University teachers suspend three-day sit-in outside the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for 15 days after the Senate of Pakistan took up their demands.
Scores of teachers from various universities had congregated outside the HEC to draw attention to their grievances related to the non-issuance of notifications regarding their service structure and promotion policy.
University Teachers Suspend Three-Day Sit-In
Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, one of the protesters and the media coordinator for the teachers, revealed, “This evening, we decided to call off our protest for 15 days as yesterday our issue was taken up by the Senate of Pakistan, and we were informed about this development today.”
The All Public Universities BPS Teachers Association (APUBTA) had called for the protest. However, some university heads, including those from the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), Government College Women University Faisalabad, Hazara University Mansehra, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar, Rawalpindi Women University, and Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, had directed faculty members not to participate in the protest and maintain their attendance in their respective universities.
APUBTA representatives revealed that after an online meeting held on Monday between HEC Chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed and vice-chancellors of universities, the VCs had started urging faculty members not to participate in the sit-in. Despite these challenges, scores of teachers participated in the protest to highlight their concerns.
The protesters voiced their frustration, stating that instead of addressing the genuine problems faced by more than 50,000 BPS faculty members in 150 public sector universities, the HEC and vice-chancellors had attempted to thwart their protest.
Dr. Manzoor, in his statement to Dawn, shared that on Wednesday, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had taken notice of the teachers’ protest and referred the case to the Senate Standing Committee on Education. The Senate Chairman’s attention was drawn to the issue by Senator Saadia Abbasi.
The protesters’ representative noted that in the past, Senate and National Assembly Standing Committees had taken up teachers’ issues and directed the HEC to resolve them. It is unfortunate that the HEC has not effectively addressed their concerns despite previous commitments, he lamented.
Meanwhile, the HEC’s media wing has not issued a statement regarding the protest or the allegations made by the protesting teachers against the commission.
The teachers’ decision to suspend their protest temporarily underscores the urgency of addressing their demands related to service structure and promotion policies within the higher education sector in Pakistan. The Senate’s involvement brings hope for a resolution to these long-standing issues.