Karachi University (KU) set a trend for other public universities in the province to follow by establishing a day care centre for the children of its faculty and non-teaching staff.
While a number of universities in Punjab have set up day care centres, KU is the forerunner among the public universities of Sindh.
After being in the doldrums for three years because there weren’t enough funds, the centre will finally open up with the beginning of the second semester in July.
It has been set up in collaboration with Sindh government’s women development Department which received Rs5 million by the provincial government for this project.
A house in the university’s staff colony had been designated for the day care for quite a number of years but was recently furnished and suitably equipped after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the university and the women development department in May.
“The day care will kick off with the admission of 30 children,” said Dr Sadia Manzoor. She is the women development department’s manager of coordination for government-run day care centres across the province. “Seven women, who completed a three-month training course by our department, will be hired as staff.”
Manzoor said that the centre will charge Rs2,500 per month for children of between two and eight months old, while Rs1,500 for children of between two and four years old. All the food, which includes milk and solids are included in the fee with diapers and emergency medicine. The day care will open at 8 o’clock in the morning and will close at 5:30 in the evening.
The president of KU teachers’ society, Prof. Dr Mutahir Ahmed, told The Express Tribune that more than 60 per cent of around 900 faculty members were women. According to a rough estimate, about half of them were married and had children between the ages of one and two years old. “There was a dire need for a day care facility and we are glad that our demand has been met.”
A senior faculty member, associated with the Library and Information Science department, Prof. Malahat Kalim Sherwani, agreed with Ahmed. “Many women teachers who come from far-off areas of the city and do not live with their in-laws find it very hard to manage their domestic and professional life,” she said. “For them this facility will be a cause of great relief.”
According to Samina Qureshi, an associate professor at the Mass Communication department, the idea for a day care centre was first presented at a seminar organised by her department in 2009 to mark International Women’s Day. She said that all organisations should facilitate working mothers. “This is not about even women’s right but a basic human right.”
The faculty members who want to send their children to the day care will have to fill up a registration form and submit it before July 10. “Since the facility has a limited number of seats, it will be available on first come first served basis,” said KU registrar Dr Nasiruddin Khan.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.
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