Public sector universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have expressed anger over the provincial government’s decision to apportion a hefty sum of Rs. 8 billion for setting up a new engineering university in Swat.
Faced with one of the worst financial crises to date, the establishment of a new university in Swat has irked existing public institutions that are struggling to pay basic salaries to their members of faculty.
Some eye-opening reports have surfaced, detailing the devastation which ensued after the pandemic hit.
For starters, the University of Peshawar (UoP) recently decided to pay basic salaries to its employees for January due to a lack of funds. The institute is seeking Rs. 400 million in federal funding to help finance next month’s payouts.
Seeking bailout packages to avoid bankruptcy, the Islamia College has asked for an urgent Rs. 610 million bailout package despite owning properties worth billions. Albeit surprising, but the college has so far failed to recuperate rents from businesses that leased their lands and buildings over the past few decades. Today, Islamia College is almost bankrupt.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture University Peshawar has been asking for Rs. 900 million in bailouts to pay its employees.
General Secretary of the Engineering University Teachers Association (EUTA), Sadiq Ali, seemed irked at the KP government’s decision to establish another university in the province, with existing institutes struggling to maintain themselves. He said in a media brief,
What the government is doing with the universities in KP is not good, and it would lead to nowhere. The higher education sector has been in a shambles, and the situation is going from bad to worse with each passing day.
Sadiq Ali has urged the government to go back to the drawing board and devise plans to financially support institutes that are struggling because of the pandemic.