Only a few students from rural Sindh are rejected, said Karachi University a day after MPAs demanded it open two campuses because young people from the countryside are being ignored.
“The policy adopted by the university is very flexible for students from rural Sindh,” said KU’s admissions director Prof. Dr Khalid Iraqi, while rejecting the allegations. “A large number of students who apply for admission from rural Sindh are accommodated and only a few are rejected.” KU had a separate quota for them, according to which nearly 60 students were enrolled every year. Otherwise open merit prevails, but here too preference is given to students from Karachi. A total of 4,500 students were admitted this year to the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes.
The university does not have a quota for students from Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir or Punjab. He said that contrary to the claims made by MPA Humera Alwani, the university only had a quota for students from Sindh and Balochistan.
“Apart from these quotas, the university has a category system which gives admission on merit to students from Karachi or who have studied in Karachi,” he said. “They get preference under the ‘K’ category. But then the university also gives preference to students from Sindh under the ‘S’ category.” He added that students from other parts of the country got admission if there were seats in the departments.
The university’s new vice chancellor Dr Muhammad Qaiser said he knew nothing about the business.
The political angle
Pakistan Peoples Party’s Dr Sikandar Ali Mandhro said that assigning quotas was not the solution. “We demand equal opportunities for all students,” he said.
According to Mandhro, when Governor Rule was imposed in 1997, the legislators of the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) passed a law which stated that a new university in any district would open at least two campuses in other districts.
He claimed that when Arbab Ghulam Rahim was the chief minister, the MQM moved a resolution that universities in Karachi should be reserved for students from Karachi. Mandhro said that even though the PPP’s resolution did not receive any direct confrontation this time, they did get the hint that their coalition partners were not happy.
MQM’s Sardar Ahmed said that the party had no problem with two new KU campuses. “We protested because the words ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ were used,” he said. “The resolution was bound to restart the urban-rural rift that the MQM has been trying to eliminate.”
Ahmed did not remember the 1997 resolution.
According to Ahmed, although the assembly had adopted the resolution, they had to remember that the university was governed by a chancellor and they would have to check if they have the funds to run another campus or not.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.