Why are academic departments closing at Girls Degree College in Upper Dir?

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Syed Zahid Jan

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Read In Urdu

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Why are academic departments closing at Girls Degree College in Upper Dir?

Syed Zahid Jan

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Read In Urdu

Sumbul belongs to Darora, an adjoining area of Upper Dir. She is a BS student at Girls Degree College Upper Dir. Sumbul says that she has to travel for an hour to reach the college and pay Rs 10,000 as a monthly transport fee to the driver. Despite all these difficulties, when she arrives at the college, she has to return without attending classes because no teachers are available there.

"Students travel considerable distances from far-flung district areas, such as Isheri Dara, Darora, Bebior, and Barawal. However, the future of hundreds of students is becoming uncertain due to the absence of teaching staff for the past three to four years."

The Girls Degree College Dir, situated in Upper Dir, is the only educational institution in the district dedicated to women. The construction of this college building began in 2001, and by 2009, it became operational, initiating intermediate classes. However, regular graduation classes did not commence until 2012.

Before the establishment of this college, continuing education after matriculation required enrolling in colleges hundreds of miles away in Swat, Mardan, or Peshawar. However, many girls had to abandon their education because their families couldn't afford education in other cities, including tuition fees and additional expenses.

Iram Bano, a former student of the Girls' College, told Lok Sujag that when the college was established, many parents were hesitant to send their girls there. However, over time, they gradually became convinced of the importance of girls' education.

"In the early years of the college, there were all the facilities, including the best female teachers, and hundreds of students were enrolled here. However, problems increased in the college, and teachers were changed frequently.

“Consequently, the performance of the college started to be affected."

Another college student, Zahra Naseem Bibi, told Lok Sujag that after 2013, the conditions of Upper Dir Girls College started deteriorating. In her opinion, this was because when the two-year BA program was being conducted in this college, the number of subjects taught was also more. Earlier, subjects such as political science, mathematics, Urdu, zoology, botany, computer science, and sociology were being taught, but these departments were discontinued after the introduction of the four-year B.S. program.

A four-year BS Honors program was introduced in the college, but neither new departments were established nor was the required teaching staff recruited. Currently, only two subjects, Chemistry and Islamic Studies, are being taught.

English was added recently, but admissions have not been opened for the remaining faculties, and they remain closed.

When several departments in this college were closed, some students were forced to enrol in Upper Dir College for Boys, but most of the students were forced to drop out due to parents and families not allowing them to go to co-educational institutions.

Sardar Khan is the father of a female student. He says that in Girls Degree College, Upper Dir, only three subjects are being given admission in the department of Islamiat, Chemistry and English. “Due to a lack of teaching staff in other subjects, hundreds of female students are deprived of continuing their education in the subject of their choice.”

"We don't like to send our girls to a co-educational institution. It is happening for the first time in the district's history that Upper Dir Boys College is also enrolling women."

In a district with a population of nine and a half lakh, the number of women is over four and a half lakh. There is only one degree college for girls in the district, with around 600 students.

Meanwhile, the number of girls in Boys Degree College is around 300.

Lok Sujag tried several times to contact the principal of Upper Dir Girls Degree College but did not receive a response from them. The senior clerk of the college also said that he was not authorised by the provincial directorate of higher education department to provide details to the media.

However, according to the documents obtained by Lok Sujag, there are 44 approved teaching staff posts for teaching 21 subjects at Inter and B.Sc levels. There are 21 sanctioned teacher posts for Inter and 23 for BS classes, including two Grade 20 Professors, six Associate Professors (Grade 19), nine Assistant Professors (Grade 18) and 23 Lecturers (Grade 17 and 18).

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According to the college records, there are only ten female teachers out of 44, while 34 posts are vacant, which has seriously affected the college's education system.

Currently, admissions are only open for three faculties: English, Chemistry, and Islamic Studies, while all other faculties are practically closed.

According to the administration of Girls College, the authority to appoint staff is not with the college but with the Higher Education Commission. The college has sent many written requests to the commission. Despite this, the college administration appoints visiting teaching staff for a few months on a temporary contract.

The former provincial minister and three-time member of the provincial assembly from Jamaat-e-Islami, Inayatullah, served as MPA from constituency PK-12. The former ruling party PTI's Sahibzada Sibghatullah has been the MNA from the NA-5 constituency. The parents of the girl students have repeatedly brought this issue to their attention. However, due to their disinterest and the management's lack of commitment, the problem of appointing teaching staff at Girls' Degree College could not be resolved.

Published on 17 Jan 2024

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