Varsity teachers announce ‘black day’

FAPUASA demands reversal of budget cut for provincial institutions

ADNAN LODHI May 29, 2024


The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) will observe a ‘black day’ on Thursday in protest against the government’s refusal to release adequate funds for the public sector universities in the provinces.

In a meeting of the FAPUASA Executive Council, the professors expressed concern over a cut in the budget for the public sector universities indicated by the government.

The federal organisation Meanwhile appealed to the academic staff associations of all government universities to join it in the protest on May 30 against the slashing of funds.

With preparation of the annual budget under way, the federal government appears unwilling to release more funds for the public sector universities.

The meeting chaired by FAPUASA President Dr Amjad Abbas Magsi was called to discuss a notification of the federal government, in which it had refused to allocate funds for the universities in the provinces.

The participants unanimously rejected the decision due to its devastating effects on the higher education sector. They said the sector was already suffering because of apathy of the government.

The staff associations in the all government universities were directed to organise meetings and take all stake holders along to raise voice.

The council also decided to organise a sit-in in Islamabad next week.

The president and general secretary of the federation said the federal government’s decision to cut the budgets of provincial universities was beyond its constitutional authority.

Any decision regarding the budget of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) must be placed before the Council of Common Interests (CCI), they stated.

They termed it imperative that before making any cuts to the HEC budget, the government must allocate funds in accordance with the provincial shares. Many universities in the provinces were facing severe financial challenges, they added.

"The government has shown a lack of seriousness in addressing the dire conditions of our universities. It is crucial to remind that higher education plays a pivotal role in the economic development of a country. Undermining this sector will have long-term detrimental effects on our nation’s progress and prosperity. FAPUASA strongly demands that the government immediately withdraw its decision regarding the HEC budget,” said Dr Magsi.

Urging the government to increase the higher education budget to Rs500 billion, FAPUASA said failure to reverse the decision would result in the closure of the universities that were unable to pay salaries and pensions.

It pointed out that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had not yet established their provincial higher education commissions. The institutions might need to enhance their efforts for securing research grants and donations to maintain the educational standard, while development projects might stall.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2024.


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