KARACHI: Raising once again allegations of nepotism and financial and administrative irregularities against the vice chancellor, the Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts) at a press conference held on the campus on Wednesday demanded that the chief minister intervene, send the vice chancellor on forced leave and review his performance.

“We support the demand put forward by the Sindh chapter of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association yesterday in Larkana that the vice chancellor of KU should be sent on forced leave and that his performance be reviewed,” said president of Kuts Dr Anila Amber Malik while speaking to journalists at the Staff Club.

The vice chancellor had lost the justification to head the university as everyone — the teachers and the non-teaching staff — was protesting against him, she said.

Dr Malik, however, regretted the “government silence” on the matter as protests against the vice chancellor had been continuing for the past few months.

The teachers’ society, she said, had been pushed to hold protests and boycott classes, though it wanted to resolve matters through a dialogue.

Highlighting teachers’ grievances, she said that one pressing issue was prolonged delay in teachers’ promotions, assignment of administrative duties to teachers involved in research and non-release of PhD allowance.

“The KU has become the only university in Sindh where teachers are not being given PhD allowance being released by the Sindh government to other universities,” she said.

Sharing his concerns, Kuts vice president Dr S.M. Taha objected to the nomination of Prof Ata-ur-Rahman by the vice chancellor on the university syndicate and described it as against university rules and regulations.

The professor, it was pointed out, was on university payroll and someone receiving salary from the university couldn’t be a nominee on a statutory body.

His nomination should be immediately withdrawn, Dr Taha demanded.

He also opposed the practice of video recording proceedings of administrative and academic meetings and the appointment of research teachers on administrative posts.

Responding to a question, secretary of Kuts Ghufran Alam admitted that “all was not good either in tenures of past vice chancellors, but that shouldn’t serve as a justification to violate rules and regulations”.

The teachers also accused the vice chancellor of “creating divisions within their ranks” and of avoiding consultations with teachers.

Administration’s version

Upon contact, a KU spokesperson explained that teachers received the Rs10,000 PhD allowance being regularly released by the federal Higher Education Commission. However, the Rs15,000 PhD allowance committed by the Sindh government wasn’t released in time.

“Last year, the university paid teachers an accumulated amount of five months as soon as it received the grant for PhD allowance from the Sindh government,” he said, adding that this year the university paid the allowance amount from its own funds and it hadn’t yet received that grant from the government.

Prof Ata-ur-Rahman, he said, was on the payroll of H.E.J Research Institute of Chemistry. “It’s a part of the university but has its own funds which are audited by the university. The university, however, doesn’t pay him any amount.”

On delayed promotions, he said that the administration had amended the advertisement for teachers’ promotion after consulting teachers’ representatives and that such processes took time.

About assigning research teachers on administrative posts, he said the administration had advertised posts for controller examinations and registrar and soon appointments would be made on these positions.

He refused to comment on teachers’ accusation of creating divisions in their ranks by the vice chancellor.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2019