Years of neglect chip away at KU library
Karachi, Oct 15: On September 4, the central library of the University of Karachi was closed down for a few hours. Students were told that cash and computer equipment had gone missing, and investigation was going on.
This was not the first time the Dr Mahmud Hussain Library at Karachi University has been broken into. It happens every few months.
A few months ago, the same thing had happened. The library was closed down for a few hours because someone cut through the grille of the computer lab and stole computers, said Ali Haider, a student.
Chief Librarian Wasim Rana claims nothing was stolen that day. A few men had tried to break in, but could not succeed. "Similar mishaps have happened twice or thrice in the past," she said.
Dr Mahmud Hussain Library – an imposing five-storey and basement structure in the centre of the varsity campus – is a treasure trove for booklovers. The library plays host to over 400,000 books, some dating back to the 1600s, and around 150,000 newspapers.
It also holds Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's personal book collection as well as the newspapers that reported every detail of the events leading to the creation of Pakistan. But partly due to lack of funds and mostly due to years of neglect by the university administration, the collections may soon be lost.
A sordid affair
Constructed in 1964, the library was named after the varsity's former vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mahmud Hussain in recognition of his services on his first death anniversary in 1976. But today, a visit to the library brings to light a sorry picture.
A large chunk of plaster is missing from the ceiling, exposing the iron rods. There are no light bulbs, only empty sockets. An inch of dust sticks to the floor. On the third floor, old newspapers lie bundled and sometimes scattered across the floor. Their paper yellow and mildewed would rip on turning. The bathrooms are filthy too. A building as grand as this does not fall down in a day; it take years of neglect.
But the chief librarian disagrees. "I may not be satisfied with the present condition but the dwindling finances of the university are not a secret anymore," she said. The library, Rana says, has started scanning important newspapers for storing them on computers for safekeeping. "We have a sea of knowledge to offer at the library."
Shortage of funds
During the varsity's senate meeting held in November last year, only 1.5 percent of the university's total budget was allocated for the uplift and management of the library. This year the expected budget was set at Rs50 million, but then it was cut down to Rs30million.
The Karachi University is, however, facing a budget deficit of Rs900 million this year. To assist the varsity, its vice-chancellor officially launched an alumni body in March to bring in donations amid cuts in Higher Education Commission grants. It was announced that a project for the renovation of the library will also be launched shortly. The 61-year-old library still awaits the day.
KU semester exam fee date
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) has announced that the students of the second semester morning programme could submit their exam fee by October 31.
However, late fee of Rs500 would be charged from November 1-9 and Rs1000 from November 11-15. The student of first and second semester of the evening programme could deposit their exam fee by October 28 without late fee, and up to November 12 with late fee of Rs1,000.
KU cancels admissions of three students
Karachi: The University of Karachi (KU) has cancelled the admissions of three students as their marks sheets have been found to be `fake'.
This was stated by the University's Director of Admissions, Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi, on Friday. The students were of masters/diploma of the Evening Programme 2013-14.
FUUAST teacher becomes member of WAME
Karachi: A faculty member of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST), Sikandar Sherwani has been accorded the membership of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). An announcement to this effect was made by an official of the FUUAST on Tuesday. Sherwani was conferred the distinction because of his contributions for the Journal of Biology for the past two and a half years, it was further stated. WAME is a global non-profit voluntary association of editors and peer-reviewed medical journals who seek to foster cooperation and communication among editors. Daily times
Higher Education Dept low on govt priorities
Lahore: The Punjab government seems to have left one of its most important departments, the Higher Education Department, at the mercy of God as most of the top slots in the department and its attached bodies are awaiting regular incumbents.
At present, some of these slots are vacant while most of the key positions are being looked after on additional charge basis as a "temporary arrangement" for the last many months exposing the Punjab government's tall claim of "good governance".
Those who have to visit the department and its attached bodies with the hope to get their issues resolved have to return disappointed owing to absence of the "competent authority".
The Higher Education Department deals with the management and reforms relating to the college sector education, including universities of the province. The slot of the Higher Education Department secretary is vacant these days after Farhan Aziz Khawaja relinquished the charge as the secretary on October 7. Before relinquishing the charge he had been on leave for quite some time, on various occasions, and the department's affairs were being looked after by Special Secretary Sohail Shahzad.
Similarly, the post of the Additional Secretary (Academic) is waiting regular incumbent for almost months now.
At present, a Deputy Secretary, Ijaz Minhas, is having additional charge as additional Secretary (Academic).
It is pertinent to mention that this wing looks after all the public and private sector universities of the province.
Sources in the department said many of the posts of section officers (SOs) in various wings, including SO (Boards), were adjusted on temporary basis. They said these officials were drawing salaries from their respective colleges while performing duties in the department.
The sources said many of the SOs were newly recruited lecturers who failing to find place of their "choice" to teach, used their connections and got posting at the department. They said such "abundance" of inexperienced staff was never witnessed in the department in the past.
