Representatives of teachers and non-teaching staff of Karachi University (KU) announced that they would launch a movement to save the institution ‘teetering on the brink of collapse’.“This institution, the largest university of this metropolis, imparts education to over 40,000 students hailing from different regions of this country.
Unfortunately, however, the entire academic, administrative and financial infrastructure of KU suffers decay,” said senior KU teacher Dr Riaz Ahmed.Several university facilities, including classrooms and laboratories had degraded to a point that they had become a potential threat to human life and had been closed down, he added.
Contingency grants, he told the audience, were either not available or being released after prolonged delay, seriously affecting academic activities while there was an acute shortage of chemicals and instruments at laboratories of departments.
“Delays in release of salaries and pension is now a routine matter, though student fees’ has been increased multiple times over the years,” shared Dr Ghufran Alam, the Vice President of Karachi University Teachers’ Society, while complaining about pending medical bills and remuneration of evening classes.
According to speakers, the statutory bodies of KU — syndicate, senate and academic council — no longer have powers over university affairs and their sessions haven’t been called for a long time.“University’s budget hasn’t been presented in the senate for six years. The Sindh government after amending the universities’ act has rendered the selection boards and syndicate powerless, halting the appointment and promotion process,” Dr Ahmed said, adding that right now the vice chancellor couldn’t even hire a sweeper on a BPS grade-1 post.
The speakers regretted that grievance reports of 180 staff members had been pending in the syndicate for over a year whereas 600 visiting faculty members hadn’t been paid their salaries for a year.