Friday Dec 8, 2023
Friday Dec 8, 2023

Pak: Higher education becomes distant dream for Hazro students

2023 Oct 03, 10:31, Attock [Pakistan]
Representative Image.

In Hazro, higher education has become a distant dream for countless boys students. At the only boys' college in the area, a meagre three lecturers struggle to meet the educational needs of over 400 enrolled students, while more than 800 students have abandoned their pursuit of education due to a severe shortage of staff and academic resources, Dawn reported.

Three years ago, the college had made promising strides, appointing seven lecturers and a principal to accommodate the growing student population, which had surged to over 1,800. This move aimed to enhance educational opportunities for the local youth.

However, the situation took a bleak turn when four lecturers used their connections with the PTI government to secure transfers to colleges nearer to their hometowns. Subsequently, the education department attempted to sustain academic activities by appointing temporary lecturers through the College Teaching Interns (CTI) program. Unfortunately, these interim educators were also compelled to depart when the education department faced budgetary constraints in November 2022, according to Dawn.

Currently, the college lacks faculty for key subjects such as English, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. The college's principal retired six months ago, and now a lecturer has been burdened with the additional responsibility of managing the college's administrative affairs.

Adding to the woes, the college's outer wall collapsed due to heavy rainfall in 2021 and has remained unrepaired for two years, posing a significant security risk to the students.

Danish Ali, a student, recounted that during the previous academic year, the college boasted four lecturers and a substantial number of college trainee instructors, attracting a large student body. However, in November of the previous year, the instructors' contracts concluded, and they departed alongside the four lecturers who secured transfers. Consequently, numerous students were compelled to abandon their educational pursuits due to their inability to afford the exorbitant fees charged by private colleges. Instead, they turned to agriculture and other work to support their families, as reported by Dawn.

Nisar Ali Khan, the senior vice-chairman of a local NGO, Chhach Muhafiz Committee, revealed that the organization had organized protests and meetings with various authorities. Despite their efforts, including discussions with the Deputy Commissioner, former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Malik Amin Aslam, and local Provincial Assembly member Jahangir Khanzada, who was associated with the college's establishment, no resolution was achieved.

The situation prompted additional deputy commissioner (retired) Changaiz Khan to describe the college's affairs as "tragic." He made efforts to secure the reconstruction of the college wall and address the staff shortage but found that promises made by authorities remained unfulfilled.

Former special assistant to the prime minister Malik Amin Aslam acknowledged issuing directives to provincial governments to address the issue. However, he cited financial constraints and recruitment bans as obstacles preventing solutions. He also noted that, despite his opposition, four lecturers were transferred to their native areas on humanitarian grounds.

The director of colleges, Arshad Khan, confirmed the dire state of affairs at the college and expressed awareness of the students' plight. Unfortunately, he cited technical reasons preventing the Punjab Higher Education Department from resolving the issue, Dawn reported. 


Higher Education students lecturers struggle PTI government education department
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