KARACHI: Malir University of Science and Technology (MUST) recently established their city campus at Kala Board but their school of midwifery has been running at their main campus for the last 10 years and provides free-of-charge education to students.
Speaking about the school, which was established in 2006 at the main campus in Koohi Goth, MUST chancellor Prof Syed Tipu Sultan said that the entire programme is free-of-charge and all students are provided with books, uniforms, shoes, accommodation, food and free education at the campus.
The school has educated hundreds of midwives and as of now had 10 batches graduate. “The programme is not specifically for Karachiites, students are encouraged to apply from rural areas,” said Dr Shabbir Nawaz Safavi who teaches at the university.
“I applied here to study midwifery because there is no other facility in my city,” said Humaira Bhutta who hails from Lahore and has been living at the hostel for the last two months while studying the two-and-a-half year course. Bhutta lives on campus along with 137 other students belonging to different parts of the country including Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The school of midwifery charges no fee for the whole programme but requires an initial deposit of Rs10,000 to be paid by the student at the time of admission, which is refunded at the end of the course. “An expense of around Rs18,000 is estimated for each student per month,” revealed Dr Safavi.
To prepare midwives for practical work, the school also has a skill lab which teaches them practical work to go alongside the theory material they learn. “After clearing the test at the skill lab, these girls are supposed to assist doctors in the labour room at the Koohi Goth Hospital,” said skill lab head Zanobia George.
The university’s city campus is a temporary setup until the main campus is built next year. “The main campus will accommodate students in hostels, while the building will be able to cater to more courses other than health sciences, business administration and computer sciences,” said the university’s vice-chancellor (VC), Mehtab Karim.
The city campus is located in a low-income area and has more than 12 hospitals nearby. To improve students’ professional skills and to make the best use of the location, the city campus will be turned into a certified course programme institute after the university is shifted to the main campus.
MUST’s city campus offers three degrees – Bachelors of health sciences, bachelors of computer science and bachelors of business administration. The difference between the bachelors of health sciences degree at MUST and that of other universities is that the student must study all courses in the first two years and can choose their major in the third year, which gives them a better understanding of subject, explained Karim.
The university offers three lab-based courses in health sciences which have the highest acceptance rate in the market in terms of jobs. “The subjects are biochemistry, physiology and microbiology,” Karim said.
He said that the university will start their bachelors programme in social sciences and master’s in business administration next year.
Director of academic programmes Prof Sikander Mehdi said that MUST is sponsored by Zafar and Atia Foundation Charitable Trust but to make it sustainable, the university will charge a subsidised fee.
The campus was built in Malir to provide high quality education in an area where many parents cannot afford higher education. The VC said that there is no other university in the area and MUST will cater to students from Landhi, Korangi, Malir and Gharo. “Our main focus will be to give admission to students who live in nearby areas to ease their problem of commuting,” he added.
Admissions for courses will start by mid-June and classes will start in September. Admissions will be test-based and require a fee of Rs6,000. “If a student is eligible and unable to pay the fee, the administration will not reject his application. We have many donors to adopt students for higher education,” explained Karim.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2016.