Feb 10 - 23, 2003



is an educationist and associated with teaching profession for the last 30 years. He did his Masters in the Statistics from the University of Karachi in 1971. As an Associate Professor at Degree College Malir, Mushtaq carries various distinctions to his credit especially by rendering his selfless services for the cause of education in Pakistan. As the General Secretary of Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association, he played a key role in resolving the issues confronted both the teachers as well as the students in the province of Sindh. The credit for introducing the Centralized Admission Policy (CAP) at college level in Karachi goes to the Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association which has greatly helped eliminating the element of discrepancies and even corruption in the process of admission in colleges. The CAP has been appreciated by other provinces of the country and they are also interested to opt for this policy. Mushtaq also takes great interest in journalism and has worked in Daily Sun for over 3 years as Assistant Editor in early 70s.

PAGE: As a senior educationist how would you describe the state of education especially at the college level where it is alleged that both students as well as the teachers do not turn up to attend classes hence most of the state owned colleges generally present a deserted look. It is also alleged that majority of the college teachers instead of attending the colleges are running their own Coaching Centers.

MUSHTAQ: There is no truth in this observation that most of the time colleges present a deserted look as both teachers and the students do not turn up to take their classes. In fact, as a matter of rules, students are required to attain 75 per cent class attendance prior to enter into their exams. Hence the situation is altogether different and students have to attend their classes. In fact, the persistent law and order situation played havoc with the education especially during 90s in Karachi. The parents naturally restrained the students to attend the schools or colleges due excessive politicization in the educational institutions. Instead of sending their sons or daughters to the colleges, they preferred to send them to the coaching centers for safety reasons. However, since the situation has been improved greatly, the students as well as the teachers are taking their classes regularly. As far as the interest of the teachers in running coaching centers was concerned, in fact the teachers are forced to find alternative source of income to meet their financial requirements. The salary structure and allowances are not sufficient to meet day to day expenses. For example, there is no salary revision since 1994. The teachers are getting the same House Rent Allowance they were getting in 1994. The teachers are running coaching centers as done by other professional just to overcome their financial constraints. There is a need of revision of the salary structure, so that the teachers could devote their time and energy free from financial pressures for imparting the quality education.



PAGE: How would you describe the overall quality and standard of education in the province of Sindh as compared to other parts of the country?

MUSHTAQ: As far as quality of education is concerned no doubt the quality of education has been tremendously improved in the province of NWFP. They have completely overcome the menace of cheating in exams. The students getting through exams are coming out purely on merits as compared to the state of affairs in Sindh. Pressure groups exist in the students politics are responsible for indulging in cheating in Karachi. In some cases cheating is carried out at gun point besides other malpractices in the system.

PAGE: There is a mushroom growth of private universities and other educational institutions which are charging exorbitant fees. Do you think that there should be some regulatory body to keep a check on excessive charges by these private institutions?

MUSHTAQ: Certainly, there should a regulatory body to ensure affordable price of education. This regulatory body should also look into the quality of the so called faculty through which these institutions are operating. In fact, it was the world-wide craze for IT which attracted various businessmen to enter into education sector as a commercial venture. However, with the decline of demand for IT graduate, the spate or craze for IT is gradually subsiding. The sharp decline in demand for IT professionals has pricked the balloon. There is a reverse trend in education and the students are coming back to the principle subjects. These education institutions which had emerged at every corner of the street are gradually getting out of the scene. As a matter of fact, the government colleges and institutions have their own credibility and majority of the students still like to go through state owned organizations. The survival in the education field would only be for the fittest and the unscrupulous stuff would not last long.