Instead of preparing students to play an active role in the country’s future, the increasing influence of political parties in government-run educational institutions has given rise to a multitude of problems.
Clashes between student federations have become routine at the University of Peshawar (UoP), which the administration claims it really tries hard to deal with. The tiffs, however, tend to spiral out of control, disrupting education – even for apolitical students – and resulting in casualties.
After the recent spate of violence at UoP, the administration has been compelled to vacate their hostels, spelling misery for students from distant areas. The responsibility for this has been placed squarely on the shoulders of political parties by many.
“I was told to leave the hostel, even though I have nothing to do with politics,” says a student from Bannu. “Those who have nothing to do with studies create problems for those who have nothing to do with politics.”
The student shares he has had to shift to his relative’s residence in Hayatabad without his luggage and books. He blames the university administration, saying they failed to take concrete steps to stop such incidents on campus.
Student federations, as it usually goes, emerged soon after they were banned in the mid 80s. A UoP faculty member says had unions not been banned, political parties would have never found the opportunity to penetrate educational institutions to the extent they have. Unions could have addressed problems instead of creating them, he argues.
The president of the student union would be elected under strict electoral rules and would start his day by holding a meeting with the vice chancellor, discussing student body problems, adds the faculty member.
“The student union president would always be a man of honour: cream of the class, a topper in academics, a sportsman with distinctions and a debater with great speaking powers,” shares the UoP staffer. Things started to go wrong when political parties started constituting their wings on campus.
“There are people within the administration who have a soft corner for certain parties, that’s why the situation cannot be controlled,” claims another faculty member at the university, requesting anonymity. “Some students who are politically backed do not even pay their dues; others don’t even pay for food.”
The administration needs to take stern steps to tackle the issue, the UoP member concludes, “Teaching should be a service and not a profession.”
Source: The Express Tribune