The vice-chancellor of Karachi University, Dr Muhammad Qaiser, has said that the varsity has decided to abolish the category-based system in the new admissions policy and students from rural Sindh will be admitted on open merit. "Earlier, we used to prefer Karachi students under the 'K' category which had attracted a lot of criticism that the Karachi University has closed its doors on the students from rural Sindh."
The academic council has altered the policy under which 400 seats have been allocated for the students of rural Sindh, he told a meeting of the Sindh Assembly's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday.
The VC said that preference will now be given to Sindhi students over those from other provinces. "Karachi is the capital of Sindh and we cannot segregate it from the rest of the districts. We have therefore decided to make a standard policy for rural and urban areas in terms of giving admission on 'open merit' by conducting an aptitude test," he said.
PPP MPA Sardar Shah, who is a member of the provincial watchdog, suggested the VC share the new admission policy with the media to put an end to the ongoing protests and grievances being expressed by the students of rural Sindh. "Every week, we see students from different districts protesting in front of Karachi Press Club. Why are they protesting if you have altered the policy?" he questioned.
The vice-chancellor assured that he would share the policy with the media as well as the lawmakers who occasionally raise the issue on the assembly floor. "Fresh admissions will be conducted according to the new policy," he said.
PAC for suo motu action
Earlier, the PAC which met with Saleem Raza Jalbani in the chair reviewed the irregularities in the accounts of the Karachi University and the Liaquat University of Medical Health and Science, Jamshoro, for the fiscal year, 2009-10.
Members of the provincial watchdog expressed their concerns over the attitude of audit officials who might be collaborating with government officials involved in irregularities. "We cannot rely on the auditor-general's report and have started consulting constitutional experts to alter the rules," said Sardar Shah. "Under these new rules, our members would be able to make surprise visits to public universities and government institutions and the PAC would be able to take suo motu action against any irregularities." He added that the current rules did not suggest any action or punishment against the corrupt government officials. "Thus, the need has arisen to amend the rules which would serve as deterrence for the corrupt officials."
During the meeting, Sindh Audit director-general Ghulam Akbar Sohu presented only three audit paras (concerns) against the two public sector universities. "The finance directors of both the varsities are professional and have done their work well. They have visited us to verify their records and we are satisfied," he said, while presenting the audit para of LUMHS regarding unaccounted articles worth Rs0.967 million. "They had purchased various items in 2008-9 and have now produced the records," he said.
On this, the PAC chairman questioned why the varsity's officials had failed to produce the records at the time of audit in 2009. "They have produced the records after five years. What is the logic behind this?" he questioned.
VC Naushad Shaikh assured the PAC that such a mistake will not be repeated again. In another para, the audit officials said that university had given advance payment of Rs0.169 million to one of its employees during 2008-9. The amount remained outstanding till a few days ago, but they had now recovered it. The VC, defending his administration, said that the payment was made to Dr Soulat Raj who was conducting a research on skin disease. The amount had been deposited in the government's account. "The delay was due to the lengthy coordination between the HEC and university," he said.
The expenditure by the Karachi University without inviting open tenders was also raised by officials of the audit department. The DG said that Rs69 million were spent on the purchase of books, furniture and printing material. KU VC Dr Muhammad Qaiser, referring to a notification by the federal ministry of education in 2008 said, "Library materials can be purchased according to the standard scheduled rates from any booksellers and tenders need not be called." The PAC settled the varsity's para, subject to verification by a sub-committee headed by the audit DG.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2014.