KARACHI: Due to a shortage of faculty members and issues related to affiliation, about 45 percent of college degrees in the Karachi region do not have the capacity to organize degree classes for undergraduate students, according to statistics available with The News.
Despite the fact that all public universities, including those for girls and boys, are awarded government titles, most of them do not actually offer degree programs.
Currently, around 138 government-level colleges are functioning in Karachi, of which 62 colleges cannot offer degree classes to students. The majority of such colleges are located in the suburbs of Karachi, including Orangi City, SITE, New Karachi, Sujrani City, Baldia City, Korangi and Malir. Although in some of these areas the department of higher education has established more than three colleges, unfortunately they do not function according to the standard.
In addition, the data shows that 20 percent of these 62 tertiary institutions can hardly offer Intermediate classes. Such colleges only have two or three teachers, even though they are college degrees.
According to the college academic community, the main hurdle in making the college fully functional with the teaching of all disciplines, including the humanities, science, commerce, physical education and others, is the unequal hiring of teachers in universities.
Whereas in some universities some teachers are available for one subject, others do not have teachers even for compulsory subjects.
However, government officials are of the view that one of the reasons behind teacherless colleges in suburban areas is that existing teaching staff are unwilling to join colleges that are far from their homes.
The officials agreed that if a high-ranking official such as a departmental secretary directly assigned teachers based on need throughout the city, such a problem would be resolved in no time.
Commenting on the matter, Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association spokesperson, Azizullah Memon, said the colleges had faced financial problems and most of them could not get affiliations for undergraduate programs from universities because they could not pay the affiliate fee which ranges up to Rs1 million. He added that getting affiliations from universities was a very long process.
“Affiliate fees are one of the main concerns because colleges cannot generate budgets from their own sources. Also, the shortage of subject specialists and teachers creates obstacles in the affiliation process. “
Memon said that this situation has affected female students mainly because they prefer to attend colleges which are located near their homes. She regretted that many parents of female students living in suburban areas do not allow them to attend university while colleges near where they live do not offer undergraduate programs.
He suggested that colleges should be allowed to generate funds using their own resources so that they could start degree classes without relying on government funding. He said that according to the document, currently, there are no secondary colleges in Karachi because all colleges are actually college degrees.
According to Memon, if all of these colleges started offering degree programs, students from the lower and middle income classes who could not afford the transportation costs and university fees would gain access to higher education without paying too much.
Meanwhile, the Regional Director of Higher Education, Prof. Dr. Hafiz Abdul Bari Indher, admitted that he was very aware of this. “The directorate of higher education in the Karachi region recently transferred teachers to colleges that lack faculty members,” he stressed. He added that the department had also asked the college leadership to have its institute affiliated with the university. He stated that if any college needs assistance in this matter, the department will provide assistance. However, he could not explain about the 20 percent of tertiary institutions that find it difficult to hold Intermediate classes.