Following the rapid spread of the coronavirus in Pakistan, academic activities were suspended and teaching shifted from on-campus classes to online zoom meetings. While some welcomed this new system, many remained distraught since poor internet connectivity caused much agony among students who live in far-flung areas. Much like in other universities across the country, the teachers at the Sindh Madressa-tul-Islam (SMI) university are also exploiting this situation.
From attendance, quizzes and assignments to posting marks on LMS and CMS, the performance of teachers and staff members remain at variance with professional standards. No one dares to question their credibility. Students fear the teachers who have established their own organised coterie to exert their influence for personal benefits. Furthermore, the concept of external visiting faculty is rare in SMI since the courses are given away to internal faculties on preference basis, irrespective of the fact that teachers lack qualification, experience and expertise — which is a clear violation of the HEC policy. This is ruining the dignity of one of the oldest academic institutions of South Asia.
Besides, it is very disturbing to learn that most of the degree programmes at the university are not approved by the accreditation council of the faculties concerned and due to this the future of thousands of students is at stake. Despite the fact that the HEC keeps advertising “parents alert” in newspapers for the guidance of students and parents to check the status of programmes being offered by the university before enrolment, students have no option but to take a leap of faith.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2021.