KARACHI: The Karachi University (KU) administration has not yet hired proper faculty for its law school even after an entire year to its commencement, forcing many students to quit after having obtained admission, according to sources.
The sources said on Wednesday that the university hired three female teachers on a year’s contract last year that expired a few days ago. Two of them had though been allowed to continue the job till new staff was inducted by the end of January when the university planned to hold a meeting of the ‘selection committee’.
The law school set up a year ago offered a three-year and a five-year degree programme, both in the morning and evening sessions.
The new academic session began three days ago with no end in sight to student’s concerns. “Despite paying a high tuition fee (in the morning session) that comes to around Rs36,600, we are deprived of teachers and a good library,” said a law student, adding that students of both the first batch and second year were forced to take classes together because of lack of teachers.
He said that around 60 students had taken admission to the law school last year but many left afterwards on finding the institution below their expectations. “We had come here in the hope of receiving a good education and improved facilities. But, even after paying so much, we are still not sure whether we made a right decision to invest hard-earned money of our families here,” lamented another student.
The students complained that the digital library had not been set up at the school even after a year, though the administration had announced setting it up within a year.
“There was no water cooler when we came here last year and we had to go to other departments to drink water. The water cooler was finally arranged but ironically it was placed in the male washroom,” they said.
According to the sources, classes for the evening programme are yet to start this year. Last year, most teachers in the evening session were visiting faculty members.
Senior KU teachers criticised the administration for establishing the department in haste without having first hired an experienced law faculty on a permanent basis.
They questioned as to why the university was hiring teachers on a contract basis through a ‘selection committee’ instead of its stated policy of making appointments through a selection board. Technically speaking, they argued, there were no teachers at the school as the current teachers’ contracts had expired and they had no justification to continue without renewal of contracts.
The university administration faced similar criticism last year when it announced starting a medical college along with a teaching hospital within a month or so though no development has so far been made in this regard.
“I have told them to end ad hocism that creates uncertainty. It is important for an institution to have a permanent faculty in order to make progress. You can’t outsource everything,” said Prof Moonis Ahmer, the dean of faculty of arts currently holding temporary charge of the dean of faculty of law.
Retired Justice Dr Ghaus Mohammad, director of the law school who had been hired on a two-year contract, said the teachers’ hiring process got delayed because of some objections to the job advertisement that were later rectified.
“The process has restarted and will complete in due course of time. We need more teachers this year as we will have classes of four batches,” he pointed out.
KU registrar Moazzam Ali Khan explained that the university was convening a meeting of the selection committee instead of a selection board because posts for the new department were yet to be created and were to receive administrative approval at different levels before they were publicised for hiring.
“We have to make contractual appointments during the interim period since we have already started the school. A librarian has been appointed at the school,” he said, admitting the hiring process should have been completed earlier.
The university, he said, had received an overwhelming response to the law school, which was gradually being upgraded as and when funds were made available. “The semester fee is high because it’s a specialised area,” he said in reply to a question.
About the opening of a medical college and hospital, he said the projects had been delayed on account of severe financial crisis the university was currently facing.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2015