In today’s world of commercialized hubs including educational institutes, the culture of the society we live in is majorly a sum of borrowed culture’s be it from the West or our neighbour’s in the East.
Lets say a decade or two previously, the idea of water carnivals, beach parties, rang, festivals such as the Spanish ‘la tomatina’ and the like could not have been fathomed of being conducted by educational institutes. Lets come to the present day-now.
As soon as students are in their final year of Intermediate or Advanced Levels, they are on the lookout to being admitted in a leading (read popular) university locally.
What is the criterion which determines a school to be good? The faculty? Or its ranking in the country or if we keep our hopes high, internationally? What is it that fundamentally declares an educational institute to be worthwhile in the eyes of students, their parents or the society in general?
Our society majorly judges and prioritizes on aesthetics. How beautifully designed the campus is, what number of events are being organized in a particular institute or the fancy sums of money to be paid, to mention a few. The common misconception lies in the reasoning that quality education comes at an exorbitant price, thus more the fee, more contented parents are with the quality of education being provided.
If reality is given a peek, it is not at all a pleasurable sight.
Four years after Pakistan came into existence on the world map, a university came into existence in Karachi, the then capital of the newly formed state.
University of Karachi (UoK) lies on 1,279 acres with over 52 departments and 19 research centres. The institute has a glorious past to its attribution.
What happened to its present? What came over this prestigious school which made it lose its charm that was once known to have mystified its sudents with?
Once a school to which most households desired to get their off-springs admitted into, now is given the last preference. Those applicants who do not get into any other institution, keep their last option by trying to get enrolled in UoK. This by no way is applicable to the general majority for now too, there are students who know the worth of this historical institute, however their numbers speak a gloomy tale.
UoK is one of the very few institutes at present in the country that offers the largest number of courses under one roof. To say the campus is a city within a megalopolis would not be wrong.
Present in the campus only is the Mahmud Hussain library named after a former, noted Vice Chancellor of the university. Housing about 400,000 titles ranging from topics on history to religion and any other course one can think of, this library is a microcosm for a book addict and knowledge seeker.
This five story building overlooks the lush green lawns of the campus with the hustle bustle of students continuously ongoing whilst snacking at the campus’ popular ‘PG’, the eating place which attracts students from all over the campus be it the trademark one-bite samosas, the delectable chicken rolls or the flavoured fries which are absolutely unmatched in taste.
With one of the finest cream of professors, UoK is always lauded for a faculty that is unmatched. the university not only boasts of its incredible teaching staff, but the institute welcomes knowledge aspirants from all parts of the country as well has its gates open to the international community as well.
Keeping in mind the needs of the disabled, Karachi University has a great number of students who are physically challenged who are not accepted by various other institutes, but receive their rightful share in this particular education centre.
Not only is the fee minimal but need and merit based scholarships are easily provided to the students of the institute. Despite all these facilities, what keeps this classical institute from regaining its long lost glory? Is it that the public of a nation which is engulfed in the poverty trap seeking for too much leisure be it at education institutes? Which unfortunately seems to be true.
Yes, KU does not have centrally air conditioned classes, nor do students have the facility to register themselves for courses online. They stand in long queues to submit their semester fee, without worrying if they have air conditioners.The sooner the masses understand to live according to the harsh practicalities, the better.