Author Topic: Academicians concerned at mushrooming of general universities  (Read 2836 times)

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Academicians concerned at mushrooming of general universities

Peshawar: The mushrooming of public sector general universities in the underdeveloped Frontier province has invited serious concern of senior academicians, who say the government as well as Higher Education Commission should strengthen the postgraduate colleges instead of opening university every here and there.

"In principle it is right to set up more and more universities in the province. But I think it would affect the standard of education in our province, where qualified manpower is already short," said Prof Dr Javed Khan, a senior faculty member of the University of Peshawar.

He was of the opinion that there was a shortage of properly qualified faculty in several departments of the University of Peshawar - the largest and oldest public sector general varsity of the province - wherefrom qualified teachers would be arranged at the remote districts?

"I personally think that more focus should be on strengthening the graduate and

postgraduate colleges. The degree colleges could be converted to degree awarding institutes for promotion of quality education," Prof Dr Javed added.

President of Federation of All Pakistan University Academic Staff Association Dr Arbab Khan Afridi, when contacted, said it was not a good trend. The government should strengthen the already established universities before going ahead with more universities. He said more universities would help nothing except increasing the non-development expenditures and burden the national exchequer. "The administrative charges on one university exceed an amount of Rs8 million per month. This amount could be better utilised on uplift projects in education sector," he said.

Dr Arbab, who is also president of Peshawar University Teachers Association (PUTA), said they had also opposed the establishment of Islamia College University (ICU) adjacent to the University of Peshawar. The same could have been set up at Charsadda, Mardan or Swabi, where spacious pieces of land owned by the historic Islamia College were laying unutilised. But the government was adamant on converting the ICP into a university, he said.

Dr Javed Khan, who has been serving as acting vice-chancellor of UoP for the last eight months, however said that the faculty of ICP should have opposed the idea of Islamia College University right in the beginning. But now as an ordinance for establishment of ICU has been promulgated, the governor should appoint a vice-chancellor for it at the earliest.

Four public sector general universities - University of Peshawar, Gomal University, DI Khan, Hazara University Mansehra and Malakand University, Chakdara, Dir Lower - are presently operating in the province.

Two universities for science and technology - Kohat University for Science and Technology and Bannu University for Science and Technology - are also functioning in the public sector. Besides, the NWFP has got one each university in medical, engineering and agriculture profession - Khyber Medical University, NWFP University of Engineering and Technology and NWFP Agricultural University.

The government recently upgraded Islamia College Peshawar to university level. NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti, who hails from Mardan, has also announced establishment of a general university in his hometown. The same was also promised by Federal Minister for Population Welfare Khwaja Mohammad Khan Hoti during his election campaign. It is also learnt that Jahanzeb College Mingora is also being converted into a university.

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