The Directorate of Public Instructions (Colleges), which falls under the administrative control of the Higher Education Department, has been waiting for a regular incumbent against the post of Additional DPI since January this year. While the posts of Director (Admin) and Director (Planning) at the Directorate are also being looked after on additional charge basis since May this year.
Likewise, many Boards of Intermediate & Secondary Education (BISEs) which are under administrative control of the Higher Education Department have been waiting for regular incumbents on various top slots.
The posts of Controller of Examination and Secretary at the BISE Gujranwala are being looked after on additional charge basis since March and August respectively while the post of Controller at the BISEs Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan have also been waiting for regular incumbents for several months.
Similarly, regular incumbents are awaited at the topmost slot i.e. Chairman, at the BISEs Faisalabad (since July), Sargodha (since September) and Rawalpindi (since September). Presently, the posts at these boards are being looked after under "temporary arrangements".
It is also important to mention here that the posts of chairman at BISE Sahiwal and BISE Bahawalpur will fall vacant following tenures of the incumbent officers complete at the end of October.
According to sources, dozens of colleges across the province, including Islamia College, Civil Lines Lahore, are without regular principals for quite some time now. They said senior faculty members at the colleges were working as "acting" principals in absence of regular incumbents.
An official of the department seeking anonymity said a committee headed by the Chief Secretary, Punjab, had recently conducted interviews of candidates for the post of chairmen of different boards but had failed to find any suitable candidate.
The News could not reach Punjab Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan for comments despite repeated attempts on his cell phone. The news
VCs body readies proposals over varsities law
Hyderabad: The vice chancellors' committee of public sector universities in Sindh on Sunday held their meeting and discussed in detail the Sindh Universities (Amendment) Act, 2013. The meeting was held at the Sindh University Jamshoro vice chancellor's house.
The committee prepared recommendations which would be sent to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and provincial Education Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro.
The meeting chaired by Sindh University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir A. Mughal discussed the law and on the basis of detailed discussions prepared recommendations.
Dr Mughal informed the participants in the meeting that he had met the provincial education minister and Mr Khuhro had asked him to have a meeting of the VCs committee in order to discuss the matter and bring forth objections if there were any as the minister believed that all vice chancellors were stakeholders regarding the law.
The meeting was attended by Prof Dr Mohammad Qaisar, vice chancellor, University of Karachi; Prof Dr Rasheed A. Shah, vice chancellor, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto University Lyari, Karachi; Dr Abdul Qadeer Rajput, vice chancellor, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro; Dr R. B. Mirbahar, vice chancellor, Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam; Dr Ali Bux Soomro, vice chancellor, Quaid-i-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology Nawabshah; Arshad Saleem, vice chancellor, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Nawabshah and Prof Dr Jai Mal Dhanani, vice chancellor, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Veterinary University Sakrand.
The participants decided to send recommendations prepared in the meeting to the Sindh chief minister and the education minister. Dawn
Mehran Engineering varsity makes 70 political based appointments
Sukkur: Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET), Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Campus, Khairpur, has issued 70 appointment orders without pursuing the formalities.
The News has learnt that PVC MUET Shaheed ZA Bhutto Campus, Khairpur, Ghulam Sarwar Kandhar, issued appointment orders to 70 people from Grade 1-16 without giving advertisements or following the formalities of tests and interviews for the vacant post.
Sources said the VC MUET Jamshoro, Sindh, had dedicated the powers of appointment to the PVC Khairpur Campus on the directives of Sindh chief minister. Sources said such appointments of the PVC Khairpur Campus created dismay among those already appointed in Grade 16 and 14 and had qualified their written tests and interview and their posts were advertised but the PVC, instead of following the procedure of appointment, appointed the political reference-based persons in the same Grade. They said such double standards of the administration of the campus was questionable.
Meanwhile, this correspondent contacted PVC Ghulam Sarwar Kandhar, who said he did not have an exact figure of the appointees. However, he said that he had appointed some employees on Fix Pay on contractual basis. He said it was not compulsory to advertise the posts for hiring contingency staff. He said during appointments, he had not mentioned any Grade. He said the University is an autonomous body, so he could appoint anybody without advertisement. He said advertising was compulsory for regular posts. He said that he had appointed some people on six-month contract through an appointment committee.
Renowned lawyer advocate Perwaiz Ghumro interpreted that there are clear instructions of the Supreme Court that every appointment, either contractual or regular in public sector,semi-government, autonomous institutes not to be filled without adopting the procedure of advertisement. He said this is a ruling of the Supreme Court that without pursuing formalities each and very appointment is in violation of the fundamental rights. He said every citizen of the Pakistan had equal rights, so it is compulsory for every institute to provide equal rights to each and every person in hiring. He said without following the set procedure of appointment by any institute would be termed as based on malafide intention. He opined that recently the Sindh Assembly delegated the powers of appointment of VC in public sector universities to the chief minister, which is a positive decision but not to be exploited. He said political reference based appointments in the universities without completing formalities might turn the universities into ghost universities, schools and colleges. The news