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Privatised varsity teachers reject boycott call

LAHORE, Sept 19: Public universities in the city have rejected a call by the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) to boycott classes.

FAPUASA has been protesting against the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the past two months. It had announced a token strike in all public universities and asked teachers not to attend classes from 10:00am to 12:00pm on September 19 (today) and September 26. FAPUSA said on Tuesday that this was a token strike and a signal to HEC to accept their demands. However, most universities have ignored FAPUASA's call and plan to hold classes on scheduled.

Muhammad Akram Khan, University of Engineering and Technology (UET) vice chancellor, said nobody would boycott classes because the faculty was happy with HEC's policies. He said no teacher at UET had a problem with the upgrading of their positions, an issue FAPUASA claimed plagued teachers. He said, "We don't want to disturb the academic environment on campus. We have found that engineering universities in the country don't have issues that FAPUSA claims they have."

Dr Sohail Ahmed Khan, former Government College University acting VC, said teachers had never boycotted classes at the institution. He said, "We are an autonomous body with a wonderful tradition. We don't want to lose out dignity by participating in FAPUSA's strike call." Dr Muhammad Nawaz, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (Lahore) VC, said HEC was working to improve education in the country and that FAPUASA's call was unfair. He said HEC and the government had allocated a lot of funds to veterinary education.

Dr Munawwar S Mirza of the University of Education said she knew about FAPUASA's strike call, but that nobody at the university would boycott classes. She said there were many other ways to protest and that boycotting classes would be bad for students. She also said such strikes would send a negative message to students about the country's education and teachers.

Fiza Latif, Lahore College For Women University public relations officer, said the university would not boycott any classes. She said the university VC had not issued a notice in this regard and classes would continue on scheduled. Dr Naeem Ahmed Khan, Punjab University registrar, said the decision to boycott classes were not in the students interest. He said members of Academies Staff Associations had distributed pamphlets about the strike on campus, but the departments would continue academic activities. He said HEC was negotiating with FAPUASA on their demands and the two parties would meet in Islamabad on September 21 to resolve the issue. He said HEC was trying to resolve the issue and it was unfair for FAPUASA to issue a boycott call during the process. Daily Times
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