Often a university degree is as much about our parents as it is about us. Our parents invest enormous amounts of time, money and immeasurable support into our education.
According to the 2015 HSBC Learning for Life Report 92 per cent of parents surveyed in the United Arab Emirates see an undergraduate degree as an essential step to achieving life goals.
But more often than not parents and students alike struggle to pay off the enormous expenses involved with higher education in the UAE.
Twenty one-year-old Shereen Mir started her Bachelor of Business Administration at the American College of Dubai in September 2012 but started part time work to help her father pay the fees.
“I have been working since April 2014 to pay off my fees - that was the primary reason for me to start working. Because we already have so many expenses at home, I thought I would start working and pay off me fees on my own,” she said.
But even with her additional contributions the expenses were too high and Mir had to stop her studies in July last year.
“I have just paused it for a little while but I am hopeful that when things settle down I will return,” she said.
Mir said it is essential that she finishes her degree.
“Yes I definitely will have to go back and study, it is really difficult right now to survive without a degree. There are times now where even a masters isn’t sufficient to get a job. I do want to at least have my bachelors completed.”
Mir is currently working at the front office at a school in Dubai and said that she looks forward to saving up enough to return to her studies.
For Sakina Kesariya the expense was made easier through a full scholarship offered to her by Amity University where she has completed her first year in a Bachelor of Science.
But her father Munawer Abbas said that if she is not offered the full scholarship for the next year he might consider moving her to Amity College in India.
“Because it is more than double the cost here compared to India,” he said.
Abbas, who has lived in the UAE since 1988, said transferring his daughter would be an absolute last resort.
“There are of course better opportunities here in the UAE because it is an international market, and she can showcase her talents internationally. I definitely prefer the UAE, because I want to keep my children in front of my eyes,” he told Gulf News.
Single mother Daizy Khan said she struggled to pay her daughter’s fees after losing her job last year.
“I had to borrow from friends for her tuition and accommodation as I had to leave for a few months when I lost my job last September,” she said. She now has a job.
“She is my child. I don’t want her to struggle. I want her to concentrate on her studies and on learning experience. I personally feel that education is what is worth spending on in the long run.”
- The writer is an intern with the Readers Desk of Gulf News