Future of hundreds of students hangs in the balance, as the Government Degree College in Kahuta is likely to be closed down due to suspension of grants by the Punjab government.
Since its establishment in 1964, it is the only degree college in the area that caters to the needs of seven union councils. And if the funds remain hard to come by, just like they have been for the past two years since the government abandoned the institution, the college will not be able to function anymore.
The Teacher Action Committee (TAC) of the college demanded of the Punjab government to retake the college under the provincial education department and provide it with required funds to operate smoothly.
The college was brought under the Board of Governance (BoGs) by making it an autonomous body in 1994 but the provincial government continued providing it with funds till 2009.
For the last two years, however, the provincial government has suspended its grants on the grounds that the college is being run through BoGs and it should generate its own resources to meet its expenditure. And despite an increase in the tuition fees, the college management had found it hard to meet expenses.
For the past two months, even the staff has not been paid salaries.
A six-member TAC led by Dr Arshad Mairaj demanded of the Punjab government to retake the college to avoid its possible collapse.
Dr Mairaj told The Express Tribune that presently there are around 1,000 students, both male and female, who are pursuing their studies, from the intermediate to graduate level, at the college. They will suffer badly if the college was closed due to financial crisis, he said.
We can only raise the fees to generate funds but even that has to be kept in check due to poor financial background of the students, said a teacher.
The college management has increased the admission fee from Rs 1,000 to Rs6,000 and the annual income of the college through fee collection stands at a meager Rs0.9 million. Whereas, the monthly expenses of the college in terms of salaries is Rs1.8 million. In the past, the Punjab Education Department use to provide Rs6 million quarterly which is not the case anymore, he added.
The members of TAC complained that the BOGs have been failed to run the college which should be adopted back by the Punjab government.
When contacted, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the elected MNA of the area, said that there is an issue between the Punjab government and KRL about the funding of the college. He said that he is actively pursuing the issue and hoped that it would soon be settled.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2011.