Female teachers and employees of the University of Karachi (KU) said they are being deprived of an important facility with the closure of the baby daycare centre.
A large number of female teachers and employees are facing severe difficulties due to the closure of the daycare centre for their children at the campus.
The Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) has demanded that the daycare centre of KU should be reactivated immediately, while the Ministry of Women Development Sindh directed the KU to run the centre on its own.
The daycare centre at KU was established by the Sindh government through the Directorate of Women Development in 2012 under a scheme by formally signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the KU administration.
According to KUTS, now the Directorate of Women Development wants the university to take over the entire responsibility of running the centre due to which the agreement could not be reached.
KUTS President Dr Shah Ali Al-Qadar told The Express Tribune that the daycare centre has been closed for the last 10 days while women teachers and employees are facing severe difficulties. He said that a large number of women teachers and employees perform their jobs by enrolling their children in the daycare centre.
He said that the government encourage women to play an active role in society, while on the other hand, it is reluctant to provide any facilities to working women.
KUTS president said that the teaching process has also been affected by the closure of daycare centres.
Al-Qadar said that the Ministry of Women Development asked the varsity to appoint the staff of the Daycare on its own, while our demand is to activate the centre and provide the necessary staff with facilities so that the decorum of the university stays maintained.
KUTS president held a meeting with VC and reiterated the same demand to him that he should talk to the concerned minister as soon as possible to restore the daycare centre.
KU Professor Dr Intikhab Ulfat said that women who have toddlers, must be provided with a tension-free environment to perform their teaching duties wholeheartedly, otherwise, the teaching process of KU will be affected since 55% of the teaching staff are women who leave their children at the university's care centre.
While sharing her views on the matter, another professor at KU, Dr Samar Sultana said that 55% of the teaching and non-teaching staff in the university are women. She said that most of the female working women at KU are married and have children.
Assistant professor of the Department of Mass Communication Samina Qureshi, while sharing her views on the matter, said that the idea of daycare for children was first introduced in 2009 at a seminar organised by her department on the occasion of International Women's Day. She said that an MoU was finally signed in collaboration with the Department of Women's Development, which aimed to provide facilities to all working mothers at KU.
Samina Qureshi further said that according to the International Labour Organisation, it is the responsibility of the organisation and the state to provide daycare facilities to working women at their workplace. She said that the importance of a daycare facility for children cannot be overlooked in a university, where most of the staff are women. She said that the teachers have long duty hours due to their work nature. The closure of daycare centres in such a situation will affect their performance. She said that the university's administration and the Sindh government should take this matter seriously and save this facility at any cost.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2022.