— Students and teachers of Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah have expressed their anguish over the poor condition of lecture halls.
Almost all classrooms at the university have broken-down chairs and desks, walls cluttered with graffiti and corridors littered with garbage.
The government had spent billions of riyals to build a campus with modern structures in the Islamic architectural style, but they were not maintained properly to suit the stature of an institution of international acclaim where students from many foreign countries have enrolled.
Khaled Al-Thaqafi, a student, criticized the university authorities for not taking any corrective action to keep the lecture halls and university corridors in good shape by removing broken-down tables and chairs, whitewashing dirty walls and replacing dysfunctional lights.
He wondered how Umm Al-Qura officials spend the huge budget allocated to it every year. “They should have used a good portion of the budget for maintenance work and replace old furniture,” he added.
Salim Al-Luhaibi, another student, said the chaotic lecture halls do not provide an atmosphere conducive for learning.
“Visitors to Umm Al-Qura will be amazed to see its marvelous buildings, but they will be shocked by the poor condition of its lecture halls. I hope the university would take this issue seriously and adopt corrective measures as quickly as possible,” he told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
Mohammed Al-Harthi expressed his indignation at the poor condition of Umm Al-Qura lecture halls. “We can see electric wires dropping down from the roof, threatening the safety of students and lecturers,” he pointed out.
He said people anyone who walks through the university’s buildings could see garbage piling up in the corridors. “We hope the management would take quick action to improve the condition of the university’s lecture halls and make them appealing to students and teachers alike,” he said.
Tariq Ahmed said air-conditioners in some halls were not functioning. “As a result, students attend lectures in an extremely horrible atmosphere and this will certainly affect their academic performance,” he said, adding that the university officials should be ashamed of visitors seeing the garbage accumulated in the corridors.
Ahmed said the walls of lecture halls were full of writings and drawings that do not suit the stature of Umm Al-Qura. “It tarnishes the institution’s international reputation,” he added.
Etidal Al-Nassar, a female student, also spoke about the repugnant state of lecture halls and other facilities. “The Umm Al-Qura administration takes arbitrary decisions without considering its replications on the students,” he said, referring to the closure of the women’s hostel.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette tried to contact Dr. Bakri Assas, president of Umm Al-Qura, to convey the grievances voiced by the students but he did not respond.