The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Fapuasa) has called off their protest at public universities across Sindh after Universities & Boards Minister Ismail Rahoo assured the University of Karachi teachers that their issues will be resolved.
Fapuasa Central President Prof Dr Nek Muhammad Shaikh, who had earlier extended his association’s support to the Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts), told The News that if the Minister failed to address KU teachers’ issues, public universities will again hold protests and boycott teaching activities.
However, despite Rahoo’s assurances given during a meeting with a Kuts delegation, the teachers’ body is yet to announce an end to their boycott of classes. A statement issued on behalf of Rahoo read that Kuts will end its protest and resume teaching activities. “Teachers have a key role to play in the progress of educational institutes. Without teachers, the process of teaching and learning is impossible. Therefore, their issues will be resolved as soon as possible.”
A statement released by Kuts admitted that the meeting with Rahoo was held in a cordial atmosphere. “During the meeting the teachers highlighted their issues, after which the minister assured us that all such problems would be addressed.”
The teachers’ body later announced that a meeting of the Kuts general body would be convened on Thursday (today) to decide whether they should end the boycott of classes. A day earlier, Fapuasa had announced observing a Black Day and holding protests at public universities across the province in support of Kuts. The teachers’ protest had started after Universities & Boards Secretary Mureed Rahimo nullified the selection board for the appointment of professors in three KU departments.
Apart from political parties, other teachers bodies such as the Sindh Professors & Lecturers Association, the Federal Urdu University Teachers Association and the Sindh University Teachers Association had also announced their support for Kuts. A press statement issued by Fapuasa had said the Sindh government should immediately remove the universities & boards secretary due to his allegedly inappropriate behaviour with teachers and replace him with a person who is familiar with the rules of universities.
Fapuasa leaders demanded that universities be allowed to function in accordance with the laws passed by the provincial assembly. They also demanded that the pending selection boards of all government universities, including KU and the Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur, be convened immediately.
They said the infrastructure of most of the public universities is not in a good condition, adding that due to the financial crunch, it is becoming difficult to run the daily affairs, resulting in the universities being forced to increase the fees of students.
Therefore, they added, they not only demand that the provincial government provide the agreed upon grants to universities immediately but also increase the allocated grants. Fapuasa leaders were of the view that permanent vice chancellors should be appointed in all universities where there are no permanent Vice Chancellors. They condemned the “unwarranted interference” of the Anti-Corruption Department in the Sindh University, and the “harassment of teachers”, demanding that the government must stop “blackmailing through the department” or they will protest.
They said that like all the universities in Sindh, the NED University should also adopt a three-year rotation policy for professors and associate professors taking over the positions of Chairpersons and Directors.
They demanded that the “forcible” transfer of Asghar Ali Chandio of the Quaid-e-Awam University Nawabshah must end, and his withheld salary for the past many years be released.