It was June 2021, when the University of Peshawar, after going through a financial crisis for several years, had finally been able to pay salaries and pensions to its employees without borrowing a single penny. But the happy memory of days gone by.
One of the great alma mater of Pakistan, the University of Peshawar is now facing a financial deficit of more than 400 million and is unable to pay salaries and pensions. The situation further deteriorated because of the pandemic, online classes and a low number of students.
Likewise, other public universities i.e Islamia College University Peshawar, University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar and Agriculture University are also facing a deficit. The establishment of new universities across the province facilitates the students to get admission to the nearby universities.
The professors and university staff are deprived while not having salaries and they went on strike. The precious educational year of students is passing in vain. On the other hand, students are also reluctant to submit semester fees as they are assessing the situation of the teacher’s unavailability and they are demanding regularly paid teachers.
Moreover, the situation is exacerbated due to the political turmoil in the country. The federal government had conducted the wicked treatment with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government back in January this year by taking over Rs.50 billion to bypass the then PTI-led provincial government and instead spend the funds on recommendations from politicians belonging to the coalition government. That heinous act of the federal government put pressure on the provincial government and cause serious fiscal trouble. The lack of funds from the federal government paralyzed the provincial government and its aftershocks are experiencing more after the interim set-up.
Therefore, to counter the crisis in public universities at KP, both the federal and provincial governments should consider the matter seriously and should allocate funds to this sector instead of spending on new development projects and parliamentarians’ schemes.