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KUTS opposes federal govt’s decision to stop varsities’ funding

By News Desk
May 29, 2024
The University of Karachi entrance gate. — APP/File
The University of Karachi entrance gate. — APP/File

The Karachi University Teachers’ Society has strongly opposed the federal government’s decision to stop the current spending for universities under provincial charters, and has announced a protest movement in response.

Prof Dr Shah Ali Ul Qader, president of the Karachi University Teachers’ Society, expressed disagreement with the government’s move to halt HEC funding for universities established under provincial charters. He emphasized that universities nationwide are already grappling with financial crises, some struggling to pay salaries for staff.

This decision exacerbates the situation, particularly because funds for current expenses have been frozen for eight years. It’s important to note that the recurring grant from the HEC for over 160 universities has not been increased from 65 billion, a press release issued by KUTS said.

This year, during a pre-budget meeting, the HEC in Islamabad demanded a doubling of the fund. However, before the budget, the government reduced the recurring grant from 65 billion to 25 billion rupees and halted HEC funding to provisional charter universities, granting funds only to federal universities. Additionally, the development grant was slashed from Rs59 billion to Rs21 billion.

The KUTS said: “The abrupt announcement, just before the new budget, means only universities under federal charters will get funds for current expenses. This puts higher education and the country’s future at risk.

“Teachers, officers, and staff at Karachi University oppose the decision and urge the government to avoid interfering with higher education. They demand adequate funding for higher education institutions and stress the importance of a gradual transfer of powers and responsibilities involving all stakeholders.”

The Karachi University Teachers’ Society has called for funding allocation for all universities in the upcoming budget and proposed the establishment of a committee to devise recommendations for this transfer.

Dr Shah Ali Ul Qader has demanded urgent and clear clarification from both the federal and provincial governments regarding the alarming budget situation impacting universities nationwide.

In response to the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Fapuasa), a black day will be observed at the University of Karachi on Thursday, May 30, with further actions to be announced later.