LAHORE: Punjab University teachers have welcomed the syndicate decision to lease 50 kanals of varsity situated in Faisal Town near Jinnah Hospital to Daewoo Bus Company for generating Rs 78 million per year with 10 percent annual increase.
Teachers said the financial crisis of Higher Education Commission during last government’s tenure, five universities of the country were unable to even pay salaries to their staff and they had to borrow money from banks on higher interest rates. Following the crisis, the HEC had written letters to all public sector universities to try to become financially sound using their own available resources. The Universities Act also allows varsities to use their lands for commercial purpose to become financially sound and invest on education and research promotion, they said.
Although a teachers group from Jamat-i-Islami tried to oppose the deal, however a majority of teachers were in favour of the deal. Punjab University Teachers Front, which recently won all seats of the Academic Staff Association Election for the second term, completely supported this land deal in a bid to help make university financially sound.
According to PU deal, the bus company would establish state-of-the-art multipurpose complex with modern amenities of public interest. The amount of Rs 78million will be spent on educational promotion and faculty developments programmess and other expenditures of the university. PU sources said that general rate of land lease in varsity was Rs 35,000 to 45,000 per acre and according to the aforementioned rate the varsity could get only Rs 0.3 million for 50-kanal per annum. However, this deal with private bus company would provide university with Rs 78 million per annum.
They said that the government was also supporting the policy to make universities financially supportive to run them smoothly. This amount will be spent to help meet budget deficit and promote academic and research activities of the varsity.
A university spokesman said that PU annual budget was Rs 5 billion out of which HEC provides on Rs 1.6 million (around 30 percent) and rest of the 70 percent is met by university’s own resources. Vice Chancellor Mujahid Kamran has focused on research and increase research promotion budget to Rs 100 million, which helped uplift university’s international ranking. He said that number of annual PhD production in varsity has increased the mark of 200 due to the research promotional policy of the vice chancellor.
“The university get Rs 100 million as tuition fee while it is spending Rs 70 million on student scholarships and fee waivers of needy students. The lease agreement would help strong the university financially and continue programme of faculty development under which teachers are sent abroad for PhD and participation on international conferences,” the spokesman added.
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