Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Educational Boards and Universities Nisar Ahmed Khuhro on Thursday objected to the admission policy of the University of Karachi under which Karachi-based...
Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Educational Boards and Universities Nisar Ahmed Khuhro on Thursday objected to the admission policy of the University of Karachi (KU) under which Karachi-based candidates are given preference in admissions.
Khuhro raised the objection as he chaired a meeting of the vice-chancellors of the public sector universities in the province at the committee room of the Sindh Assembly building.
The admission policy of the KU under which new students are enrolled under three categories of Karachi, Sindh and Pakistan earned ire of the CM’s adviser who is also the pro-chancellor of the public sector universities in Sindh.
These categories mean that those candidates who have passed their previous examinations from a board based in Karachi will get foremost priority for admissions to the KU. After Karachi-based students, the preference would be given to candidates having passed their examinations from educational boards in the rest of Sindh, while the last preference would be given to the candidates from boards based in the rest of Pakistan.
According to Khuhro, open merit should be the basic criterion for giving admissions to the KU while giving preference to the candidates domiciled in Sindh. He sought report on the admission policy of the public sector universities of the province including the one related to the KU.
The KU acting vice chancellor (VC) who attended the meeting claimed that the categories of Karachi, Sindh and Pakistan did not exist in the admission policy of the KU as all the admissions were granted on open merit.
The VCs of the public sector universities in the province urged the Sindh government to increase funds for the universities as their performance had been affected due to lack of funding.
Khuhro said the Sindh government would review the proposal to increase funds for the public sector universities, adding that the varsities should also find ways to generate revenue on their own.
The NED University of Engineering and Technology VC said on the occasion that the public sector universities were autonomous institutions and their autonomy would be compromised in case inductions against job vacancies from grade-5 to grade-15 of the universities would be filled through an outside agency. On this, Khuhro said the autonomy of the universities would be maintained but the Sindh government had the intention to improve the working of the universities owing to the fact that it provided funds to them.
He said the decision had been made to hire the services of a third-party testing agency for recruitment against the non-teaching posts of the varsities. He added that the Sindh government wanted to hire the services of a well-reputed institution like the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, for recruitment against non-teaching job vacancies of the universities as doing so would promote meritocracy in the entire process.
Khuhro said there should be no compromise on the condition of compulsory attendance of students in the universities. He added that all the required teaching and non-teaching staff should be hired by the universities.
The adviser said a bill was introduced in the Sindh Assembly to restore student unions in the colleges and universities of Sindh but the unions would be restored only if the students conformed to the code of ethics. He said he had the desire that the universities of Sindh were ranked among the top 100 universities of the world.
Teachers reject decision
The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Fapuasa) and other associations of employees of public sector varsities of Sindh, including the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) and Sindh University Teachers Society, have opposed the Sindh government’s decision to recruit all the non-teaching and clerical staff of the varsities from grade 5 to 15 through a third party testing service.
Fapuasa has termed the decision an attack on the varsities’ autonomy and political interference in administrative affairs of the higher educational institutes, and warned that if the decision was not withdrawn, they would boycott academic activities at all the public sector varsities of Sindh.
The decision was announced on Thursday when Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Educational Boards and Universities Nisar Ahmed Khuhro met vice chancellors of various public varsities. He said the Sindh government would make all appointments from grade 5 to 15 at the varsities through a third party.
In response, Fapuasa Vice President Prof Dr Naimatullah Laghari in his statement termed the provincial government’s decision a step towards strangulating the autonomy of the universities of Sindh.
“We remind Sindh government not to interfere in universities' autonomy,” the statement read. It added that at present, most of the universities were facing the issue of over-employment due to political interference in appointments.
The association warned that if any decision regarding the involvement of a third party like the Sukkur Institute of Business Administration for recruitment of employees was implemented, it would start protests in all the public sector universities of Sindh.
Supporting Fapuasa’s stance, KUTS President Dr Anila Amber Malik said the provincial government intended to induct blue-eyed vice chancellors and appoint political workers in the varsities.
She mentioned that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had made varsities autonomous but the PPP-led provincial government was now snatching that autonomy. The teaching community of varsities had rejected the statement of the adviser and further action would be announced after a meeting of KUTS, she said.
Likewise, Sindh University Teachers Association President Arfana Mallah said teachers’ associations of the public sector universities of Sindh had agreed that they would not accept any such decision of the Sindh government. If somebody wished to appoint employees in the varsities, it was mandatory to make amendments to the laws under which varsities were established, she stated.
She pointed out that all the public universities were governed under separate laws. For example, KU was set up under the Karachi University Act, she said, adding that likewise, all the universities had their own codes that gave the power of hiring and terminating employees to the relevant syndicates.