KARACHI: It is generally rare for one person to be tasked with running two institutions. Which is why it is understandable that Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh has asked the government to relieve him of heading both Dawood college and Sindh Madressa.
He was appointed acting principal of the engineering college on December 17 last year while he was also the vice chancellor of Sindh Madressatul Islam University.
“You can’t drive two cars at the same time but I still tried my best to not neglect the engineering college,” Shaikh told The Express Tribune when asked about the rumours of his resignation. “I have not resigned but I made a request so that I can fully concentrate on my responsibility as the vice chancellor of the Sindh Madressatul Islam University.”
The engineering college has been waiting for a permanent principal for the past five years. An over-burdened Shaikh sent a formal request to the Sindh education department on August 2 to be relieved of the additional work.
Ship without a captain
Shaikh said that after the Sindh Madressatul Islam College was awarded university status, he discussed his dual responsibility with the education minister, Pir Mazharul Haq, and education secretary, Siddique Memon, on February 28. “They asked me to stay till the admissions, which was underway at that time, came to an end,” he said. “But several months have passed since then and I feel compelled to make this request since the college needs someone who could give it their full attention.”
DCET has not had a permanent principal on a four-year tenure since 2007— this includes the period under the federal education ministry and after its devolution, under the provincial government.
In the meantime,1,800 students are waiting on the accreditation of the new departments of chemical and electronics engineering with the Pakistan Engineering College. They are also waiting for the college to be awarded university status, the application for which was sent to the education department last year in November. After approval from the education minister, it has been with the chief minister since January.
“During this academic session, the college’s principal showed up for just six working days,” said Musab Bin Aqeel, the president of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba student organisation. Shaikh, accepting that he rarely showed up at the college, said that he only looked after the policy and financial matters. He had delegated the day-to-day affairs of the college to the dean of engineering faculty, Prof. Engr Rashid Baig. A seven-member college management committee, of DCET’s senior academic and administrative members, has also been established. “These issues will remain till the government appoints a permanent principal for a four-year term at the college.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2012.