Representatives of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) from across the country held a meeting to discuss matters concerning university teachers and formulated a list of demands to be forwarded to the authorities that be. The FAPUASA meeting of its central cabinet along with provincial chapter cabinets was held at the Government College University Lahore, where the teachers agreed upon highlighting and raising 15 areas of concerns and relevant demands.
A press conference was held later, led by FAPUASA Central President Dr Mehboob Hussain along with Central General Secretary Arif Khan, Punjab President Dr Hamid Mukhtar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chapter President Dr Iqbal Munir, Balochistan Chapter President Dr Ahmad Shah Kakar, Sindh Chapter President Dr Anila Amber Malik and Islamabad Chapter President Dr Sohail Yousaf.
The varsity teachers showed concern over how public universities were run in the country, as well as several unresolved administrative issues faced by universities and its teachers, besides demanding more ownership of these matters.
The teachers issued a list of demands and concerns including the alleged faculty victimization cases at the Islamic International University Islamabad (IIUI). FAPUASA condemned the termination of faculty members at IIUI and demanded their reinstatement without any delay. They also announced a black day throughout the country against the ‘illegal’ termination and demotion of the faculty, which would be held on February 19. They also announced that the issue would be taken up with the president and prime minister of Pakistan. They also issued a warning that if their demand of reinstatement was not considered, they would be ‘compelled to take extreme steps’.
The teachers also demanded representation in all decision-making bodies and committees in the higher education sector pertaining to universities.
FAPUASA showed reservations over the current manner in which the universities were being run and made several demands in this regard, including rethinking the structure of Search Committees. They demanded that an experienced academician should be appointed as convener and also the majority of the members should be appointed from academia of public sector universities.
They also demanded that the appointment criteria of vice chancellors should be revised and must strictly be followed. They said non-PhD vice chancellors were working in several universities, which should not happen. They demanded that an annual performance review of vice chancellors should be made mandatory. Another demand in this regard was implementation of a Uniform Act for the universities in Pakistan as well as appointment of regular vice chancellors in universities.
Apart from the structural changes, FAPUASA also highlighted administrative issues in public universities of the country. They said that advertisement for the position of vice chancellors and other office bearers should be issued in time. They also alleged that minutes and proceeding of the syndicate meetings were tempered by vice chancellors and registrars or not reported properly. The FAPUASA meeting urged all universities to record the proceeding of the syndicate meetings.
Another demand of the teachers was to extend MPhil allowance to MS/MSc Hons which were equivalent degrees programmes. FAPUASA also expressed concern over appointment of male faculty members in women universities of KPK. FAPUASA representative demanded an end to political and bureaucratic interference in universities and showed concerns over ‘undue interference’ by the Higher Education Commissions and Higher Education Departments in universities.
The teachers brought up several matter plaguing the teaching community of universities and demanded that their problems be resolved on a priority basis and promises made to them fulfilled. They demanded TTS faculty issues like salary package and leave rules be revised. FAPUASA also demanded that in newly-established universities study leave was being granted on half pay and demanded to revise this practice and give study leave on full pay.
They said that the delay in the fulfilment of due rights of teachers would not be tolerated and said that some cases were being reported at different universities including the Karachi University. Further, they said, that the cases of Sindh should be addressed on priority basis.
The FAPUASA meeting also highlighted the slowing down of anti-encroachment drive at the Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, demanding the prime minister take notice of the situation and order recovery of over 298 acres of varsity land. They demanded that the government should fulfil its promise of tax rebate and retirement at 65 years of age for university teachers.