The students of Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB) H-9 living in far-flung areas lamented the unavailability of a much-needed hostel facility after the re-opening of educational institutions last week.
Although many students from outside Islamabad wished to physically attend college, they had to miss classes because of the lodging issue.
“The on-campus hostel of IMCB H-9 was occupied by Pakistan Sweet Home (PSH) in August 2012.
There was no permanent director-general at the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) working on the chair and one of the senior officers at FDE signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) of the deal between FDE and Pakistan Baitul Mal (PBM) to utilise the building as an orphan house,” said an FDE officer on the condition of anonymity.
The officer added an MOU requires signatures of both the parties to confirm the terms and conditions mentioned in the MOU but ironically, in this case only one party signed the MOU that was FDE and the other party (PBM) did not sign the MOU and took the possession of the public building.
“I don’t think a grade-19 officer has the power to sign an MOU and hand over the public building.” An assistant professor of the college said, “FDE handed over the hostel building to another department without taking into consideration the needs of the college students coming from Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, GilgitBaltistan, Kashmir and other far-flung areas of the country.”
Now after the re-opening of institutions, hundreds of students are getting back to colleges after a decrease in Covid-19 cases and are compelled to check into private hostels for stay.
According to an official of the college, the hostel offered excellent lodging facilities to the boarders and can accommodate over 200 students.
There are 70 rooms, one big dining hall, and kitchen, a spacious common room, and the warden's office in the hostel building.
Representative of Federal Government College Teachers Association (FGCTA) Professor Tahir Mahmood said, “Hundreds of our students have no choice but to live in costly private hostels even in the presence of hostel facility on the campus which is an injustice.
Our students belong to the poor and low-income segments of society. They have to pay heavy sums for dirty rooms, unhygienic food, and dirty washrooms in private hostels.
With hardly any learning atmosphere in private hostels, these students have to spend a lot of time travelling to and from the college.