KARACHI - Students of the MA Final Evening Programme, Department of Mass Communication, Karachi University (KU), have expressed their serious concern over the unavailability of teachers for routine classes and other guidance during the entire semester. It seems that the whole tuition fee of the semester is going to be squandered, while the departments authorities are unconcerned towards the academic loss of the students in the evening programme, The Nation has learned from the complaints of the students. They said that the students were forced to complete their 75 per cent attendance during the whole semester, starting from June 1, 2009, but the teachers seem beyond from this condition. The point of concern for the students is the useless curriculum which is being taught at the department despite the fact that the evening programme of the Karachi University offers a number of subjects both at the Master and BS levels, they said. It is pertinent to mention here that the programme has been scheduled between 3:30pm and 8:30pm. It usually starts around 5:00pm in those departments where laboratory courses are not offered. This provides an opportunity for in-service individuals to improve their academic qualification and enhance their career prospects along with the fresh graduates. There are two semesters in a year. Tuition fee is charged in each semester. The fee ranges from Rs11,000 to Rs24,000 per semester for different degree programmes. During the holy month of Ramazan, the classes remain suspended to save students from any possible hardship due to fasting. Students complained that teachers engaged the students into useless assignments. Some students of the BS evening programme said that a lady teacher had prepared a list of students having short attendance despite the fact that she remained away from the classes during the whole semester. As per the KU official website, The Department of Mass Communication, previously known as the Department of Journalism, was established in 1955 with a diploma course for the working journalists. The objective was to produce qualified journalists and mediamen and to cater to the growing needs of the national press and communication industry. In 1962, the diploma programme was replaced with a regular two-year MA programme in the light of the recommendations of the Pakistan Press Commission with an aim to expand and modernise media education in the country. Talking to The Nation, chairperson of the department, Dr Rafia Taj, said that this was nothing except an exaggeration while students were careless and non-serious towards their studies. She admitted that the classes are over crowded, while only 7 teachers are available for about four faculties including electronic media, advertisement and development support, public relations and print media. In MA Final there are around 100 students, which shows that the department is facing scarcity of teachers, she said. The preparation of assignments was an important part of some courses hence it cannot be avoided. I was appointed as chairperson of the department in August 2009 while the said semester had been started on July 1, 2009. On the other hand, one month had been passed in Ramazan, hence many decisions had not been taken under my supervision, she added.