By Hazar Kilani & Menatalla Ibrahim
It seems like Qatar Airways seats are not the only overpriced deals some university students can’t afford.
Last Friday, a hashtag roughly translating to #Selling_QatarUniversity_Seats started trending on Twitter, attracting more than 2000 tweets in only the first day. According to sources, some students were doing business by registering in classes that are in high demand, and then selling their seats for up to 4500 Qatari riyals.
تتم عملية بيع الكراسي بين الطلبة (صيفي ٢٠٢٠) بمبالغ عالية جداً هذا يدل على ان معظم الطلبة الذين قامو بتسجيل المواد لا حاجه لهم بها الا من اجل البيع ونحن ننشادكم برفع عدد المقاعد! فنحن اولى بها
مواد انقلش ٢ ومواد اداره واقتصاد@Qustudents @QU_President @QUSRB @QatarUniversity pic.twitter.com/0L8x5Uxpmx
— ٰ🇶🇦 (@___aljaazi) May 29, 2020
Translation: “Chairs are being sold between the students of Summer 2020 with extremely high prices. This means that many of the students registered in the classes don’t actually need them and are instead only reserving seats to sell. We demand the increase of class seats, because we need them more.”
Though the business might be a win-win situation for both sides, selling or buying seats is immoral, and illegal according to university policies, possibly leading to expulsion. So what could’ve pushed some students enough to risk such outcomes in the first place?
A Qatar University senior told Doha News that seats in most classes are very limited, and not enrolling in them might lead to graduating at least a year late, especially for required classes like Statistics and History.
“It is very hard to enroll in all the classes that you want. If you are even slightly late, you might not be able to get on the waiting list,” said the source. “Buying classes may be easy for students who are willing to risk it, but it is unfair and completely unethical to take away seats from those who need it and even worse to profit off of it.”
Instead of opening sufficient classes for the students to graduate we have to beg for our lives to register for classes don't you think the system is corrupted ? why students has to buy classes as if they are dealing with black market #بيع_كراسي_جامعة_قطر
— ♓︎ (@ItsShogBs) May 29, 2020
This was the case for a Qatar University student who was meant to graduate in the autumn of 2020, but because her required course has reached full capacity, she now has to wait until spring 2021 to graduate.
“I was planning on taking two from the general courses this summer, but because I was one late to registration, the class already reached its full capacity of 100 students! Can you believe that?,” she said. “They then told me to contact my academic adviser, but as expected no one got back to me, probably because there are hundreds of students trying to do the same so they can graduate on time.”
The source is one of many who are frustrated about university policies regarding the capacity of seats in classes. Using the hashtag #Selling_QatarUniversity_Seats, many expressed their belief that the university should be making the extra effort to take steps against those involved, and to address the core issue.
Qatar University students also told Doha News that they preferred the older summer course registration system that the university offered. In the past, their summer courses would happen over three different versions, and each course would only last for four weeks. That allowed students to pick the month that suited them best, and there was a chance for everyone to register. That is no longer the case.
لو الادارة موفرة عدد كافي من المقاعد للطلاب كان ماشفنا هذا الفساد في بيع الكراسي بين الطلبه
— بــومجــلــي المكسيكــي🇶🇦 (@Bomjalyqtr) May 30, 2020
Translation: “If the administration provided enough seats for students, we wouldn’t have had to witness this corruption of selling class seats among students.”
Qatar University addressed this issue in a statement released on Saturday, stating that they have opened an investigation and plan on taking the necessary measures.
“The university confirms its keenness to provide students with equal educational opportunities that guarantee them all access to quality university education in accordance with international academic standards,” the statement said. “Qatar University renews its confidence in its students and their commitment to university regulations and instructions, and stresses that they will not spare any effort to overcome the difficulties facing their path.
In hopes of solving the issue, Qatar University has also stated that it is currently studying the possibility of raising the capacity of some courses and introducing new groups that meet the students’ needs and desires in the summer semester.
Though this might be a late move for many, it is still a starting point for improvement in the university.
Have you been unable to register for the course of your choice? Or do you think it’s OK to sell a university seat? Let us know