Cash-strapped Karachi University | Islamia Science College

Two finance directors drawing salary from cash-strapped KU
Karachi, Feb 25: The financial crunch faced by the universities due to a reduction in aid from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has jeopardised the sustainability of various ongoing projects and also endangered the future of those students who had gone abroad on HEC scholarships.

The University of Karachi (KU) is facing same problems but instead of tackling the situations prudently, the university is spending extra money by employing two 'Directors Finance' (DF) at the same time; one is currently serving the university while the other has been suspended on corruption charges but continues to enjoy all the perks of his office despite not contributing anything.

Younus Khan, the suspended DF, was hired on that post and later given additional charges of the Registrar and Director of the KU Evening Programme during the tenure of Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Abdul Wahab. The convergence of three important posts on a single person raised many eyebrows, especially as all the university cheques are signed and countersigned by the DF and Registrar respectively. The cheques containing the sign of the same person in two different positions were highly objectionable and unethical. The Evening Programme generates plenty of money and there is no accountability and counterchecking of its accounts.

The current VC, Prof Pirzada Qasim, became the acting VC after the exit of Dr Abdul Wahab asked the KU Syndicate to initiate an enquiry into the financial dealings of Younus Khan. The committee comprising Dr Sohail Barkati, Dr Afzal Kazmi and Khanam Gauhar Ejaz investigated and reported their findings to the syndicate. The report found substantial financial irregularities and the university requested Attorney General, Sindh to arrange an audit of the KU accounts. The auditors also found irregularities and presented their report to the then VC Dr Zafar Zaidi and Governor Sindh but no action was taken by the two. It was the new VC, Dr Zafar Saieed Saify, who realized the enormity of the financial fraud and fired Younus Khan and hired S.M. Khalid as the new DF.

After sometime S.M. Khalid was removed from the post and Younus Khan was rehired. It did not take Khan long to land in trouble again. He was issued a letter demanding explanation followed by a charge sheet that had 106 charges pertaining to financial irregularities. Younus was fired yet again. The new DF, after a couple of years in his job, was found to possess a fake MBA degree and simply absconded when his fraud was detected by the VC Prof Pirzada Qasim. In a situation like merry go rounds Khalid was rehired.

The latest inquiry against Younus Khan has been completed and he has been found guilty of gross misconduct in handling the university's financial matters. Despite that, the KU administration and the Chancellor's office have failed to take any final decision against Khan.

The major charges leveled against Khan are: serious irregularities and instances of gross misconduct reported by the 'Inquiry Committee', which inquired into the construction project of the three buildings for the Science Faculty; gross violations of the provisions of the 'University of Karachi Act 1972' and of the statutes in regard to the maintenance of accounts, which were duly considered by the Finance and Planning Committee and the Syndicate, which he failed to explain; instances of incompetence in the discharge of his duties; and finally, favouritism shown to certain suppliers of goods and services indicating a strong possibility of corruption on his part.

A high official of the university, while requesting anonymity, agreed that the situation was shameful that KU had to pay salary to a person who was not working. "I am really concerned about the situation but unable to do anything as the Chancellor (Governor Sindh) has the power to hire and fire the DF and no action has been taken by the Governor House. In the meantime, Younus Khan is drawing his salary, has a car and enjoying other perks. He must be smiling benevolently over the generosity of the university," he said tersely. The News

KU forms committee to probe into matter
Karachi: Pro Vice Chancellor Karachi University (KU) Prof Dr Akhlaq Ahmed has constituted an inquiry committee to figure out facts regarding the violation of rules at KU examination department, as an employee of the department, reportedly, appeared in the last BCom examination without taking any permission from the administration, learnt on Tuesday.

A source in the examination department said, "Prof Dr M Abuzar Wajidi, Dean, Faculty of Management & Administrative Sciences, KU, has been nominated as head of the inquiry committee to discover the fact and present it to higher authorities of the KU."

"Ahmed has taken notice of the issue after getting information from some officials of the examination department who had came to know that a daily wager, namely Irfan, had already appeared in the BCom exam. During his job, comprising of two or three months, he appeared in the exams, which is an open violation of KU rules."

It is pertinent to mention here that the immediate boss of the daily wager was Shaukat Anka, who is working as an assistant controller of the examination department. While KU Controller Examination Prof Dr Maqsood Hussain reportedly remained unaware about the issue during the job of the said employee.

It is learnt that the higher authorities have termed the issue as criminal negligence of the officials concerned.

It is worth mentioning that the KU administration has earlier cancelled a degree of a KU employee who was appeared in the examination without NOC from the department.

