SOCIETY 1- Public transport for Karachi



July 14 - 20, 2003




PROF. MOHAMMAD NASIR UDDIN KHAN, is a senior educationist and associated with the Department of Chemistry, University of Karachi since 1988. He did his Masters from Sindh University, Jamshoro, Hyderabad and joined University of Karachi as lecturer. Nasir completed his M. Phil in 1995. He is about to submit his thesis of Ph.D. on "Heavy Metals" with the theme of new methods of analysis. Mohammed Nasir, besides discharging his professional responsibilities takes keen interest in the welfare of students' affairs. He also served as the student's adviser and Secretary for Transport Committee of the University of Karachi for many years. His devotion for the cause of education is reflected in his research papers and articles, frequently published in local and international media.

PAGE: You are associated with Pakistan's one of the most prestigious organization i.e. University of Karachi. How do you see the quality of education in Pakistan both in terms of the faculty as well as the crop of graduates passing out every year from your organization, which stated to be the center of excellence?

PROF. NASIR: To tell you the truth, there is always a room for improvement in everything and the University of Karachi is also not an exception to this. Actually, a strong faculty is of vital importance for imparting quality education compatible to the market demand. Unfortunately, the University lagging far behind to meet this requirement as almost half of the total strength of the teachers is working on ad-hoc terms. Out of the ad-hoc teachers most have been retained after retirement as cooperative teachers or fresh graduates are hired as cooperative teachers at nominal salaries. This is no way to run such a huge organization engaged in producing our future leaders. Since these cooperative teachers are not paid accordingly they work half heatedly. There is an immediate need to rectify the system of hiring teachers and vacant seats should be published in the newspapers.

PAGE: What criterion you would suggest to make it a transparent system for hiring teachers at various faculties?

NASIR: The liking and disliking of the respective Chairman also matters a lot in hiring the fresh graduates. Instead of announcing the vacant positions in the newspapers, the chairman hires out of the fresh graduates of his own choice on ad-hoc basis. These ad-hoc teachers are working for last many years. The salary structure is so unattractive that hardly attracts the teachers of high caliber. Most of the existing staff has to devote their time and energy in part time business activity to meet the two ends, which ultimately affects the quality of education. In order to improve quality of education, besides upward revision of the salary structure, teachers from different departments should be sent abroad for an exposure and on job training for development of their teaching techniques and qualities.

PAGE: The students are excessively involved in political activities rather than focusing their attention on their syllabus to get better results. What is your opinion?

NASIR: This is highly important that there should be some screening of the teachers as well in the educational organizations. Involvement of the teachers in active politics is not in the interest of the organization as well as for overall growth of education. Hence activists from various political parties should not be allowed in the fold of the teachers.

PAGE: There are talks about revival of the old system at secondary level and changes at the higher education level. What would you suggest about the change in the education policy?



NASIR: Education system at the Primary and Secondary level is of vital importance for producing quality graduates at the higher level. Hence it would be extremely significant for bring improvement in education that instead of the existing dual system, the Cambridge system be adopted with necessary modifications in accordance with our local requirement. This would greatly help in forging uniformity among the younger generation for matching education qualities with the international standards. While making policies for higher education, the policy makers should also consult with the experienced and seasoned teachers so that the system could be evolved to cater to the needs of the demand of the market.

PAGE: University of Karachi has become the kingdom of women as the girl's students occupying majority of the seats. If it is true what is the reason behind increasing the number of girl's students as compared to the male students?

NASIR: This is a general pattern all over the country that girls are out numbering to the boys. Whether it is the University of Punjab, Peshawar, Sindh or Karachi the girls have an edge over boys. As far as Karachi University was concerned, the girls are around 70 per cent, which give a look that it is a university of the girls. One of the reasons behinds this drastic change is the shift of the interest of the males towards short-term technical diploma or other technical course due to economic pressures. While boys also do not devote their efforts and energies to get higher marks to become eligible for admissions in various faculties at the university level which also deprives them of the higher education.