The government’s decision to discontinue funding for various projects is forcing public university teachers to come out on the roads in protest, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has warned.

In a press statement issued Thursday, FAPUASA Punjab President Prof Dr Hamid Mukhtar said neither the provincial nor the federal higher education commissions were providing funding to university teachers for participating and presenting research papers at international conferences abroad, which was a criminal neglect and akin to discouraging researchers and research culture.

Mukhtar said the honorable prime minister had taken notice of Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) restrictions on PhD programmes for faculty members, as well as the closure of six major projects by the commission, but nothing had been done practically to resume the funding.

He said programmes rolled back included faculty development programme, Start-up research grants for fresh PhD holders, grant for repair and maintenance of scientific equipment, access to scientific instrumentation programme, research travel grant for university faculty and scholars and grants to organize seminars, conferences and training workshops.

The FAPUASA Punjab president said the situation in Punjab HEC was even worse due to the absence of a regular chairman for the last several months. He said FAPUASA had also voiced strong reservations over the criteria and composition of search committees for the selection of prestigious positions of vice chancellors in public sector universities of Punjab, but the government had done nothing in this regard.

He threatened that university teachers would stage protests if the situation did not improve and PHEC and HEC did not resume funding for the above mentioned projects.

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