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Teachers want FG to allocate budget for provincial universities

By Rasheed Khalid
May 27, 2023

Islamabad:The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) has denounced and rejected the recent government notification proposing a meagre budget allocation for universities in the fiscal year 2023-2024.

FAPUASA representing thousands of academics and researchers across the country in a statement issued here emphasised that this allocation wholly inadequate and a major setback for the already struggling higher education sector.

Most importantly, unlike the previous practice, according to the Finance Division Notification, Federal Government public sector universities and centres would get priority in allocation of the funds and provincially charted universities which are more than 80 per cent of total universities, has been asked to approach provincial governments to enhance their shares.

It said that this unilateral decision is violation of verdict of Council of Common Interests which decided in 2010 that the funding to the provincially charted universities would be responsibility of the Federal Government till the announcement of new NFC Award.

The FAPUASA Pakistan leadership firmly expressed that investment in education and research is pivotal for the growth and development of any nation. However, the government's proposed budget fails to reflect this critical understanding.

With an allocation that falls far short of the needs and demands of the universities, it is evident that the government neglected the urgent requirements of our higher education institutions.

It is imperative to note that universities in Pakistan are facing numerous challenges, including insufficient infrastructure, outdated equipment and a lack of essential resources. The proposed budget allocation exacerbates these issues, hindering the universities' ability to provide quality education, conduct ground-breaking research and contribute effectively to the country's progress, it said.

FAPUASA demands the Federal Government to reconsider its stance on university funding and immediately revise the budget allocation for the fiscal year 2023-2024 and include provincially charted universities. We firmly assert that the proposed budget must be increased to at least Rs500 billion for recurring expenses and an additional 200 billion rupees for development purposes.

This substantial increase in budgetary allocation is vital to address the pressing needs of the higher education sector. Adequate funding will enable universities to recruit qualified faculty, upgrade infrastructure, modernise laboratories, acquire cutting-edge research equipment, enhance library resources and foster an environment conducive to learning and research.

FAPUASA called upon the Federal Government to recognise the crucial role that universities play in nurturing intellectual growth, fostering innovation, and producing a skilled workforce. It is only through substantial investment in higher education that Pakistan can achieve its development goals, meet international standards, and compete globally.

FAPUASA also urged the government to engage in a meaningful dialogue with university stakeholders, including academic staff, students, and administration, to develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by the sector. Through collaboration and mutual cooperation, we can devise sustainable solutions that ensure the future prosperity of our higher education institutions.

The teachers’ body reiterated committed to advocating for the rights and interests of the academic community and continues to raise its voice against any policy or decision that undermined the progress of higher education in the country.