The Sindh College Education Department has initiated the process of admitting first-year students to Karachi’s 138 public colleges for the year 2018-19, which begs the question as to who would teach them if there are over 2,000 positions at these institutions that are yet to be filled.
While state-run colleges situated in posh localities and in the centre of the city have adequate teaching staff, they still have positions that need to be filled. But the department seems to have particularly neglected the institutions in the suburban areas because they are seriously understaffed.
Even though all the public colleges in the city have “degree” in their titles, a number of these institutions are yet to start degree classes for students due to the imbalance in transfers and postings of teachers.
In 2015, Colleges Director General Prof Dr Nasir Ansar had proposed to the Sindh Education & Literacy Department that faculty members be appointed on the basis of need. However, no tangible outcomes have been observed yet.
What data reveals
The official data of the college education department reveals that it has not appointed a single teacher for the Marium Mukhtiar Government Girls Degree College Liaquatabad.
In 2015, after the demise of a Pakistan Air Force fighter pilot, the education & literacy department had upgraded the Government Girls High School Liaquatabad and renamed it after Marium Mukhtiar.
Students of the Government Degree Girls College Qasba Colony also await teachers. The institute was established in 2008, but since then it has had only one female assistant professor while the rest of the positions remain vacant.
The college education department has posted four female teachers each at the Government Degree Girls College Sector 11-C, Orangi Town; the Government Girls Degree College in Gulshan Town’s Shahnawaz Shar Goth and the Government Degree Boys College Super Highway.
Similarly, only three faculty members are working at the Bibi Asifa Government Degree Girls College Muzaffarabad Colony in Landhi Town and two at the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Government Degree Girls College in Lyari Town. However, 65 academic positions are vacant at the two institutions.
Imbalance in postings
The available data shows that colleges in the suburban areas have less than five teachers, but those in the posh localities or in the centre of the city have an academic staff of 60-plus.
Sixty-four female teachers are working at the Rana Liaquat Ali Khan Government College of Home Economics Stadium Road in Gulshan Town, 86 at the Begum Amina Majeed Malik Government College for Women PECHS, 69 at the Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government College for Women Stadium Road and 64 at the All Pakistan Women Association Government College for Women Karimabad. However, over 50 academic positions are still vacant at these institutions.
Contrary to this, the Government Degree Girls College Zamzama, Clifton, is the only public educational institution where 12 assistant professors have been posted against a sanctioned strength of four.
At 65 girls’ colleges in the city there are 2,628 sanctioned teaching positions as well as 129 posts of librarians and directors of physical education. Of them 1,137 positions of various cadres, including principals, professors, associate professors, assistant professors and lecturers, remain vacant.
Public colleges for boys
The crisis of teachers at public colleges for boys is not much different. The college education department has also passed over the boys’ institutions that are situated in suburban areas.
Only three teachers have been appointed at the Nusrat Bhutto Government Degree Boys College Lyari, while four faculty members at the Government Degree Boys College Ibrahim Hyderi.
The high-ups in the college education department have posted six teachers at the Quaid-e-Millat Government College Liaquatabad (evening shift) and seven at the Haji Abdullah Government Degree Commerce College No 2 in Lyari.
The Government Degree Boys College Shamspir, Hawkesbay, and the Government Degree Boys College Asifabad have eight teachers each, while the Liaquat Government Degree Boys College Malir (evening shift), the Aisha Bawany Government College No 2 and the Jamia Millia Government Education College Malir have nine each.
The provincial government has sanctioned 2,782 male teaching positions for boys’ colleges, but 1,186 positions, including principals, professors, associate professors, assistant professors, librarians and lecturers, are still vacant at the 72 colleges across the city.
“Due to shortage of teachers, majority of the students are forced to study at coaching centres,” said Sindh Professors & Lecturers Association Central President Prof Ferozuddin Siddiqui.
He said the college education department has failed to appoint faculty members on the basis of need, adding that there is a need of rationalisation in the entire process of transfers and postings.
“At most of the science colleges, the department has appointed teachers of humanities or commerce groups, while the science faculties have been appointed at commerce and arts colleges,” said Siddiqui, demanding that if the government wants to make the college education department functional, every vacant post must be filled.
Talking to The News, College Education Secretary Parvez Ahmed Seehar agreed that faculty members should be appointed on the basis of need, adding that the process of transfers and postings would be rationalised.
Seehar was appointed in the college education department last year. After the caretaker government took over ahead of the general elections, he was transferred to another department. Now that the Sindh government has formed again, he resumed the office as the college education secretary on Monday.