Universities countrywide closure against HEC cuts
Universities observing countrywide closure
Islamabad, Sept 23: At least 72 universities remained shut down on Wednesday, suspending
academic activities countrywide, against government's refusal to provide
funds to the Higher Education Commission (HEC), report said. Vice
Chancellors of public sector universities had threatened to shut down
campus after their meeting with government officials ended without any
conclusion on Tuesday. Teachers, students and the non-academic staff are
holding protest rally in the campuses, demanding of the government to
immediately release funds for higher education. In this regard,
Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association has
announced protest demonstration outside the Parliament House on Sept 25. The news
"I am sure that the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of
Pakistan, Dr Nadeem ul Haq, a PhD in economics, would ensure that
adequate funds are provided to the state-owned universities and
institutes of higher learning. No country in the world can survive
without specialists in science, technology, economics and liberal arts.
Even if we have to cut the budget allocations for unnecessary
expenditures in the administration, the presidency, housing for top
civil and uniformed bureaucracy and useless foreign trips, we must do
so, for these funds are diverted for running our universities and fulfil
the needs of the HEC.
It must be borne in mind that countries
without abundant natural resources like Japan etc., which invested in
human-resource development, have made more rapid economic progress than
nations which have abundant natural resources but made no investment in
education and health. As a nation we have no other choice but to invest
Name: Malik Tariq Ali
City, Country: Lahore, Pakistan
cuts in the Higher Education Commission's budget further indicate the
priorities of the present government. It is heartrending to know that
the future of around 4000 students who are studying in foreign
universities is at stake. Why not cut down the unproductive expenditure
of the government, the foreign tours, the lavish lifestyle of our rulers
and perks and privileges enjoyed by their cronies instead?"
Name: Shahab Alam
City, Country: Rawalpindi, Pakistan
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Teachers' protest closes varsities across country
Lahore: Public sector universities across the country suspended
on Wednesday all academic activities in protest against the government's
decision to slash recurring grants and its refusal to release funds for
meeting a raise in salary of employees.
associations under the banner of Federation of All Pakistan Universities
Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) held demonstrations in almost all
universities in the country, including Azad Kashmir. They urged the
federal government to release funds to allow universities to continue
their academic, research and expansion activities. It has been learnt
that over 90 per cent of the universities are unable to pay the raise in
salary and have been urging the government to provide additional
grants. A massive cut of Rs6.8 billion in the budget has led to stoppage
of almost all development projects in universities.
said that the government had diverted resources from all sectors to
rehabilitation of flood-affected people, but the FAPUASA officials
contended the decisions to reduce grants and not to pay additional funds
for the increased salary had been made much before the flood. The
discontinuation of funds will also affect the National Education
Policy's goal of developing infrastructure and human resources to triple
the enrolment in universities.
The FAPUASA had started
protesting against the financial cut soon after the announcement of
federal budget in June, but toned it down after floods. The FAPUASA
president, Prof Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar, announced that universities across
the country would observe a one-hour academic boycott on Thursday. He
said the federation's executive body would hold a meeting in Islamabad
on Friday and stage a demonstration in front of National Assembly on
Prof Akhtar said that for the first time all
vice-chancellors had supported the stance taken by the federation. He
alleged that the government was not committed to promoting education
because it was funding 'self-projection' initiatives and depriving the
universities of their share. He said the universities needed Rs10
billion to continue academic activities and carry out development
In reply a question about the constitution of a
committee by the prime minister to look into the matter, Prof Akhtar
said it was an exercise in futility. "It is a very simple issue and can
be resolved if the federal government releases the already pledged funds
to the Higher Education Commission and give additional funds to meet
50pc pay raise and 15pc medical allowance." He said the shortage of
funds would force universities to suspend faculty and human resources
development projects and affect investment made in the higher education
sector over the past 10 years.
The protest gained momentum after
statements by the ministers of finance and education. Finance Minister
Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh had told vice-chancellors that the funds pledged
to universities and for the higher education sector would not be
released. He asked the universities to raise fees to generate resources.
Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali had accused the teachers' community of using students to get their salary raised.
