Red faces as KU postpones recruitment test
Karachi, May 25: A hurriedly-organised written test for the recruitment of lecturers for the Sindhi department of Karachi University was postponed at the last minute on Monday following the intervention of Karachi University Teachers’ Society, causing resentment among the few candidates who had turned up on short notice.

The university administration postponed the paper just before it started on Monday on the insistence of Kuts members who said that the urgency shown in calling candidates and last-minute changes in the schedule of tests had rendered the selection process subjective.

According to the sources, the administration had in fact scheduled the tests and interviews for Persian, mass communication and commerce departments from May 24. However, changes were made last Friday (May 21) when call letters were sent to Sindhi department candidates instead of commerce department candidates. After the Monday test, interviews with the selected candidates were planned for Tuesday, just a day before the dean of the faculty of arts, Prof Saleem Memon, was due to retire.

Although nothing was stated officially then about the reason for changes in the schedule of test and urgency in calling candidates, sources said that the changes were made in haste under some pressure. They said many candidates might not have received the call letters, which were sent on the last working day, as only 26 out of 41 candidates turned up for the test on Monday.

Protesting against the development, Kuts members held a meeting with the vice-chancellor in the morning and later reached the KU-run Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre (SZIC) where the test had been organised.

“We asked Dr Fahimuddin conducting the exam to talk to the vice-chancellor before proceeding further which he did and later suspended the process on the vice-chancellor’s directive,” said Kuts president Dr Abid Husnain.

While tests for the mass communication and Persian department candidates were held according to the schedule, the candidates for Sindhi department posts staged a protest demonstration at the administration block of the university against the last-minute postponement of test.

To pacify the protesters, KU pro vice-chancellor Dr Nasiruddin Khan announced that the test would be held on Tuesday. However, the test date was later fixed for June 7.

“We appreciate the vice-chancellor for taking a timely decision as we feel that a significant number of candidates would have been deprived of the opportunity to compete if the tests were held today because it’s very likely that many candidates have received the call letters today as Saturday and Sunday were holidays,” said Dr Husnain.

Dr Husnain questioned the test timings and said that hasty decisions affected transparency of the examination process.

According to the sources, the ‘haste’ shown in this case fits in with other developments at the Sindhi department. The posts for lecturers were advertised in 2008. However, the selection board could not be held despite repeated attempts during the last year by a former chairperson of the Sindhi department, Prof Dr Khurshid Abbasi. She finally retired three months ago. At present, Dr Abid Shah is the acting chairman of the department. But being an assistant professor, he cannot be part of the selection board. In this situation, Prof Saleem Memon, who is also the dean of the arts faculty, is the senior most teacher of the Sindhi department.

While speaking to us, Prof Memon, who also heads the Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai Chair on the campus, dispelled the allegation that he pressurised the administration into holding the tests in an emergency and said: “Deans do not decide the test dates and it’s all up to the administration.”

Without citing any reason for the last-minute postponement of the test, a KU press release states that the test for candidates aspiring for lectureship at the Sindhi department has been rescheduled and now will be held on June 7 at 10am at the SZIC. The selected candidates will be interviewed the same day at 12noon at the vice chancellor’s office. The selection board would interview the selected candidates for the mass communication department the same day. Dawn

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