KARACHI: The University of Karachi (KU) has always been in the grip of a number of crises, such as the lack of funds to pay teachers, lack of practical facilities for students, dilapidated infrastructure and poor transport facilities. The reason for all these narrows down to the varsity’s never-ending financial crisis.
Three minor groups of KU teachers have gathered under the umbrella of a new alliance, the Teachers Alliance for Good Governance (TAGG), which has been formed to address the serious issues faced by the university.
“KU has been suffering from a financial crisis for many years and it also lacks new development projects,” said Professor Ahmad Qadri, a member of TAGG, while speaking to the media at the university’s old guest house on Sunday. According to him, this situation will continue in the same vein as no appropriate measures have been taken by the management to improve the situation.
Prof Qadri said the alliance is not against any other group, but has been formed to battle corruption, illegal acts and injustices so that the university may become a peaceful place for both the teachers and students.
While addressing the press conference, another TAGG member, Prof Shakeel Farooqi, revealed that KU’s financial debts have increased from Rs927 million to Rs1.424 billion in 2015. “At the start of the fiscal year, the varsity’s administration failed to give Rs120 million for various works, whereas, in order to pay staff pensions it had taken a loan of Rs20 million, which was wasted on regular wages, and allowances,” said Farooqi. He added that no session has been held by the university’s finance committee, nor had they taken any measures to deal with the situation.
The professors said that on the one hand, KU is facing financial issues, but on the other there has been a rapid increase in the varsity’s extra expenses. In the last few years, the varsity’s vice chancellor has, like the chief minister or prime minister, hired advisers for himself. The teachers also revealed that four finance directors and deputy finance directors are serving at the university. They added that the university has also hired additional advisers, which has created a further financial burden on the university’s already depleted resources. “These are the individuals who are enjoying high salaries,” said one of the TAGG members.
TAGG’s Prof Qamar said projects commenced in 2000 are still incomplete. “We feel very [remorseful] to announce that the culprits of [KU’s financial crisis] have access to pension and other funds of the university, but no action has been taken to restrain them,” he alleged.
Highlighting the main aim of the formation of the TAGG, Prof Qamar announced that the alliance is being formed to address the university’s issues and the member teachers will keep highlighting the varsity’s various problems in hope of their resolution. “The only reason to form TAGG is to eliminate the defalcation of the university’s funds, so that it can be paid to the deserving teachers and staff, as is their fundamental right,” said Prof Qamar. He added that with the formation of this new alliance, the teachers are hopeful that the varsity’s issues will be resolved, making the university a better educational institute.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.