Punjab University Academic Staff Association and Engineering University
Teaching Staff Association jointly staged a demonstration outside the
Lahore Press Club. Faculty members of all public sector universities in
Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi, Bahawalpur, Multan, Faisalabad
and Gujrat also boycotted academic activities and brought out
Faculty members of the Karachi University passed a
resolution demanding immediate release of funds, abolition of the Higher
Education Commission and an unconditional apology from the finance
minister and former HEC chairperson for making offensive remarks against
public sector universities.
Teachers of Islamia University in Bahawalpur boycotted classes and observed a black day by wearing black armbands.
Dr Mujahid Kamran, Punjab University's Vice-Chancellor, said that big
universities with massive infrastructure and resources might survive,
but the small and new universities had no resources to generate funds.
nine-member committee, led by the Planning Commission's Nadeem-ul-Haq
will hold a meeting on Thursday. The outcome of the meeting will
determine the future course of action by the FAPUASA. Dawn
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DUHS faculty, students stage rally against HEC budget cut
Karachi: Faculty members and students of Dow University of Health
Sciences (DUHS) on Wednesday staged a rally to demand immediate
restoration of budgetary allocations for higher education in the
country. DUHS Vice Chancellor Prof Masood Hameed Khan on the occasion
said no less than 72 universities in the country, actively and
extensively engaged in promoting post graduate programs and research
have been severely affected due to paucity of funds.
He said DUHS sent
its outstanding students and junior faculty members, after due scrutiny
and on the basis of absolute merit, for PhDs. "On completion of their
education many resumed their responsibility at the university, which is
to our benefit," he said. Khan also referred to a series of hi-tech labs
established and updated research-cum-education and training programmes
initiated at the DUHS since the inception of HEC. He acknowledged that
there was a need to focus on primary and basic education in the country.
"This, however, does not mean that need for post-graduate education and
research culture should be compromised," Khan concluded. app
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Academic activities suspended in varsities
Hyderabad: Academic activities remained suspended in three
universities of Hyderabad and Jamshoro districts on Wednesday as
teachers boycotted classes on the call of the Federation of All Pakistan
Universities Academic Staff Association in protest against cuts in
funds for higher education.
However, academic activities in
Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences remained unaffected as
its teachers did not respond to strike call.
wore black armbands and held general body meetings in Sindh University,
Mehran University of Engineering and Technology and Sindh Agriculture
Teaching staff held rallies in the premises of campuses as well, demanding immediate release of funds for higher education.
According to VC of LUMHS, Prof Dr.Noshad Sheikh, such actions should
not be taken to demand raise in funds. "I oppose such approach
strongly", he said over phone.
He said this is not the way
universities should be closed to demand funds from the government. He
said that the government must have been facing some resource constraints
and issues of raise in funds should be taken accordingly with
In Khairpur, academic activities remained suspended at Shah Abdul Latif University.
A meeting of SALU Teachers' Society, presided over by its president
Prof. Dr. Noor Shah Bukhari, demanded of the government to reallocate
funds of Rs7 billion to universities so that the development projects
and faculty development programme could be completed and enhanced
salaries of the employees could be paid.
The demanded removal
of Federal minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on account of his
arrogant attitude towards the higher education.
In Nawabshah, teachers of the Quaid-i-Awam University of Engineering and Technology boycotted classes and held a demonstration. Dawn
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HEC-funded students abroad to continue education
Islamabad: Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez
Shaikh on Wednesday assured the Senate that all the students studying
abroad on Higher Education Commission's (HEC) scholarships will not be
affected by the current financial constraints caused by the recent flood
Replying to questions during Question Hour, the
minister said that the government was committed to promoting higher
education in the country and, therefore, the HEC budget had been
increased up to eight percent in the current budget.
He said that
funds would also be provided for the on-going projects of the students
studying aboard. He said that there was a challenging economic situation
and the government was mobilising necessary resources to cope with the
Shaikh said the current expenditures of the
government had been frozen at the level of last year and efforts were
being made to reduce domestic borrowing. "We are talking about
self-reliance and opposing foreign loans, but at the same time we are
not willing to pay more taxes," he added.
He said successive
governments had failed to tax the elite and now efforts were being made
to make them pay. He indicated the possibility of one-time tax to raise
money for reconstruction of the flood-affected areas.
question, Privatisation Minister Waqar Ahmad informed the House in a
written reply that Rs 367.553 billion had been realised through
privatisation of 60 public sector entities since 2001-2010.
