PESHAWAR: The Fata University, the only public sector higher education institution in tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been functioning in just 10 classrooms of a government college for the last seven years with staff members accusing authorities of lacking interest in the building of its own campus.
The university’s administration has established offices in the three rooms spared by the same Government Degree College in Akhorwal area of Darra Adamkhel subdivision.
According to officials, the university, which uses the tribal region’s former name Fata even after its merger with KP, was established seven years ago to provide higher education to the local youth but it continues to be without its own building.
The university formally started classes in December 2016 in four disciplines, which were later increased to eight.
VC says work on some buildings near completion, varsity to be shifted in July, August
Currently, around 800 students are enrolled in eight departments, including English, Sociology, Mathematics, Biotechnology, Political Science, Islamiat, Management Sciences and Computer Science.
“It’s not the university’s environment at all. Even some primary schools have more classrooms than our university,” a faculty member told Dawn.
He said the enrolled students belonged to Darra Adamkhel, Waziristan, Hangu, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and other areas of the southern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The teacher complained about the shortage of classrooms and said when a class was in progress, the students of another class waited outside.
He said as enough space wasn’t available to hold classes, the precious time of the students, who showed up from far-off areas, went to waste.
“Teachers feel embarrassed when students wonder when the university buildings will be in place,” he said.
He said in the morning, the university used 10 classrooms spared for it by the college, while all rooms got available in the later part of the day after the college students returned home.
When contacted, Vice-Chancellor of the Fata University Mohammad Jahanzeb Khan said that after establishment of the university, its administration faced land acquisition and security-related issues.
“As settlement has so far not been done in the Darra Adamkhel area like the rest of the tribal region, it took a lot of time to acquire land for construction of buildings,” he said.
The VC said the unavailability of water was another big issue in the region.
He said that around two years went to waste due to the Covid-19 pandemic and funds were not released during that period for putting up the building.
Mr Khan said that work on some buildings would be completed by June 30 leading to the shifting of the university to them in July and August.
Meanwhile, a university teacher told Dawn on condition of anonymity that enrolments were on decline for not having space for students and quality education.
“No student has taken admission in the first year of BS (Bachelor of Students) mathematics,” he said.
The teacher said as the construction work wasn’t completed on time, the project’s cost escalated.
A student claimed that he and other learners came to the university to get an education but returned after roaming around after finding rooms occupied.
He demanded of the government to prevent learning losses by immediately releasing funds for the early completion of work on the university’s own campus.
Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2023