KU upgrades non-teaching posts despite financial crunch
KARACHI, Nov 4: Despite facing a serious financial crisis, the Karachi University (KU) administration has upgraded a number of administrative posts with retrospective effect from April 2010 without even getting its approval from the varsity syndicate, it emerged on Sunday.
According to a KU notification, the vice chancellor has upgraded posts of assistant engineer/assistant project engineer/campus engineer, assistant director/assistant librarian/ medical officer, estate officer/security officer/ research officer/budget officer (from grade 17 to grade 18), deputy director/ deputy librarian/ senior medical officer, deputy executive engineer/ project engineer/ senior security officer (from grade 18 to grade 19).
“This will be implemented only for posts which were filled by employees appointed/ promoted through the selection board or assigned to work,” the office order dated Oct 24 reads.
According to sources, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is not providing adequate funds to the university to pay the difference of enhanced salaries and the university, which has been managing the financial gaps through the lucrative evening programme, is stated to have consumed a major chunk of its own funds.
KU Registrar Dr Mansoor Ahmed, when contacted, confirmed that such a notification had been issued and that the decision for upgrading certain posts had already been taken before he joined the registrar office a few weeks ago.
“There is no doubt that about the monetary crisis but the decision for upgrading posts had been finalised before my appointment as the university registrar,” he said, adding that he couldn’t recall the exact number of people who would benefit from the decision.
Dr Muttahir Ahmed, the president of Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts), said that he had no knowledge of the notification but it was unfortunate if the university had issued such a notification.
“No one is going to believe that the university is actually facing a financial crisis because on the one hand we are saying that there is no money for employees’ salaries, development projects and research, but on the other, the university administration is upgrading posts,” he said.
The university administration, he said, had been told many times to plug leakages and take measures for reducing unnecessary expenditures, but apparently these recommendations had fallen on deaf ears.
Criticising the university administration, Dr Moonis Ahmer, director of the Area Study Centre for Europe and senior member of the university’s academic council, said that the KU’s financial woes had much to do with the continued political interference that had led to maladministration and corruption and there was neither expertise nor will at any level to bring an improvement.
“About 800 people were appointed purely on a political basis, bypassing all rules and regulations, during the previous administration. This year, the administration gave leave encashment to all teaching and non-teaching employees on their running salary instead of giving that amount on the basic salary, which is a standard practice across the country,” he said.
This waste of precious money cost the university about Rs50 million, which could have been used on other important needs, he added. “Ironically, the university claims that it has no money to buy furniture for the new building for arts classes that has remained unutilized for the past three years. The shifting to the new administrative block has also been delayed on account of financial crunch,” he said.
The university had no money to upgrade libraries or departments or even to secure the life of thousands of students who daily put their life at risk by travelling in the few buses the university had provided.
The university, he said, had kept teachers on the tenure track programme without payment for many months, giving the excuse that the HEC had not provided funds for the same and now when it had cleared some amount, no payment had been made since July. “The university is ruled by a group of mafias. How come people appointed on political basis could take the right, wise decisions for the real benefit of the university,” he asked.
According to the university data, there has almost been a 50 per cent increase in the university expenditures over the past two years. The budgetary shortfall has increased from 41 million (2010-2011) to Rs599 million (2011-2012) and then 988 million (2012-2013).
The monthly salary expenditure is Rs150 million, while an amount of Rs50 million is required every month to pay for utilities, pension, fuel, etc.
The university has more than 900 teachers and about 3,000 non-teach-ing staff.