KARACHI: The Karachi University (KU) administration held a controversial online meeting of its academic council on Friday and later announced that the forum ‘approved’ the launch of online classes as recommended by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Sources said a number of senior KU teachers, also members of the academic council, had opposed the online meeting of the council, describing it as a violation of the University Act which, they said, had no provision for an online meeting of the statutory body.
They alleged that the vice chancellor had held the online meeting ‘in haste’ on the directives of the HEC and questioned the minutes of meetings held by different boards of faculties on the proposal of online classes.
“Unless we study minutes of various boards of faculties, what will we approve in the controversial online meeting of the academic council?
Some 86 members take part in ‘online meeting’ of academic council that some see as a violation of varsity act
“The obvious haste in calling the meeting and forceful implementation of online teaching clearly seems under duress of HEC directives. HEC is continuously interfering in the affairs of public sector universities and has completely ruined the intellectual environment of university campuses since its inception,” said a note of dissent submitted by Prof S.M. Taha, a member of the academic council and vice president of the Karachi University Teachers Society.
Online classes to continue till July 15
Meanwhile, the KU administration in a press release stated that the academic council approved the conduct of online classes to continue the academic activities as part of the lockdown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“As many as 86 members participated in the online meeting, which was chaired by KU Vice Chancellor Prof Khalid Mahmood Iraqi,” it said.
According to the approved plan, the university initially would facilitate three to five teachers from each faculty as master trainers, whose responsibility would be to train other members of their faculties.
The council also approved that the deans would be responsible for nominating the master trainers and would also monitor the training of other faculty members by the master trainers.
“The online classes/submission of assignments of various courses as per the approved course outline would be conducted till July 15, 2020. The online classes may also include the alternative to labs/practical sessions.
“The teachers would conduct online classes from their homes. However, in case of any difficulty, they could use their offices, classrooms, or meeting rooms of the Dean Offices of their faculties. Each department should constitute a departmental evaluation/student assessment committee before July 15, 2020.”
The council also permitted that the university could conduct classes for students who would not attend the online classes on Saturdays and Sundays from July 16 to August 13.
The council also constituted a subcommittee regarding students’ examination, assessment, and evaluation, which would be supervised by Prof Abdul Wahid Baloch. This subcommittee would submit its recommendations to the vice chancellor.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2020