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KU students suffer academic loss

KARACHI, Sept 21: Students of the Karachi University (KU) are suffering enormous academic loss due to unofficial suspension of the academic activities at the university, following the minibus incident near the KU, killing 7 people, including 4 KU students.

Almost a week has been passed after the incident but the KU administration seems powerless to restore the academic activities at the university, while the semester examinations are scheduled to be held after 40 or 45 days in November. The uncertainty and fear, griping the university has forced the students to stay at home especially during the Ramadan instead of reaching the KU.

On the other hand, the members of Karachi University Employees Welfare Association hold an urgent general body meeting on Thursday to protest against alleged threats from the workers of the IJT to the employees.

According to press release issued by the association on Thursday, hundreds of the employees, KU officers and teachers attended the meeting. The representatives of the employees association, including the association president Kabir Khan and General Secretary Muhammad Fareed Siddiqui denounced the threats from IJT, which claimed that 4 students killed in the minibus incident were its workers.

According to press release, they said that the employees of the KU handled all students equally and they never involve in the students' affairs. They also warned that the employees had right to protect themselves in view of the threats from IJT.

However, the spokesman of the KU has claimed that the academic activities at the campus are returning to normal, after the last week's tragic event claiming lives of seven including four Karachi University students.

"Classes were held today at all the teaching departments at the campus on Thursday with active participation of students. Besides good attendance in classes, all the examinations including BEd and BDS are also being held as per schedule. Transportation facility for the students through point-buses has also resumed. It is hoped that by virtue of professional commitment of the teaching faculty like ever before, the students will not suffer any loss of studies.

The Vice Chancellor has directed the faculty to revise their teaching schedule to ensure that semester syllabus in completed before terminal examinations.

The Karachi University administration is making all out efforts to maintain peace and tranquility at the campus," he added.

PPI adds: More than 24000 students of the University of Karachi are suffering a lot of problems to reach campus due to acute shortage of transport facilities. The university has six faculties, 52 departments and 18 research centers. With establishment of recently set up botanical garden, the KU has become only educational institute in country with such facility.

Unfortunately, this big varsity has a poor transport system for its 24000 students. KU vice chancellor, Prof. Pirzada Qasim Ali Raza Siddiqui, on Thursday told PPI he a was doing his best to provide improved transport facilities to students. Presently, 30 shuttle buses are available with the university. They are old and undergo frequent repairs. He maintained they received funds from Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the federal government. "We are running this service at cost of millions of rupees.

Though it give no benefit to administration but we are serving students as far as we could," he added.

A number of students have personal transport, but all students could not afford it, he observed.

To resolve the matter, he suggested, there were two ways left.One to replace existing old buses with new ones with financial support of various organizations and philanthropists. He noted though purchase of so many new buses was not an easy job, so a phased approach might work in this regard.

The vice chancellor said the second possibility was to rely on the city government. He recalled voluntarily services of defunct Karachi Transport Corporation (KTC), which had provided 100 buses for pick and drop purposes of around 12,000 students in 1998.

Dr. Pirzada suggested that minibuses plying on route leading to Karachi University (KU) should be replaced with wide-bodied buses. Secondly, the city government should mobilize public transports to make free trips for students at least twice a day in morning and evening.

These buses or minibuses could pick students from areas that fall on their routes and drop them to university. Similarly, a trip should be made to pick them from university and drop to home. He suggested that city government should ink an agreement with public transport in this regard.

He noted this facility would also benefit students of nearby universities including NED University of Engineering & Technology, Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology and Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology.The Nation
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