The financial crisis has taken a severe toll on two of the top universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), namely the University of Agriculture and the University of Peshawar. The situation is so dire that these institutions are on the brink of closure, with the current and former employees not receiving their salaries and pensions for the month of September.
A senior professor from the University of Agriculture voiced his concerns to a local media outlet, stating that if the issue remains unresolved, they would have no choice but to announce a complete boycott. He criticized the university’s administration, particularly the vice-chancellor, for the ongoing predicament. The professor revealed that the employees were promised that their salaries, along with a 15 percent increase, would be released by the vice-chancellor. However, this has not happened, leading to further discontent among the staff.
The professor also outlined their future course of action, which includes ceasing to perform duties and seizing the official residences under their use as a response to the non-payment of their salaries and pensions.
Senior professor from the University of Agriculture
Dr. Riaz Khattak, an ex-professor and representative of the pensioners, expressed his disappointment that his suggestion to prioritize the payment of salaries and pensions of low-grade employees was ignored. He asserted that the university had sufficient funds for this purpose.
Dr. Jehan Bakht, the vice-chancellor of the University of Agriculture, disclosed that the University of Agriculture, University of Peshawar, University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, and Gomal University are all facing challenging financial situations. He warned that the University of Agriculture and the University of Peshawar could shut down in the next two months if the situation does not improve.
Regarding the university funds, Dr. Bakht stated that they have received a message from the Higher Education Commission (HEC). However, the funds for October, November, and December, amounting to Rs. 230 million, would only be enough to pay the salaries and pensions for the month of September. The total amount required to pay a month’s salary and pension of University of Peshawar employees is Rs. 380 million, but the funds from HEC for the aforementioned three months amount to only Rs 364 million.
This financial crisis gripping the top universities in KP is a matter of grave concern, affecting not just the staff and their families, but also the future of education in the region. It calls for immediate attention and resolution from the relevant authorities.