Labour Quota System in Universities in Pakistan: A Comprehensive Overview

The Labour Quota System in Universities in Pakistan plays a crucial role in ensuring equitable representation and access to higher education.

It aims to provide opportunities for individuals from rural and underdeveloped regions, as well as children of industrial workers and laborers.

In this article, we delve into the details of this system, its historical context, and its impact on university admissions.

Historical Background

The quota system was first introduced in Pakistan in 1948 by the then Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan.

Its primary purpose was to address the underrepresentation of Bengalis, who were numerically a majority but lacked adequate representation in government posts.

Over the years, the system has evolved to ensure fair access to education and employment opportunities.

Geographic Allocation

The quota system allocates seats based on the population distribution across different regions of Pakistan. Here’s a breakdown:

  • East Bengal: 42% of the quota
  • West Punjab: 24% of the quota
  • Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP, Khairpur: 17% of the quota
  • Karachi: 2% of the quota

University and College Admissions

  • Rural and Undeveloped Regions

In universities and colleges, a certain number of seats are reserved for applicants who have completed their pre-university studies in rural and undeveloped areas. This ensures that students from these regions have a fair chance of admission.

  • Medical and Engineering Colleges

Candidates with lower grades (marks or GPA) may qualify for admission to medical and engineering colleges if they hail from rural backgrounds. This provision acknowledges the challenges faced by students from less privileged areas.

Recent Developments

  • Unemployment Among Graduates

Despite the quota system, the unemployment rate among university graduates in Pakistan remains high. Over 31% of degree holders, including professionals, are currently jobless. Addressing this issue requires a holistic approach, including skill development and job market alignment.

Scholarships and Quotas

  • Punjab Workers Welfare Fund: The fund provides scholarships to deserving students, including those from labor backgrounds, to pursue higher education.
  • COMSATS: COMSATS has reserved a 30% quota in all single-degree programs for workers and their children. The application deadline for worker welfare fund scholarships is December 20, 2023, for the Islamabad Campus and December 29 for the Lahore Campus.

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The labour quota system remains a critical tool for promoting inclusivity and social justice in Pakistan’s education system. However, continuous evaluation and improvement are necessary to ensure that it effectively serves its intended purpose.

In summary, the labour quota system strives to bridge educational gaps, empower marginalized communities, and create a more equitable society. As we move forward, let us work collectively to enhance its effectiveness and impact.