There is an outbreak of narrow-mindedness in this nation. It has nothing to do with people being ignorant and/or not learned. Contrarily, the persons now being viewed as narrow-minded are highly learned individuals appointed to positions of power by virtue of their learning and, as we had assumed, because of their wisdom too. Most of these individuals are PhD holders and professors no less. Nevertheless, there are people now convinced that their certificates are only worth the papers on which they are written. It turns out that the public might have been mistaken and given credit before it was earned. So who is this judicious authority who so audaciously decides to label these characters as narrow-minded? And who exactly are the recipients of this seemingly rash judgment? It all started with a cabinet secretary and his cronies deciding that the fee being paid by university students needs to be revised upwards. The comrades reacted in kind and formed all kind of foul opinion against the proponents of the fee increment. Those opinions are now being thrown around on social media, absorbed and then regurgitated, getting viler by the minute.

There is a necessity at this juncture to sober up and try to resolve this issue amicably. The comrades should avoid burning out their combative vigor on Twitter and Facebook because soon they might need that strength and passion to make a formidable stand and righteously demand for considerate action from their government. But before that glorious day of intellectual debate amongst the key stakeholders, it is crucial to analyze this issue and see where merit lies. To that end, two questions come to mind. First, has the government any grounds for increasing the fee for university students? Second, what reasons do comrades have for opposing that move?

Well, a committee was formed back in 2010 and its findings found out that it was about time that the fees rose to reflect the general trend of the economy. It is purported that the committee came to this conclusion after consulting all stakeholders including university students themselves. This in itself makes one wonder which students were consulted and, more importantly, in what context. It is hard to conceive of any circumstances under which comrades would be so cavalier about something which has the potential to shake the very core of their puny budgets and survival economy. It is even harder to believe that any student would agree to the same without first imposing a long list of prerequisites.

Anybody who has ever set foot in university as a student can very easily imagine what the demands of the comrades will be. First, that manna from Anniversary Towers needs to either come more frequently or in bigger servings. If the economic development since independence are what necessitate a fee increment, then surely the same economy calls for higher loans per student too. Secondly, it serves no purpose to simultaneously increase the fee and the HELB loans. At the end of the day, the students’ pain would not be alleviated. Anyone who thinks that the university students in this nation have no financial pains is terribly misinformed. It is an enigma why no one has formed a committee to investigate the facts pertaining to how students make ends meet. After all, we have become a nation of committees and relegated common sense to a secondary role of confirming what committees have said.

It is a pity that men and women who went through the same education system so quickly forgot how hard it is being a student. How can they not remember how difficult it can be to survive on campus? Or have the trappings of power, the prestige of wealth and the vanity of renown blinded them to the struggles of others, in this case, the comrades’ struggle? These cabinet secretaries and their overbearing committees should open their eyes and remember the reasons why HELB was established in the first place. Our forefathers had the vision of making education as accessible as possible to the bright but poor youth of this great country. So before anyone starts tabling proposals and enacting changes which threaten this ideal pursuit, let them remember what a gloom future awaits us at the pit of ignorance. On the other hand, the future is ours for the taking if we can faithfully empower the young men and ladies who are ready and willing to pursue academic excellence so that one day they can command their place as the vanguard of development in this nation.

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