Despite its protected status, unauthorised construction work is being carried out at the historic D.J. Science College.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Despite its protected status, unauthorised construction work is being carried out at the historic D.J. Science College.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The controversy surrounding the D.J. Science College took another turn when the Sindh government transferred Professor Meher Mangi from the post of college principal, it emerged on Tuesday.

The decline in fresh admissions in the college, proposal of setting up government offices on the premises and now the transfer of the college principal set alarm bells ringing in the quarters concerned, who found the development mysterious and a hint of conspiracy against the educational institution.

Prof Mangi, being the college principal, had noticed and blew the whistle on admissions at the historic educational institution happening against merit.

The decision came at a time when recently Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah ordered an inquiry into an 85 per cent decline in fresh admissions in D.J. Science College after opposition parties termed it a conspiracy to set up government offices inside the city’s oldest and one of the prestigious educational institutions.

In a recent letter to college education dept, Prof Mangi highlighted admissions against merit in prestigious institution

The department of college education has issued the orders for Prof Mangi to work under the principal of grade 19 in the Jinnah Government College despite his belonging to grade 20.

Prof Mangi has been replaced at D.J. College by former acting Director General-Colleges and the current Director-Finance Prof Rashid Mahar, who was recently promoted to Grade 20. His fresh appointment as the college principal has been signed by the Sindh chief secretary, who also issued the transfer order of Prof Mangi.

A few days ago, Prof Mangi had written to the department of college education that admissions in the newly started Computer Science faculty in his college were being given to students who got ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘E’ grades in their matriculation exams.

It is for the first time in the history of D.J. Science College that admissions have been given to students with mediocre and low grades.

According to the outgoing principal’s letter, only 12 ‘A-1’ grade students, 11 ‘A’ grade students and 19 ‘B’ grade students got admission in the Faculty of Computer Science, which had 106 admissions. Meanwhile, 34 students with a ‘C’ grade and 26 with ‘D’ grade were admitted.

Only last week, Education Minister Sardar Shah told Dawn that there was no proposal of establishing provincial government’s offices on the premises of the D.J. Science College.

He also promised to take strict action against those found responsible for decline in the admission in one of the most prestigious colleges in the city.

He said he had directed the college education department to fill the capacity of the college. “Those who have taken admissions in other colleges may opt for transfer to D.J. College,” he said adding that the colleges had been directed to issue transfer certificates to the willing students.

The minister, however, said that the priority would be given to those students who were residents of the localities nearby the college.

As for establishing provincial government offices on the premises of the college, he said that there was a suggestion to set up Urdu and English languages learning centres at one of the empty blocks of the college to impart training to the language teachers in private schools.

He said that the department decided to establish language learning of teachers as the private schools had pointed out that they had not been getting competent language teachers.

The Jamaat-i-Islami, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pak Sarzameen Party had accused the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government of hatching a conspiracy to encroach upon the historic building.

They said as to how the college, which had always remained top priority of the Karachi students and their parents, had “mysteriously” registered 85pc decline in the admissions amid the government proposals of utilisation of D.J. College premises for different “multiple purposes”.

They said that setting up government offices in a protected heritage building was a sheer violation of the Sindh Culture Heritage Act 1994.

Additional reporting by Tahir Siddiqui

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2022

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