Teachers warn of strike over budget

LAHORE :13 september: The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has warned the government of countrywide strike in all universities if the government did not immediately increase the higher education budget according to the demand. Addressing a press conference at Punjab University Club here on Thursday, the FAPUASA Punjab Chapter also warned that the teachers would shut down all the universities in the province if there was any MTI-style amendment to the Act of universities. FAPUASA Punjab Chapter President Dr Mumtaz Anwar Chaudhry, Secretary Dr Amir Masood, UET Teaching Staff Association President Dr Amanat Ali Bhatti, PUASA Secretary Javed Sami and representatives of teachers from various universities of Punjab were present on the occasion. Dr Mumtaz Anwar Chaudhry said Higher Education Commission (HEC) had demanded Rs 103 billion from the government for current fiscal year. However, he said, the government promised Rs 50 billion but after cut of another Rs 7 billion, the government allocated only Rs 43 billion, which was a meagre amount to run the affairs of universities. He said the PTI had promised to give priority to higher education during its elections campaign but opposite to its claims, it had ignored the education sector. He said that due to the policies of the government, the access of Pakistani people to higher education was becoming difficult day-by-day. Dr Mumtaz Anwar said the universities had to increase fee to meet expenditures and thus poor students would have to bear the burden. He said small universities were reaching the verge of destruction due to shortage of funds. He said HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri had allegedly failed to plead the universities’ case before the government. He said all universities in Pakistan were facing problems as the HEC chairman did not play his role properly. He said the government was planning some amendments to the Acts of universities which would not be acceptable. FAPUASA Punjab President Dr Mumtaz Anwar, who is also president of the Punjab University ASA (PUASA), said the government should give more autonomy to the institutions rather it was making efforts to politicise universities and empower public representatives in university matters. He said the government must also amend the criteria regarding the appointment of vice chancellors as the search committees were behaving like interview committees. He said that any reform in higher education sector must be introduced after consultation with the stakeholders. He said that the government had also reduced tax rebate of the teachers and their salaries had been reduced. He said retirement age of teachers must be increased to 65 years and PhD allowance of university teachers in Punjab must be made equal to other provinces. He said the salaries of teachers on TTS had not been increased for the last four years. Their issues must be resolved on a priority basis. He said if the government did not take FAPUASA demands seriously, they would launch protest drive all over the province which would create problems for the government.The news.

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