Interested students collect prospectuses while having their queries answered at a stall representing an Irish institution on the opening day of the 18th Dawn Education Expo.
Interested students collect prospectuses while having their queries answered at a stall representing an Irish institution on the opening day of the 18th Dawn Education Expo.

KARACHI: The two-day 18th Dawn Education Expo 2023 which opened at the Pearl Continental Hotel on Saturday saw both undergraduate as well as postgraduate students seeking advice from local and international institutions of higher learning.

There are stalls representing over 80 local and international educational institutions, including those from countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Turkey, France, UAE, Malaysia, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Spain, North Cyprus and Greece to name a few.

Visitors, including students, their parents and mid-career individuals had plenty of options regarding educational future of students.

Gone are the days of just distributing prospectuses, the LED screens outside most of the stalls were giving you an entire round of university campuses.

The annual event will travel to Islamabad on Feb 8 and Lahore on Feb 11

The British Council are the gold sponsors in this event whereas the event is supported by EduCanada, Campus France, Education in Ireland, CPBC, Australian Education Office, Pakistan Australia Business Forum, STEPSEDU and Ireland Education Office.

Marium Qadir at the British Council Stall said that besides providing information about educational institutions in the United Kingdom, scholarships, etc, they were also clearing confusions of students not sure about going for English language testing systems and other assessment tests.

There were as many students at the Pakistani university stalls as there were at the international stalls. At the Institute of Business Administration stall, Anusha Khan said that they were also getting kids confused about taking the SATS or the IBA test. “But if they have appeared in SATS already, they are exempted from the IBA test,” she explained.

The Institute of Business Management was another local higher education institution where they were getting a lot of young people looking for skill development. “We are getting undergraduates and postgraduates who are more focused on career options. They are more interested in IT-based curriculum and accounting and finance,” said the IoBM representative.

Zakir Tajammul at the Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, meanwhile, said that they were seeing students who looked quite blank. “The parents’ influence is still there. The parents want them to go for engineering or medicine, but we are opening their minds telling them that there are also fields such as bio-sciences, hospital management, psychology, computer sciences also open for them,” he said.

At Extreme Commerce College, representative Mohammed Hassan said that they were empowering youth to earn while studying as they teach incubation and e-commerce.

Just like the British Council, there was a Campus France stall with a big Eiffel Tower model. According to the French representative Scientific and Higher Education Attache Sabine Vermillard there, they were helping students know how to get to France to study without the need to learn French first. “We offer degrees in France, which are totally in English. In fact, we have 1,800 programmes that are taught in English. We also offer some 189 scholarship programmes for Pakistani nationals alone. Thus bringing French and Pakistani students together,” she informed.

The stall also had Pakistani French university alumni to tell more about studying in France.

At the Tehran University of Medical Sciences stall, Mir Mohammed Reza Seyed Hassani said that they currently have 266 Pakistani students studying in Iran. “Pakistan is only second to Iraq from where we have 600 students. Third is India from where we have 230 students,” he said. It was good to know that degrees from Iranian universities were recognised all over the world.

“We also have two students from the USA in Iran but it is difficult for them to transfer tuition fees to Iran, though their government does facilitate them for it as American banks cannot do it directly. All in all, we have 1,492 students from 52 countries studying in Iran at the moment,” the representative proudly informed.

Hassan Ahmed and younger brother Umer Ahmed were there with their father Afzal Ahmed looking for good Australian universities. Speaking to Dawn, the father said that they were particularly interested in Australia because he had heard that the country allowed students to take on four-hours-a-day jobs while studying, which made the education more affordable for them.

Meanwhile, Bushra Noor and Iman Noor were looking at Irish institutions for higher education for a very simple reason: “We have relatives there,” their mother Ayesha Noor explained with a smile.

At stalls with the ‘Study in Ireland’ banners, students were also informed that part time jobs for students were very much allowed. “The country also offered two-year post study work visas,” informed Dr Osamah Qureshi there, who added that their visas were also expedited within six to eight weeks.

Nixon Teng Hou Chong, representing AIMST University of Malaysia, also said that students wanting to study in Malaysia should not have any issues with visas as long as they have good grades.

The annual Dawn Education Expo concludes on Sunday in Karachi but it will travel to Serena Hotel in Islamabad on Feb 8 and Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore on Feb 11 and 12.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2023

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