Urdu university’s woes: Over 450 students’ future hangs in the balance

Published: February 19, 2015
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A file photo of students. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

A file photo of students. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The affairs of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) seem to be descending into chaos due to the ongoing tussle between the vice chancellor and teachers, with students left to bear the brunt.

Students of the capital campus of the varsity staged a protest sit-in near Zero Point for the second consecutive day on Wednesday demanding immediate steps for the university’s accreditation with the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

The future of over 450 engineering students hangs in a balance due to the lack of accreditation. As a mark of protest, the students have announced to boycott this semester’s final examinations.

FUUAST is a federally-chartered university with main campus in Karachi and a branch in Islamabad.

“Nobody is listening to us, rather they are giving us false hopes,” said Ajmal Khan, a protesting student.

Adeel Hashmi, a student in his seventh semester, said the department lacked proper lab equipment as well as other facilities. “How will they get PEC accreditation,” he questioned.

The batches since 2011-14 have yet to get accreditation from PEC.

Engineering departments of universities get PEC affiliation after labs, and other requirements are fulfilled upon inspection.

The last inspection carried out by PEC was back in 2010 and the varsity was directed to clear the parking lot inside the cramped premises and increase lab space. Since then, there has been silence over the next visit.

Ironically, the Islamabad campus in-charge Abdul Razzaq Memon now says they plan to float tender for new equipment and he personally visited PEC on February 12 and that the latter had agreed to visit the varsity in April.

Interestingly, the VC, Zafar Iqbal, has got eight stay orders in various cases that include one against a varsity’s senate meeting decision to send Iqbal on forced leave due to corruption charges.

This, as well as other reasons, has said to have drawn the VC’s anger towards some of the university teachers, resulting in their suspension.

“We are told to be silent or face the music,” said a teacher, who has been raising his voice against what he calls illegal actions as well as the appointment of the VC.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.

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