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October 1, 2020

Over 100 Sindh colleges being run without principal


October 1, 2020

In various regions of Sindh, more than 100 colleges are running without notified principals, and that too at a time when the province’s college education department has announced admissions for the academic session 2020-21.

According to the official statistics shared with The News by an officer of the college education department, some 60 colleges had been running without a notified principal in Karachi Division alone.

However, the department assigned around 15 college professors the responsibilities of principal after the issue was highlighted in the media. But 45 colleges in the city still lack an administrative head.

The data shows that 16 colleges in Sukkur Division are running without a notified principal, 15 in Hyderabad Division, 11 in Larkana Division, eight in Shaheed Benazirabad Division and five in Mirpurkhas Division. The affairs of these colleges are being handled by incharge heads or incharge professors on an ad-hoc basis.

However, the colleges secretary recently asked the regional directors to collect data of the colleges where positions of the principal are vacant and junior college professors have been assigned the additional charge of principal.

After the collection of data, the secretary finalised the prepared summary of the professors who were to be notified. Due to unknown reasons, however, the department is yet to notify the professors to be appointed as principals.

To find out the official version, The News repeatedly attempted to get in touch with College Education Secretary Baqir Abbas Naqvi. He, however, did not respond to any of the calls until the filling of this story.

On July 30 as well, in connection with the story about Karachi’s 60 public colleges lacking principals, despite repeated attempts made by The News to get in touch with Naqvi to find out the official stance on the matter, he had remained unreachable.

As for Education Minister Saeed Ghani’s media coordinator Zubair Memon, he said he was out of Karachi to attend an event. “I’m not in a position to talk about the colleges. I have no knowledge.” Back then also, he had denied having any knowledge in the matter of principals. He, however, had mentioned Ghani telling the Provincial Assembly of Sindh that there were specialists in 17 subjects, and that the province was facing a shortage of 1,148 such teachers, while 791 specialists were currently imparting education.

Two months ago, The News had highlighted the fact that despite tall claims by the provincial government about improving the standard of education at public colleges, the official statistics of the college education department showed that around 60 of 148 such institutions in Karachi had been running without principals, while six others were entirely non-functional.

No student is enrolled at these institutions, while the buildings of these colleges are also vacant. Meanwhile, a large number of functional colleges have no principals.

Following the bifurcation of the Sindh Education & Literacy Department into the school education department and the college education department, junior teachers lacking the required administrative and teaching experiences have been found holding the top administrative positions of grade-19 and grade-20 at some 60 colleges. Senior teachers who have been protesting against this in order to get their legal rights are of the view that academic and administrative activities are being adversely affected at such institutions.

They say that a majority of these junior teachers are in grade-17, while the position of principal is a sanctioned post of grade-19 or grade-20 in some colleges.

Therefore, at a large number of colleges, grade-20 professors are working as subordinates of those in grade-17. This situation sometimes creates conflicts between the teachers of these institutions. Interestingly, the provincial government has promoted senior college teachers thrice this year. On January 21, 184 teachers including 44 female teachers were promoted to grade-19. Following the seniority list, on May 19, 58 teachers including 27 female teachers were promoted to grade-20.