QUETTA: If additional grants are not released within six months, the University of Balochistan may have to close, The Express Tribune has learnt.
“We had sent a proposed budget of Rs710 million for the financial year 2010-11 but the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has approved only Rs470 million,” the university’s vice-chancellor Professor Ghulam Nabi said on Wednesday.
This amount is even less than what the university spends on salaries. “Our salary expenditure is Rs500 million so paying employees will become a problem, let alone sparing resources for academic activities,” Nabi said.
In an effort to persuade the HEC to release more funds, Nabi has written an application to the Government of Balochistan and the university’s chancellor. “They have demanded that the budget cuts, worth almost Rs390 million, be removed. The issue has been taken up with the HEC but there is little hope that they will provide additional resources,” he said.
The university was established in 1971 and offers degrees in 35 fields of study through its five faculties.
According to the treasurer Jeyhand Baloch, the university had braved a financial crunch in 2008 when the HEC had provided Rs154 million. “After a notification of increments in salaries, the deficit has risen to Rs434 million which is equal to the outlay of any other university’s budget. If immediate measures are not taken, the university will have to stop the release of salaries after every three months,” he said.
The woes of the university do not stop here. “Around 60 to 70 senior faculty members have left the university due to rising incidents of target killing and almost as many intend to leave. They have submitted their No-Objection Certificates for transfer to other provinces,” Baloch said.
The university is no stranger to target killing. In April 2008, the university had to suspend activities for one day of mourning when the university’s then pro-vice-chancellor Safdar Kiyani was assassinated. The Baloch Liberation Army, the same militant group blamed for most target killings of teachers, claimed responsibility for his murder.
“Although there is a scarcity of senior faculty members, we cannot stop them. The security situation of Balochistan does not seem to be improving, thus we are issuing them the certificates,” he said.
Pub lished in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2010.
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