KARACHI: Teachers of most government-run universities in the province boycotted classes on Wednesday to protest the federal government’s cut in Higher Education Commission (HEC) funds.
The teachers were following the decision of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), as their colleagues in other parts of country also staged a similar protest.
In Karachi, educational activities at the University of Karachi (KU), NED University of Engineering and Technology and Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology came to a halt.
However, the boycott was not observed by the teachers of the Dow University, where the classes were conducted as usual.
Wearing black armbands, KU and NED teachers staged a demonstration on University Road. They demanded the restoration of HEC funds and chanted slogans against the finance minister, the prime minister’s adviser on education and the HEC.
A few days ago, the finance minister had advised vice-chancellors of the government-run universities to generate funds on their own.
The teacher unions also held a meeting presided over by Dr Abid Hussain at KU, where it was demanded that not only should the HEC funds be restored, but increased as well, otherwise, a protest campaign would be launched.
Professor Fayyaz Wahid of the KU teachers’ association said that the participants of the meeting demanded the finance minister and adviser to the prime minister on education to issue an apology to the teachers for their remarks and attitude. If the demand is not met, the teachers will launch a campaign for their resignation.
The unions also warned the government that privatising state-run universities could jeopardise the future of students.
In other parts of Sindh, classes were boycotted at Sindh University, Mehran Engineering University and Sindh Agriculture University, Tando Jam.
However, Dr Naushad Shaikh, vice chancellor of the Liaquat University of Medical Sciences Jamshoro, said classes were not boycotted at his university and as far as he knew, academic activities continued normally at the Sindh and Mehran universities as well
Two-hour strike every day
FAPUASA has decided that teachers will boycott classes for two hours every day until their demands are met. “Teachers will not attend classes from 11 am to 1 pm every day until the HEC grant is restored,” said Dr Fayyaz Waid, adding that the decision will be implemented from today (Thursday). Meanwhile, the FAPUASA Sindh chapter will hold a meeting on Thursday to decide a course of action.
additional input from ppi
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2010.
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