lower chances of getting the scholarship,” he said.

“Moreover along with marks students should have a number of certificates, such as certifies of participation in debates and internships. Students need more awareness about how to get admission in foreign universities because the majority of them cannot compete with students of other countries, such as India,” he said.

Mr Javed said students should do search universities and find out that which ones would be better for them and how they can complete the admissions process.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019