Bailout package to UOBS

Facing a severe financial crisis, the vice-chancellor of the University of Baltistan, Skardu (UOBS) has requested the chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan to provide a bailout package to the university. 
In a letter to Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid, UOBS VC Prof Dr. Muahmmad Naeem Khan observed that there were two federal government chartered universities in the region the University of Baltistan, Skardu, and the Karakoram International University (KIU) while only one got the bailout package from the Gilgit-Baltistan government. The VC in his letter lauded the GB government for providing the bailout package and grant of Rs70 million to KIU.
“However, being an infant institution, the University of Baltistan (UOBS) is in need of more care and support but despite several applications, reminders and promises, so far the UOBS could not get any resource from the GB provincial government,” the letter reads. The VC requested the GB CM to provide at least equal resources to the UOBS.
Sources said the KIU had received a total of Rs70 million bailout package -- Rs 40 million by the PML-N government and remaining Rs30 million by the incumbent PTI government -- whereas the UOBS could not get any financial support from the provincial government. They further said the UOBS, established in 2017, had been facing shortage of funds on the part of Higher Education Commission (HEC) as the university had not been getting recurring budget from the HEC to run its day-to-day affairs.
It is pertinent to mention here that currently there are over 2,000 students enrolled at the University of Baltistan, Skardu, while it has some 12 affiliated colleges. The university offers 10 BS programmes besides six MPhil programmes and as per the university’s official website, the UOBS “plays a pivotal role in the socio-economic and educational development of the region through robust and contextually relevant programmes.”
A number of UOBS officials talking to The News, on condition of anonymity, said that the recent corona pandemic made the conditions worse for the university as it had to spend much from its depleting financial resources to install and upgrade the IT related equipment to disseminate education through its online Learning Management System (LMS).
They further said that if the financial resources were not provided to the university by the HEC or the provincial government, the UOBS would be unable to continue scholarships for needy and talented students while the university’s anti-corona response might also be affected. They added universities in remote areas, especially those at geo-strategic locations such as UOBS, should be given priority by the governments in terms of financial support to ward off sense of deprivation or alienation. They further said in case of no financial support to UOBS, the university would be unable to continue its study tour under which the students used to visit big cities like Islamabad and Lahore during winter.