Fault lines show in top business institute

Report reveals IBA is struggling with dearth of faculty and other issues


Safdar Rizvi May 26, 2021

KARACHI:

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), which is deemed one of the most esteemed institutions in the country, has reportedly fallen short in maintaining its own academic benchmark.

A fairly low teacher to student ratio at the varsity, as far as global and the Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) standards go, has been observed. Besides, the career progress of its teachers and students is also reported to have been less than impressive over the past few years.

According to sources, the institution only has one teacher per 40 students, while the HEC standard suggests one teacher per 25 students. In addition to that, career progression of IBA’s graduates is also seen to present a pace that is now decades old.

Moreover, the once top-tier business school is also said to be lacking in terms of its accreditation with key professional councils. These revelations were corroborated in a report presented by IBA Karachi’s Director Dr Akbar Zaidi before the university’s Board of Governors (BoG) at a meeting held recently.

A section of the report, titled Where We Are, reflected the results of IBA’s academic inspection and certain improvement plans. In doing so, it apprised the board and other key stakeholders of the corrective steps taken in this regard, while also bringing the institution’s former heads and administrative staff under assessment.

The report revealed that IBA Karachi does not have any notable accreditation, which points towards a serious academic and institutional flaw.

Furthermore, the university is also reported to hold very limited collaboration with companies and industries, while a severe lack of comprehensive strategies with regard to research, was also pointed out.

Other than this, a report presented by the top institute’s own director reveals IBA has played a negligible role in social, economic, and financial uplift at the local level.

The document also raises questions about the pace of the university’s growth during the time of at least two former directors.

It may be recalled that the former IBA director Dr Farrukh Iqbal resigned from his position in three-and-a-half years, almost six months before the end of his tenure. While, erstwhile State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Ishrat Hussain also held the post of dean and director of IBA.

During Husain’s tenure, IBA saw significant development of the institute’s physical infrastructure through support from the private sector. However, the situation on the academic front remained dismal and persists to date, as the report outlined.

The Express Tribune contacted Dr Ishrat Hussain regarding the release and contents of the report. Dr Hussain maintained that he’d remained transparent during his term as the institute’s head and reports of IBA’s performance during his tenure are available online.

“It’s been a long time and I don’t remember anything as stated in the report. But it was during my time that IBA had the most number of full-time faculty members,” he claimed.

The Express Tribune also compared the student-teacher ratio of IBA with Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), another highly esteemed higher educational institution. It was revealed that LUMS had a better student-teacher ratio with one teacher for every 11 students. Furthermore, at the time of the survey, LUMS had more than 200 PhD teachers in its 390-person faculty, which is another statistic IBA has struggled to compete with.

On the other hand, IBA’s spokesperson, Haris Siddiqui, when contacted for his comments on the institutes’ plan with regards to dearth of faculty members, maintained his executive director was not ready to comment on the issue.

It is imperative to note that the meeting at which the IBA report was presented was held on March 22. The Express Tribune contacted the spokesperson on April 19 to seek the institution’s comments on the report. While the request was denied on April 23, a few days later, on April 30, the university itself issued a statement titled Transformative Journey, in a bid to address the said deficiencies.

However, the statement only mentioned one part of the relevant report submitted to the Board of Governors, where it referred to recent steps taken and future plans, no mention of the current dire situation with regards to the poor number of faculty, was made.

According to Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) President Dr Naik Mohammad, the dearth of teachers is unfair to students enrolled at the institution. “Educational institutions increase the number of admissions to increase their income, but do not bother increasing their faculty budget. Interestingly, although HEC has restricted increasing the strength of faculty in public-sector universities, it has not placed any limitations on the number of admissions. Thus, universities continue to hire external faculty, while HEC also shies away from extending any budget to them,” the president informed The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2021.

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COMMENTS (1)

Faisal | 3 weeks ago | Reply

The student to teach ratio has never been healthy in case of IBA as I gradauted in 1998 and the ratio was almost the same. This does not define an institute rather it is the quality output and the teachers which defines an institute. Therefore focus on having quality teachers and curriculum should be increased to fill the deficiencies highlighted.

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