Politicking teachers hurt Islamia College University Peshawar

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Grouping among the teachers and shortage of senior faculty members are hampering academic and administrative activities at Islamia College Peshawar (Chartered University), according to sources.

It (the university) is yet to get the academic spirit persisting in a university,” said an academician, wishing not to be named. Unfortunately, he said, the university was still functioning like a college as it used to be more than four years ago before being upgraded to university level.

The historic Islamia College Peshawar became university in July 2008 but since then the great seat of learning was not paid due attention because some of the faculty members were opposing its upgradation as it was impossible for them to safeguard their interests in the university, sources said. The man behind the idea to award status of university to this historic collage was its first vice-chancellor, Prof Ijmal Khan.

The newly established Islamia College University (ICU) was improving academically, financially and administratively. However, improvement in different sectors of the university was stopped when Mr Khan was kidnapped by militants on Sept 7, 2010, according to sources.

After kidnapping of the vice chancellor, his seat remained vacant for about six months, sources said, adding that registrar of the university was handling routine official work in the absence of the vice-chancellor while important file work used to be sent directly to the chancellor of the university.

Prof Noor Jehan was appointed acting vice-chancellor of the university in July 2012, but she too was facing resistance by the teachers struggling to maintain status quo in the university, sources said.

Before her, Prof Haider Shah served as acting vice-chancellor of ICU. Sources said that the university was short of senior faculty members but some elements were creating hurdles in the appointment of professors and associate professors as they wanted to get senior positions without facing any competition from their colleagues.

Such elements didn’t want appointment of senior teachers owing to which half of the faculty members were working on contract basis, they added. Sources said that during the last three years not a single professor, associate professor or assistant professor was appointment in the university, which was in dire need of senior teachers.

The departments were not being strengthened enough academically and most of those were working in the same status and with the same staff when the college was not upgraded to university level, they added. Since its establishment, sources said, only two meetings of the senate had been held — first in February 2010 and the second in April 2012. According to law of the university, at least two meetings of the senate should be held in a year.

ICU Vice-Chancellor Prof Noor Jehan, when contacted, told Dawn that certain elements didn’t want the university to develop. Regarding the shortage of senior faculty members, she said that for the first time in the three years, she convened the meeting of the selection board a month ago. The selection board recommended appointment of five professors, five associate professors, 12 assistant professors and 20 lecturers, she said. “The names of these faculty members have been forwarded to the syndicate of university for further procedure,” the acting vice-chancellor said.

She said that since her appointment as acting vice-chancellor, she was striving to strengthen the university academically by appointing competent teachers.