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SAHIWAL: No student was enrolled by the University of Sahiwal (UOS) in any of the eight disciplines being offered under its four-year BS or master’s programmes because of plethora of issues the varsity was mired in.

According to varsity sources who wished not to be named, the main issues plaguing it included absence of a permanent VC, registrar, examination controller and senior faculty, non-availability of funds, dysfunctional Syndicate, lack of separate account head, administrative separation from Bahauddin Zakriya University (BZU), Multan, a corruption scam, non-recognition of NOC by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Punjab.

UoS was established under provincial government act on June 10, 2015. Initially it was declared sub-campus of the BZU, Multan, but later it was declared an autonomous varsity set up over more than 70 acres of land.

A senior faculty member told Dawn seeking anonymity that although Punjab government had established a public sector university to cater to higher education needs of students from Sahiwal division, but lack of funding from provincial government was rendering it almost dysfunctional.

It is learnt that till date neither the Punjab government has allocated any funds for the varsity nor it had an independent account head at the Accountant General Punjab’s office.

A faculty member said three years back more than 2,000 students were enrolled in different disciplines at the varsity, but after it got autonomous status the number had gone down drastically.

“This year not a single admission was made in any of the eight programmes offered at graduation and master level,” he regretted.

Presently, the varsity was without a permanent VC, registrar, controller and senior faculty members, he said.

It is learnt that more than 30 people employed on daily wages against Class IV and clerical posts have left their jobs because of non-payment of salaries for the last six months. These daily-wagers also staged a demonstration demanding salaries but to no avail.

A staff member told Dawn that more than 800-900 new students had got enrolled with the varsity last year, but this year no admission was made in four-year BS or masters programmes.

Interestingly, local administration had sought a budget of Rs1,277 million for the UoS but it was not allocated in 2016-17 provincial budget.

Other than financial constraints, the new varsity was also marred by a corruption scam.

The UoS chemistry department chairperson had leveled serious corruption allegations against some staff members who were later cleared of these charges by the federal ombudsman’s Islambad office.

According to sources, Campus Director Dr Shafiq had written a letter to the HEC for issuance of a provisional NOC to the UoS just to enroll students for the current session, but a reply was still awaited.

The Higher Education Department has recently formed a Syndicate Committee of the UoS. However, till date no meeting of the Syndicate has been called.

A Syndicate member, Saddiq Kamiyana, said the meeting under university rules and regulation could only be called by the registrar but the post had been lying vacant.

“The varsity had stuck in a vicious circle and the only solution to all the problems being faced by it was that of appointment of a permanent VC,” another Syndicate member said.

The absence of a permanent VC was further complicating the issues and the HED should make the appointment at the earliest, he added.

Sources said divisional administration was trying hard to convince the HEC to provisionally allow admissions at the varsity for 2017-18 session.

Local educationists, students and parents have also demanded that the Punjab government should seriously look into UoS matters and immediately appoint a permanent VC to help improve the situation.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2017