PESHAWAR: Dera Ismail Khan University of Agriculture reportedly uses tuition fees collected from students to pay teachers, as neither the provincial government nor the Higher Education Commission have provided them with funds since classes began there two years ago.
Insiders said Dawn that the salary paid to faculty members with doctoral and master’s degrees was even lower than the minimum wage set by the provincial government for unskilled workers.
They said teachers were paid Rs 15,000 each month, while the minimum monthly wage was Rs 21,000.
The sources claimed that the vice-chancellor had not received a salary or an official car since his appointment in October 2019.
They said the provincial cabinet approved Rs 400 million for the university five months ago, but the finance department has yet to release it.
Rs400m approved by the cabinet five months ago not yet released
The sources said the university was a picture of government neglect, especially when billions of rupees were distributed for the establishment of universities in Swat, the home district of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.
The cabinet approved Rs 400 million funds for the university at a meeting the chief minister chaired on March 16 this year.
The university’s denial of funding and the payment of a meager salary to its teachers were also discussed in the provincial assembly about four months ago.
Responding to opposition criticism on the issue, the special assistant to the chief minister responsible for higher education, Kamran Bangash, said on the house’s floor that the government had released the funds and would disburse them soon. .
A faculty member from the university said Dawn that it took nearly eight months for the approval of the Rs400 million funding summary by the cabinet.
He wondered why the finance department was denying the university the funds it desperately needed, even after cabinet approval.
“If there is a forum above the cabinet, we are ready to approach it too, to claim our right,” he said.
The teacher claimed the university contacted the finance department in May to get the money, but officials revealed that the last quarter of the fiscal year has started and no funds are available from the government. and that the money would be released in the next fiscal year, i.e. 2021-22.
He added that after the start of the new fiscal year in July, the university reminded the department to make this payment, but the latter refused to do so, saying a committee formed by the government to review the terms. financial institutions would decide the fate of the funding.
The teacher said financial constraints forced low-paid faculty members to take care of the university’s administrative and planning matters as well.
He questioned why the government created the university if it was not to be funded afterwards and said it was unfair to subject students to an “unsuitable” learning environment.
The faculty member said the university’s only source of income was fees collected from students and which, too, were used to pay salaries, rent and the electricity bill.
The university offers bachelor’s degree programs in five disciplines, including forestry, agriculture, zoology, botany and mathematics, as well as a three-year diploma in animal sciences.
Contacted, Vice-Chancellor Masroor Ellahi Babar confirmed the non-granting of funds by the provincial government and HEC to the university over the past two years.
He crossed his fingers, however, that the necessary funds would be released “soon” to help solve the university’s financial problems.
The special assistant to the chief minister responsible for higher education, Kamran Bangash, was not available to comment on the matter.
Posted in Dawn, le 22 August 2021