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March 13, 2018

KU shuts in protest as all public varsities in Sindh set to observe black day today


March 13, 2018

The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Fapuasa) has announced the teachers will observe a black day in all public sector universities across Sindh today against the controversial Sindh Universities and Institutes Laws (Amendment) Act, 2018.

However, Karachi University (KU) teachers observed a black day on Monday, when they along with other employees and students organised a protest on campus against the provincial government and condemned the amendments.

To resist the changes in the act, Fapuasa’s Pakistan and Sindh chapters held a joint press conference at the Teachers’ Club in Karachi University. Central president Prof Dr Kaleem Ullah Barech, Sindh chapter president Prof Dr Naimat Ullah Laghari and Sindh University Teachers Association president Prof Dr Arfana Mallah spoke. A number of representatives from various varsities also attended.

Prof Laghari said Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had assured them in a recent meeting that the autonomy of the universities would be restored in the amendment bill, but this and other promises had not been fulfilled.

“It was agreed in the meeting with the CM that the draft of the bill would be shared before it was placed in the assembly, but unfortunately it was not shared with us and some important parts of the bill were overlooked by the provincial government.”

Prof Laghari said the bill was finalised without the input of and consultation with the elected teachers’ bodies. During the meeting with the CM, Fapuasa had made it clear that it would not accept the government’s interference in admission policies because it was the legitimate right of the academic councils of the varsities. “Nowhere in the world and even in other provinces of Pakistan do the provincial governments control the admission policies.”

He termed the overwhelming presence of bureaucrats in the syndicate highly objectionable. The Sindh chapter of Fapuasa had resolved that the balance of university representation should not be allowed to be tilted in favour of the government for the smooth functioning of higher education institutions in the province.

In the new act, it said, the government has introduced a clause according to which a good administrator who is not a professor can become the vice chancellor of any university of Sindh. This clause is against the basic structure and hierarchy of universities and not in accordance with the necessities of academia, it remarked.

The VC as head of the university chairs all meetings of statutory bodies, including BASR, where matters of PhD and MPhil degrees are discussed.

Fapuasa believes a person who is not a teacher and does not have a PhD cannot discuss such academic matters. It has demanded that the VC should be a person who is eligible for the post of professor.

The association has demanded that the pro vice chancellor should be appointed on the basis of the recommendation of the VC and should be a person who is eligible for the post of professor. It has also demanded that the government should take back the amendments and restore the right to frame admission policies to the academic councils.

Fapuasa central president Prof Dr Kaleem Bareech said on Monday the association had rejected the inclusion of any person from the government other than those who were already part of the selection boards or other decision-making bodies of the varsities.

He said the government had issued a notification to increase the PhD allowance from Rs10,000 to Rs25,000. He said the delegation had been informed by the CM in the meeting that funds would be transferred by the government, but the money had not yet been released.

Protest at KU

Students and employees’ wings of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) at KU, the Students Federation of Pakistan (SFP) and PSP Employees Association staged a protest on campus against the government for making amendments to the universities act.

Holding placards, they gathered in front of the central library and chanted slogans against the government.

The SFP president of the KU chapter, Muneeb Tauheed, said the Universities Act 2018 was a black law, and teachers, students and employees of all varsities of Sindh had rejected amendments. He said the government should cancel the amendments; otherwise, the SFP and PSP members would take the protest outside the campus.

Apart from members of the SFP and PSP employees’ union, around 300 teachers of the Teachers Association for Good Governance, an association of teachers at KU, gathered near the Arts Lobby. They proceeded in a march to record protest against the authorities over the changes in the law, and announced it would stage another protest the next day.

Representatives from students, teachers and staff will gather at Staff Club at 11am today to plan more protests.

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