Welfare Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan told the House that a 10-year
vision had been prepared to address the challenges arising out of
population explosion. She said a training programme for clerics and
imams would be initiated on the pattern of Bangladesh to involve them in
advocacy for population issues. Daily times
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Students suffer as varsity staffers boycott work
Peshawar: The teachers and administrative staff of all public
sector universities and their affiliated colleges boycotted classes and
work in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to press for their demands of 50 per cent
raise in their salaries as announced by the federal government.
The students and candidates, intending to get admission in the
university, faced hardships as staff of the University of Peshawar
assembled in the Convocation Hall on Wednesday and suspended all the
work in protest.
Dr Mohammad Tayyab, general secretary of
Peshawar University Teachers Association, said that Federation of All
Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) had a single
point agenda to demand 50 per cent increase in salaries as announced by
the federal government in the start of this financial year.
said that before announcing the general body meeting and its protest
they had issued a notification directing the staff that admission
process and examinations should not be suffered and offices should be
opened. He said that students were also faced with problems like
exorbitant raise in their tuition fees and closure of university due to
different incidents but the Wednesday boycott had not affected the
The students, who were sitting idle on the lawns of
various departments, said that boycott of teachers just ahead of their
examination was going to affect them.
"Our time is being wasted.
The university remains closed due to one reason or another and then
just after summer vacations boycott of teachers is just a waste of our
time and money (fees) we have paid for the semester," complained a
student of Institute of Management Studies.
said that if the teachers were not getting raise why should they waste
their time. He questioned why they should suffer as they paid full
Shamim, who had come all the way from Mohmand
Agency, said that she was there to get information about admission in
MSc but there was no one at the office.
Mateen , a student of
Islamic center, said that she wanted to get information about the
examination, suspended due to floods, but there was no one to guide her.
A student of Pharmacy department said that he was trying to
get clearance, a requirement of the university before appearing in
examination, and was running around for the last three days but could
not get papers signed due to strike.
Two students from Karak,
waiting outside the administration block, said that they paid Rs600 fare
to reach Peshawar but now they would have to come again tomorrow.
"We have nowhere to stay for the night and cannot go back to village as
the entire trip would be expensive," one of them said. He wondered why
the staff didn't facilitate students, who had to cross so many hurdles
to come and get admission in the university.
The teachers ended their meeting with a walk on the campus and chanted slogans for their rights.
Our Correspondent from Mansehra adds: The staff of Hazara University on
Wednesday held rally against cut in financial assistance by Higher
Education Commission to public sector universities.
The heads and members of faculties and other teachers, holding banners and placards, held a rally on the university premises.
Speaking on occasion, Professor Habib and Professor Muqarrab Shah said
that government was not taking seriously the higher education and that
was why the financial assistance of universities was cut.
said that salaries of other government employees were increased but
employees of universities were ignored. They said that they would
continue their agitation until their demands were met.
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KU teachers warn of mass protests over non-release of funds
Karachi: The government received a lot of flak at a large
gathering of Karachi University (KU) teachers who warned of a massive
countrywide movement along with their colleagues in other provinces if
the allocated funds were not released to the public-sector universities
During the Karachi University Teachers' Society (Kuts)
general body meeting a unanimous resolution was also passed to abolish
the Higher Education Commission which was described by the participants
of the meeting as a "white elephant". They held the commission
responsible for all the ills being faced by public-sector universities
in the country.
No academic activity was held on the campus on
Wednesday in protest which had been planned in accordance with a
decision of the All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations
The forum of Kuts also supported a unanimous call
for an unconditional apology from federal finance minister Dr Abdul
Hafeez Shaikh, also a former KU student and teacher, and former HEC
chairperson Shahnaz Wazir Ali - both of whom reportedly had made some
uncalled-for comments about the seats of higher learning.
said that the government was working on the World Bank agenda to
privatise educational institutions and deprive the poor and middle class
of opportunities of higher education which was the only source of this
section of society to improve their living standards.
teachers, they said, had always sacrificed for the country and would
continue to do so, but their hard-earned money was not meant for the
luxuries of the government officials who, they said, were bent upon
taking foreign tours when the country was facing its worst-ever crisis.
