Veteran politicians recall a time when student unions provided a pulsating atmosphere on campuses that inculcated a sense of democratic principles within the youth
Several arguments and counter arguments have been made over the past three-and-a-half decades on the subject of restoration of student unions. But it was not until the recent Student Solidarity March, which was held simultaneously in many cities across the country, that the debate gained traction even in the corridors of the National Assembly. Mainstream politicians on either side of the House were seen voicing their support for the demand to lift the ban on student unions. We even saw the prime minister tweet on the subject – a sign that the students’ collective voice had managed to stir some acknowledgement, even if presumably feeble.
But while the demand grows stronger, and the debate gains momentum, it is necessary for us to be mindful of the need for such an institution in the first place. If anything, the current state of mainstream politics should give us reason to look forward to the restoration of student unions on campuses. Veteran politicians and activists recall a time when student unions provided a pulsating atmosphere on campuses that inculcated a sense of democratic principles and norms within the youth. For many decades, that vibrancy has been lost.
So what now? Where do we go from here? Sindh has taken the lead in initiating a legal framework for ensuring the lifting of the ban on student unions while also offering a code of conduct to adhere to. We hope this initiative is replicated across the country in better and more inclusive legal and administrative frameworks that allow a truly independent and progressive environment for student unions to function on campuses. The students have set the ball rolling. Now it’s up to those in power to deliver their intent.