On the other hand, some officials of the department are of the view that such case should not be considered as violation of the university's rule because Irfan was not a permanent employee of the examination department, he added.

When KU Controller Examination Prof Dr Maqsood Hussain contacted, he confirmed that such blunder had been reported in the department while it was too early to declare that who did this because an inquiry had already been conducted. "The inquiry will discover about the facts regarding the matter. I was not aware about the appointment of the said employee and his appearance in the examination." The Nation

KU Botanical Garden to allow visitors
Karachi: University of Karachi (KU) Botanical Garden Director Dr Anjum Parveen has announced that the Garden (Centre for Plant Conservation) will be open to visitors for three days a week during the summer season. Thursdays are reserved for school and college teachers and students from 9.00am to 12.00noon; On Saturdays, the garden will be open for the general public and the visiting hours are from 4.00pm to 7.00pm; while Wednesdays are reserved for KU Staff and the timings are from 4.00pm to 7.00pm.

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Islamia Science College principal transferred
Karachi: The Sindh government has transferred Principal Islamia Science College Abdul Mubeen Khan and directed him to report to the Education and Literacy Department.

The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA), a representative body of teachers of Sindh has expressed its reservation over the development which according to them was part of the conspiracy against Islamia College Complex Building. What makes the decision controversial is that Khan who served only for 10 months as principal of the college was on the forefront in the struggle of teachers and students to save the Islamia College Building from being vacated.

Prof. Iftikhar Azmi of SPLA said that Khan was removed because he was active against the lobby which was trying to grab the Islamia College Complex Building. He said that Khan remained active in the movement and was defending the college by frequently visiting the concerned court where the case of Islamia College Complex Building was in progress. Khan was a qualified person and he was selected for the post after being interviewed and he also remained Vice-Principal of the college. Azmi said that the SPLA would protest this decision of the Sindh Education Department.

Inter-college debate held in Landhi
Karachi: Education is our asset and investment. We have to strengthen our education system, said Syed Asif Husnain, MNA MQM.

He was speaking at an inter-college debate competition of female students organised by Town Municipal Administration of Landhi in connection with Hamara Karachi Festival on Tuesday. Husnain claimed that the present city government has made a great contribution towards educational and infrastructural development. The News

Rural-based school project launched
Karachi: The Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) has launched the Rural Based Community Schools (RBCS) project, a new scheme under the Public Sector Development Programme 2007-08 in a seminar held at a local hotel on Tuesday.

The RBCS project aims to increase access to quality education facilities in far flung areas for disadvantaged groups of the society. The interventions have been designed in the light of Pakistan government's education sector reforms (2001-2011), which recognises the role of public-private partnership for increased access, enhanced quality at all levels of education. The project would cater to a minimum of 15,000 direct beneficiaries, comprising students, teachers, parents and NGO staff through 250 rural based community supported schools. These schools would be established in partnership with grassroots level NGOs across 10 districts of the province.

The SEF Managing Director, Anita Ghulam Ali introducing the RBCS project, said it is another landmark in the SEF's enduring journey towards making quality education available to the most disadvantaged children of Sindh. Briefing the audience regarding the achievements, she said the SEF had started affiliation with most underserved and far flung communities of rural Sindh almost two decades ago through its network of education services for children, teachers, parents and school management bodies. She accepted the fact that without strengthening partnership with communities and letting them take charge of their own development, no real progress can be made towards achievement of million development goals (MDGs).

A large number of community partners (male and female), teachers, trainers, researchers, policy makers and NGOs representatives hailing from different parts of the province attended the seminar. Ali claimed that they have established a boat school at Manchhar Lake to provide education to children of the marginalised fishermen community.

The SEF is already running around 300 schools under three programmes, Fellowship School Project, especially for girls, Community Supported Programme and Home School Programme in 10 districts of the province. A SEF official talking about the Home School Programme said that it is running inside homes. The SEF mobilisers activate community people to enroll their children in such schools. These schools are operating in areas where government buildings exist but teachers and other infrastructure is not available. The SEF appoints teachers, provide training to them to activate the schools. The purpose of the SEF, he said, is to mobilise the community to get them involved in the identified areas to ensure more enrollment of children.

Earlier, Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri launched the SEF Magazine 'Sujag', which is the source of information for the community. The minister lauded the role of Anita Ghulam Ali and her brainchild SEF for promoting rural education. The minister reacted over the language used by the SEF official accusing feudal lords of depriving farmers' children of their right to acquire education. She said it was the landlords, whose elders established educational institutes and free of cost hostels for the poor in several areas. She said "it is the mindset, which is opposing spread of education and it is not necessary that all the landlords are against schooling." The News

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