The University of Sindh in Jamshoro is one of the oldest and largest universities in Pakistan. It caters to the higher educational needs of the aspiring youth that come from middle and lower middle class families from interior Sindh. The university is a prime choice for parents and students due to its affordable and subsidised fee structure.
The university has been under considerable financial constraint for the past few years because of which it has had to take short-term loans from banks to pay salaries to the academic staff. The reasons behind this financial crunch include inflation, yearly increase in salary and finance bill of the federal and provincial governments, mismanagement and alleged corruption, under-utilisation of the resources (including human resources), over-staffing, and most importantly insufficient grant provided by HEC Islamabad and the Sindh government. The provincial government provides expenditures for school and college education despite poor performance and service delivery. On the contrary, public universities that have performed much better in terms of provision of education are continuously neglected financially. The current financial model in universities is unsustainable because they are unable to meet their expenditure. Naturally, they are also unable to sustain funds for development and research.
A long-term solution to the financial crisis would be that the HEC Islamabad and the Sindh government increase funds and grants for universities. Otherwise, the university will be forced to increase admission and tuition fees, which would deprive many students of better prospects. The university must also adopt modern administrative practices and financial prudence. It should utilise the available material and human resources in a better manner. In addition, it should focus on applied research and establish linkages with the industry to increase its revenue, rationalise its expenditure, and prohibit new hiring. These are a few necessary measures that the university can take to ensure sustainability and remain operational.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2021.