Harassment in educational institutions

Mohsin Rahimoon

THE public and private universities are once again in news headlines in regional and national media as the institutions are exceedingly grim places of harassment in Pakistan. Rather than being the places of higher education of hundreds of thousands students, who come there for fulfilling their future dream every year from all classes of society. these places to be feared due to the consistent incidents of harassments and inappropriate behaviours, especially by their highly-qualified faculty members in different parts of county.
The main reason for this is the inadequate measurements from the side of managements, self-inducted favouritism policies of few bigoted and narrow-minded faculty members and lake of effectively addressing the issues of harassments in these institutions of higher education. As the case of Naila Rind-final years student of Sindhi department, University of Sindh, who committed suicide in her hostel room, on the first day of this year, despite the inquiry has been completed and, according the police, the college teacher who was behind the scene had arrested and had also made him public, but still parents and civil society at large is not satisfied with the limited-stance of police, which has left many unanswered questions regarding mysterious death of young girl.
As reported in media, the sexual harassment of girl students by their male teachers in social work department and Urdu department of Karachi University has once again exposed the hidden face behind this noble profession. As per the initial reports suggested that the authorise of the university announced the inquiry committee to investigate the complaint made by several students, interestingly, the inquiry report which was due to the vice chancellor within 10 days never came into public that may lead possible action against ugly face those who was involved in maltreatment of students.
As result of this, the grievances of the victims remained unattained when the case fall within the boundaries of saving- colleagues, besides considering it as a common practice in these institutions. Indeed, the issue of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassments by the part of teachers and other non-teaching staff at institutions are gradually increasing, due to the lake of effectively addressing by the concerned authorities as well as the absence of an effective and independent complaint cell to take up the case of harassments on the every campus on an urgent basis.
As the matter of facts, the case of Naila Rind was solely concluded by the police on the basis of activities of deceased on the social media sites, Specially face; sharing songs and time to time updating status at site. Unfortunately, result- oriented digging, the other possible side of the case within institution, never taken palace by the police, other than the inquiry of cell-phone-data of teacher and female hostel warden, Indeed, which not effectively lead to the actual cause of the incident and but also seems to a possible tactics to handle the cry of parents and extraordinary pressure of society on the issue. Additionally, the media statement of DIG Hyderabad is saying worth about it. In which Khadim Rind said that the inquiry still underway. If the prime accused, as police claimed earlier, has been arrested and culprit accepts his guilt. than why police need more inquiry in the case?
The play of inquiry committee and judicial inquiry is very popular game, in Pakistan, such as, the case of crime should be investigated by a crime experts or financial matters probe by a finance expert, would be more result orientated rather the a body of irrelevant persons who assigned for inquiring the matter. University body assigned by mandate of inquiry of harassment case, who lead by a male teacher -as UK did in past, is also worth of laughing.
Last but least, in order to fairly address the issue of harassments in these institutions, the setting up of an independent and free cell is very imperative, in every institution, such a cell comprises faculty members whose integrity is beyond doubt and free of any political influence. In this regards, the membership of female professors and other staff is unavoidable. In these circumstances the impartial investigations and decision could be possible in these cases, which lead a friendly and peaceful environment for not only girls but boys too. Contrary, in prevailing situation of, give-something and take-more marks game, not only, obscure whole dynamic of quality education but also left endemic-negative impacts on our youths.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Karachi.
Email: rahimooon@gmail.com

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