Wednesday December 06, 2023

Karachi University teachers call off strike after Sindh CM's intervention

The Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) announced an indefinite boycott of classes over non-payment of arrears

September 25, 2023
The University of Karachi. — APP/File
The University of Karachi. — APP/File

KARACHI: The teachers of the University of Karachi (KU) called off their ongoing strike after meeting the Secretary Universities and Boards Department on Monday.

According to the Sindh Chief Minister (CM) House, KU faculty members called off their strike after Muhammad Mureed Rahimoon, Secretary Universities and Boards Department, met with the on-strike teachers — on the direction of Sindh Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar — and assured them of expedited redressal of their grievances.

Directing the on-strike faculty to commence teaching activities, the chief minister reassured them that he would personally oversee that the issues faced by the teachers were duly addressed and resolved.

Meanwhile, in its demands, the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) has asked the government to ensure the payment of salary increments which are due for four months. 

Also, the teachers' union has called for an immediate meeting of the varsity's selection board to restore amenities including hospital panel and fee exemptions for MPhil and PhD programmes.

The development comes as KU faculty members earlier this month, had announced to boycott morning and evening classes for an indefinite period due to non-payment of arrears for the past one-and-a-half years.

Earlier in the day KU administration abolished the teachers' fee for MPhil and PhD. They added, however, that this would further increase the financial deficit of the varsity, Geo News reported on Monday.

According to the notification issued by the KU registrar, the teachers are now exempt from paying admission, enrollment, semester examination, thesis evaluation, and viva examination fees for MPhil and PhD — which means it is now completely free for them.

It should be noted that the students doing MPhil from the University of Karachi had to pay Rs332,000 while the fees for PhD was Rs407,000.

KU's Vice-Chancellor Dr Khalid Iraqi said that the teachers were called for negotiations, however, they did not come to the meeting. "The teachers will be invited for a meeting today as well," he added.

Speaking on the issue earlier, KUTS Secretary Dr Faizan-ul-Hassan Naqvi revealed that the varsity's budget had not been approved for the past four years, which had affected the academic and research work at the university.

“The visiting faculty are being hired at a rate of Rs600 per lecture, which after deduction is reduced to Rs480 [and] even this is not being paid,” he added.

The strike which kicked off on September 22 had added to the woes of students who were suffering from losses as their classes continued to remain suspended.

The students deplored the "frequent" strikes and complained of "being sick of [their] studies taking such a heavy hit every semester".

"Because of these huge gaps, once the strikes are over, we have to rush through our courses before exam time which means we're not getting even half the education we paid for. This is a major drawback of studying at a politically active government university," complained one student.

Whereas another student was of the view that the faculty members should prioritise their students’ needs above all and should protest for their rights in a way that doesn’t affect the students.