Instead of penalising teachers, the government should tax the rich and
the corrupt people and recover billions of rupees that had been written
off, they said.
"It's a black day in the history of Karachi
University when teachers have been forced to suspend classes and have
gathered in protest. The most unfortunate part of the whole episode is
that an elected government which claims to be a proponent of people's
cause has done the gravest harm to the cause of education," remarked Dr
Abid Husnain, president of Kuts.
Dr Husnain linked the
government's refusal to release funds to the issue of verification of
degrees and said: "The financial crisis has been going on for almost two
years. But, what's the reason that the universities which attracted a
lot of media attention in recent weeks have suddenly been thrown into a
deep crisis" he asked.
A number of fiery speeches were made
during the meeting amid the calls that the struggle must not be confined
to teachers alone and the non-teaching staffs and students should be
made part of the movement.
"The government is asking us to
raise fees in order to run universities. But, it's a misconception that
the generated amount would be adequate to run a university. If the KU
even increases its fees 100 per cent, it would only contribute four per
cent to the total university budget," Dr Shakeel Farooqui, a member of
the KU syndicate said.
KU administration faces criticism
The present KU administration also came under fire at the meeting and
the teachers held the government, the HEC and the administration equally
responsible for the situation.
"Everyone on the campus knows
how much the vice chancellor loves education? The university, under him,
has been ruined due to large-scale corruption. There are many
department chairpersons sitting in this hall who have been trying for
over a year to meet the VC. But, he has no time," claimed Dr Riaz Ahmed
of the Applied Chemistry department.
The teachers also
criticised the administration's policy of hiding the earnings of the
Evening Programme and said that it was one of the reasons that the
government had stopped the funding because they had assumed that
universities were making a lot of money on their own.
no transparency and no accountability at any level, they said and
demanded that a strict financial regime must be introduced on the
Over 400 appointments had been made at the KU over two
years while large amounts of money had been spent on useless
infrastructures and on the offices of two pro vice chancellors, the
participants of the meeting said.
While censuring the HEC,
teachers referred to the huge expenditures of the commission. Currently,
there were 35 director generals working at the HEC, each of them
drawing a salary of over Rs500,000, one of them said.
At the end of the meeting, a walk was held from the arts lobby to the Silver Jubilee gate.
Classes would remain suspended on Thursday at KU from 11am to 1pm, Kuts announced late on Wednesday.
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Increased budget urged for higher education
Hyderabad: The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic
Staff Association, Sindh chapter, has demanded raise in budget for
higher education and said that funds of Rs7 billion for public sector
universities should be released immediately to enable them to pay
increased salary to their staff.
It demanded resignation of
Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Javed Leghari on the ground that
that he had failed to put up a strong case of universities to the
At a press conference here on Wednesday association
leader Professor Badar Soomro also came hard on the Governor of Sindh's
role in taking up university matters. He also recorded his disapproval
to appointments of retired employees on administrative positions.
He said that around eight out of 10 VCs of public sector universities
in Sindh were retired government servants and awarded contract, adding
that VCs should be serving PhDs.
He alleged that discrimination
was being meted out by federal government to Sindh's universities and
demanded parity on the part of government.
He said that
university teachers would protest in Islamabad on September 25 to raise
their demands and hope that the government might come up with a positive
response prior to it.
He demanded issuance of scholarship
orders for those who had qualified Graduate Assessment Test (GRE) in
2007 and vesting vice chancellors of universities in Sindh with
authority to issue No Objection Certificate (NOC).
He said that
50 per cent raise in salaries and a 15 per cent raise in medical
allowance announced by the present government should be given to faculty
members of Sindh's universities without delay.
He said that in
view of resolutions adopted by syndicates of universities of Sindh
orders regarding all cases of hardship should be issued and rejected
Sindh governor's notification in this regard on the ground that like
other provinces hardships in Sindh should be resolved and there should
be an end to interference of governor's house.
scholarship orders for those teachers who passed GRE since 2007 in
Sindh's universities had not been issued, therefore, they should
immediately be issued. Especially, he said, funds for scholars which
were released to universities should be utilised.
Soomro said that they considered re-employment policy and appointment of
retired officials on administrative position a burden on university's
These retired officials should be removed
immediately, he added. He demanded that like universities of the
provinces authority for issuance of NOC should be delegated to vice
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