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March 14, 2018

Teacher bodies end protest after CM assures review of controversial clauses


March 14, 2018

Teacher bodies of public universities across Sindh have called off their protest after the chief minister assured them that the controversial clauses of the recently passed bill granting him complete authority over government-run varsities will be reviewed.

A delegation comprising teachers’ representative bodies from various public universities of the province as well as the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Fapuasa) called on Syed Murad Ali Shah at the CM House on Tuesday to discuss the recently passed Sindh Universities & Institutes Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018.

Dr Moiz Khan, who represented Karachi University teachers in the meeting, said the bill has been forwarded to the governor for his assent, but it is expected that he would not allow it to be passed into law.

Khan said the delegation has been assured that the bill will be revised in accordance with the suggestions over the proposed amendments that the Governor House would forward to the CM House.

The delegation was led by Fapuasa Central President Kaleem Ullah Barech and included Sindh President Prof Dr Naimat Ullah Laghari. The government was represented by the CM, his Principal Secretary Sohail Rajput, School Education Secretary Dr Iqbal Hussain Durrani and College Education Secretary Pervez Ahmed Seehar.

On March 9, despite vociferous agitation and a protest walkout by the opposition, the Sindh Assembly passed the bill through a majority vote. PA opposition leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan later told the media that the opposition would challenge the bill in court.

Representative bodies of teachers of various universities expressed concerns over the amendments that have reduced the powers of the chancellor and vice-chancellors. They also objected to the autonomy of public varsities being affected because of the inclusion of bureaucrats in decision-making bodies such as senate, syndicate and board of advanced studies.

The teachers’ bodies, along with student organisations, announced staging protest demonstrations over the amendments at universities across the province. On Monday Fapuasa and its Sindh chapter had told a news conference at KU that they would resist the changes in the existing act through protests.

However, after the assurance of the chief executive, Fapuasa called off the protest. Earlier, teachers and students of the University of Karachi had observed a “black day” for a second consecutive day to protest against the bill.

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