With accusations of financial misappropriations now levelled against the Sindh University, the already tarnished image of the varsity, which has been infamous for rampant cheating and unfair scoring, has suffered a strong blow.
A college teacher has filed a petition in the Sindh High Court, accusing the varsity of fleecing Rs27.7 million from undergraduate students as late examination fee. “The amount has been charged as ‘extra late’ fees from the students and has not been included in the budget book,” Prof Yaqoob Chandio, a former leader of Sindh Professor and Lecturers Association, claimed in the petition.
According to the petitioner, the fee was charged from the external students of BA, BSc and B Com parts I and II. The exams were announced on May 22, 2012, while June 18, 2012, was set as the last date to submit the examination forms. After the due date, the forms were to be accepted with late fees till June 25, 2012.
However, the petitioner told the court the last date was extended to July 11, 2012, during which an additional late fee was collected from the students. The students of BA part I paid Rs9.39 million as extra late fee, in addition to Rs29.96 million for the exam fee and Rs1.43 million as late fee, while the BA part II students paid Rs8 million extra late fee, besides the Rs38.3-million exam fee and the Rs1.16-million late fee. A total of 14,651 and 11,106 students paid fee for the BA part I and II exams, respectively.
Similarly, Rs608,220 and Rs1.72 million extra were taken from BSc part I and II students who paid Rs21.13 million and Rs21.28 million fee within the due date. A total of 10,065 candidates paid the fee.
The B Com part I students were charged Rs8 million as ‘extra late’ fee. They paid Rs1.97 million fee within the due date and Rs504,000 as late fee. A total of 9,403 submitted the challans. The petitioner did not provide details of B Com part II.
Chandio prayed to the court to declare the amount collected as ‘extra fee’ as illegal and to order the National Accountability Bureau to initiate an investigation against the vice chancellor, registrar, controller and assistant controller examinations. The inquiry report should be submitted in the court within two months along with the details from the Habib Bank, where the fee was deposited, he said. He also appealed to refund the extra money to the students.
The SU has 15 private affiliated colleges and 79 other government colleges in the nine districts of Hyderabad and four districts of Mirpurkhas.
SU controller examination Dr Naeem Tariq Narejo, who is one of the respondents, expressed lack of knowledge on the issue. “I took charge in August, 2012. But, I remember that no student ever came up with any complaint about charging extra fees,” he said. He said that the court notices, which ordered respondents to submit replies on July 16, had not been served on them. “If the notices are served, we will give a response in court.”
Narejo confirmed, however, that the charging of additional late fees had been approved at a meeting of the syndicate in March-April, 2013. According to the new rule, he added, Rs500 late fee will be charged after the due date, while the amount will double after 15 days of the last date, Rs1,500 after 30 days and Rs2,000 after 45 days. “Tens of thousands of students from colleges in various parts of Sindh graduate from the university,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2013.
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