KARACHI: In another attempt that may influence the upcoming Karachi University Teachers’ Society (Kuts) elections, the Karachi University (KU) administration has selected a professor presently heading the society to give a presentation at a two-day programme aimed at introducing teachers to a performance evaluation exercise, it emerged on Saturday.

The programme meant for all teaching cadres, lecturers, assistant professors, associate professors and professors will begin from Monday.

According to sources, the performance assessment exercise recommended by the Higher Education Commission to universities has long been pending at the KU that now faces a risk of a budget cut if it further delays the process.

Presently, more than 700 teachers are associated with the university.

“Kindly note that the presentation of Prof Dr Jamil Kazmi in that programme is perceived to be politically motivated and will be an attempt to benefit a group of teachers in the elections of teachers’ society,” said a letter of KU dean of faculty of social sciences Prof Moonis Ahmer, who is also the convener of an eight-member committee formed by the university syndicate to design the procedure to carry out teachers’ performance evaluation on the campus, to the vice chancellor.

Sharing similar concerns, a committee member said it’s unfortunate that an important mechanism developed with so much labour to bring improvement in teaching standards would be politicised and lose its worth.

“It’s simply pre-poll rigging, an attempt to influence hundreds of teachers who would cast their votes in the upcoming elections. I think the administration has decided to ruin everything that comes in its way to achieve certain agendas,” said Prof Mohammad Qadri, syndicate member and part of the committee that formulated the performance evaluation exercise.

While Kuts elections are due on Nov 19, the notification of the programme came as a shock to committee members, he said. The administration didn’t even consult Prof Ahmer for Monday’s event though he had painstakingly held marathon sessions with teachers and came up with the method on how to carry out performance evaluation, he added.

However, KU registrar Dr Moazzam Ali Khan said Prof Kazmi had informed the administration that he might not be available to give the presentation.

“We are not sure whether he would be available or not on those days. But if he doesn’t come, nobody else could replace him,” he said.

The university, Dr Khan explained, had chosen him because he was part of the committee tasked to formulate teacher’s performance evaluation exercise and also because he was the geography department’s chairman.

“There are no political motives since it’s a purely administrative matter,” he replied to another question.

Previously, the university teachers had criticised the administration for what they described as ‘conditional appointments’ and termed it an attempt to rig the upcoming Kuts elections. The ‘38 conditional appointments’ approved by the syndicate were in violation of a ban on government appointments, they said.

The teachers were of the opinion that the KU administration seemed to have a ‘complete understanding’ with Kuts as both were protecting each other’s interests. The university administration, however, argued that appointments were purely an administrative matter and appointees wouldn’t be asked to join their service till the government removed the ban.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2015

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