Illegal move causes NED to face liabilities of over Rs1bn
Karachi, June 03: Facing a serious financial crunch, the NED University of Engineering and Technology currently has liabilities of Rs1.5 billion, including a large amount borrowed from three banks, it emerged on Sunday.
The situation, according to sources, was mainly caused when the institution a few years ago decided to opt for an illegal act and borrowed heavily from banks against employees' general provident funds which were worth more than Rs600 million. The loans were taken at an interest rate of 14 per cent. Sources said that the university took this measure to pay salaries which the university administration had been finding too difficult to release on account of drastic budget cuts imposed by the government on public sector universities across the country.
The situation was aggravated because of delays in timely release of funds by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). "The funds are never released on time and there is a monthly deficit of Rs42 million," said a university official.
The major reasons for the financial crisis were, according to him, a high increase in government employees' salaries over the past five years, cuts in university grants, and at the same time, expansion in teaching and non-teaching departments and increase in the number of students.
"Our financial crisis is more severe than the Karachi University's," he said. "The KU has been managing budget cuts through its lucrative evening programme having quite a significant number of students as compared to ours. At NED University, the evening programme is only for a limited number of masters' students."
However, despite shortage of funds the university, over the past five years, has hired a number of people as teaching and non-teaching staff. Hence, the number of employees increased from around 1,900 to 2,400 and the monthly salary expenditures increased from Rs25 million in 2007-08 to Rs87 million at present. Currently, the financial impact of creating new posts stands at Rs208 million and the shortfall in the revised annual budget is Rs500 million.
Moreover, the university is overstaffed by at least 700 non-teaching personnel and has been unable to pay its employees timely salaries and semester examination dues of teachers have been pending for at least three months.
Though the university demanded Rs87 million for the current period, the HEC pledged Rs74 million.
The vice chancellor of NED University, Prof Dr M. Afzal Haque, who took charge in April after a 16-year-long stint by the late engineer Abul Kalam, said that a bailout package by the government was desperately needed to pull the university out from the vicious circle of debt. He said that the crisis had not just affected payment of employees' salaries but the university was also unable to pay its suppliers and clear other bills, including those incurred on employees' medical treatment.
"We have a liability of Rs1.5 billion right now," he said. "Around Rs800 million was borrowed from banks. Though the university is trying to cope with the financial constraints, government help is desperately needed for a bailout package."
"Presently, 75 per cent of the budget is being spent on salaries and there is a big deficit in income and expenditures. We are paying Rs90 million annually as an interest on bank loans," said Prof Haque. "To counter the situation, we have stopped making new appointments. The university has also introduced various in-house checks, for instance discouraging unnecessary use of electricity, so that we can bring small positive improvement in university's financial position."
When asked about the use of employees' provident funds to acquire loans, Prof Haque said, "Yes, it was an illegal move. But I have taken the charge only a month ago and had never thought of facing a crisis like this here. It's unfortunate since I am an academic person forced to deal with a tough monetary situation right from the start of my tenure. The crisis could worsen if timely support was not provided."
A number of meetings had been held with the university's chancellor and secretary of HEC, he said, adding that they had given positive signals. The Sindh government had provided Rs100 million and promised to pay Rs150 million more. "There is also a plan to seek help from the NED University alumni, industrialists and philanthropists to set up an endowment fund of at least Rs2.5 billion," he said.
Meanwhile, university employees had serious concerns over the institution's monetary problems that they said must be solved at the earliest.
"This might be a punishment for our silence during all these years. Teachers today are deprived of their basic right to timely payment of salaries and provident funds," said Ghazanfar Hussain, a representative of the NED University Teachers' Association.
To deal with the financial crunch, he said that the fee structure could be revised and an afternoon academic session for undergraduate students could be launched. Dawn
KU extends form submission to June 15
Karachi: University of Karachi has informed that application forms for the posts of lecturers, assistant professors, associate professors and professors at different departments of the university can now be submitted until June 15, 2013. The applicants who have already submitted their applications and want to update their CV can obtain the relevant form from the Registrar office. ppi
LLM students theses
Karachi: The University of Karachi has advised the LLM students to submit their theses to their respective colleges by Sept 15 without any late fee and till Oct 30 with a late fee of Rs1,500.
A student would have to submit six copies of their thesis, which should be related to 12 compulsory subjects of the first and second year of LLM and written according to the research methodology, said a KU statement issued here on Sunday.
Each student would have to submit a pay order of Rs1,500 in the name of the controller of examinations of the University of Karachi with other necessary documents.
The failed students who are to appear only in viva voce would have to submit four copies of their thesis with Rs7,500 pay order.
Whereas, the students failing in theses would have to submit two copies of their fresh theses with Rs7,500 pay-order in the name of the controller of examinations. Dawn