Up in arms: University of Swabi students’ protest continues for second day

Demonstrators threaten to shut down institute over failure to obtain no objection certificate from pharma council

Asad Zia May 13, 2015
Sajad Ali Shah, a final year pharmacy student, said the department has repeatedly failed to obtain an NOC.


Pharmacy students at University of Swabi (UoS) boycotted classes for the second consecutive day on Wednesday against the administration’s failure to obtain an NOC from the pharmacy council. A large number of students forced the pharmacy department to close and threatened to close down the university if their demands were not met within a week.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Sajad Ali Shah, a final year pharmacy student, said the department has repeatedly failed to obtain an NOC.

“As a result, the department lacks necessary equipment and facilities,” he said. “This has impacted our studies and we have not been able to conduct practical experiments due to the lack of chemicals.”

Not meeting standards

Shah said the department has only five permanent teachers and four other teachers who have been hired on a contract-basis. “According to the pharmacy council’s rules, there should be at least 15 to 20 teachers in the department,” he added.

Hina, another student, said the university has no herbarium (collection of dried plant specimens) or a separate laboratory for pharmacy students.  “The department has also failed to fulfil its responsibilities towards us,” she said. “It is expected to send students to hospitals and pharmaceutical companies as part of our study programme. However, the university’s pharmacy department has yet to do this.”

Falling on deaf ears    

Students have held several meetings with the head of the department and the university’s vice chancellor in this regard in the past year. However, the administration has only made promises to resolve the matter and have yet to take action.

Many students believe the NOC has not been issued because of the lack of facilities at the department, something faculty members confirmed.

The other view

When contacted, UoS Pharmacy Department Chairman Saleemullah Khan agreed there continues to be a lack of teachers and limited facilities in the department. “The university was founded in 2012 and is still in its formative stages,” he said. “We are trying to provide facilities to students but it will take some time.”

According to Khan, he has repeatedly urged the university’s administration to take action.

“The lack of funds has delayed the timely provision of facilities,” he said. “I would advise students not to waste their time protesting as the problem will be resolved soon.”

About the NOC, Khan said the pharmacy council had not issued the certificate to the department as it did not meet the criteria.

“We are doing our best to fulfil these requirements on a priority-basis,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2015. 


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