FAISALABAD: The project digest (PC-1) of the University of Jhang has been prepared and the Higher Education Department has been asked to recruit administrative and academic staff.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the Jhang college deputy director said endeavour would cost Rs3 billion.
The university will be established over 2,286 kanals. “Tenders have been sought from companies interested in this venture.”
“The government had earmarked Rs1 billion for the university. Initially, Rs40 million has been released in this regard,” he says.
He says a summary has been submitted to the Higher Education Department for recruitment to 288 posts, including vice chancellor.
“The government has been asked to release Rs107.6 million for salaries,” he says.
Despite being the native town of two Nobel Prize laureates, Dr Abdus Salam and Har Gobind Khorana, Jhang is yet to have a public university.
Muhammad Hanif, a retired educationist, says the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidates had taken up the issue during their 2013 election campaign.
“Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif promised to set up a university in Jhang when he visited the area,” he said. “It has been three years since the election. I don’t know of any plans to set up the university soon.”
Asma Naveed, a student from Satellite Town in Jhang, says that she could not pursue postgraduate studies because of this. “I completed my masters and wanted to apply to a PhD programme. Since is no public university here, I wanted to go to Lahore. My parents are uncomfortable about this. Therefore, I had to drop the plan.”
Andleeb Nisa, a student from Railway Colony, says she wanted, too, wished to get higher education but had to abandon studies because there was no full-fledged university in her hometown.
“My neighbour and best friend went to Multan for university because her uncle lives there. I don’t have relatives outside of Jhang, so I don’t think I can go anywhere for studies.”
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan District Coordinator Mudassar Habib says said the HRCP would press the government to set up the university at the earliest.
“It is unfortunate that most development projects are limited to Lahore. The government is spending money on some districts (like Faisalabad and Multan) but development in Jhang had never been a priority.”
“No one can remember the last remarkable public welfare project in Jhang,” he says. He says the government should prioritise this project.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2016.