Major university teachers association announced week-long protest

LAHORE:03 April: The major university teachers’ association announced a week-long protest against the newly-adopted criteria of appointing vice-chancellors in Punjab. The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) announced that it will observe ‘Black Week’ from Tuesday (today) against the government’s decision and faculty members will perform their duties while wearing black armbands in protest. While speaking to The Express Tribune, FAPUASA Punjab Chapter President Professor Dr Javed Ahmed said that the demonstration would continue throughout the week. “All teachers in every university of Punjab will participate in the protest,” he said. Dr Javed added that if the government did not address reservations of the teaching community, then FAPUASA would announce its further course of action. The decision to protest was made earlier in the week in a meeting of FAPUASA Punjab chapter, where the association’s General Secretary Dr Muhammad Nauman Aftab chaired the meeting. The moot discussed the recently modified eligibility criteria for the appointment of vice chancellors in public universities of Punjab. During the meeting, serious concern was raised over the Punjab government’s plan to fill the vacancies of the VC with candidates who did not hold PhD degrees. The participants showed concern over the government’s intention to remove the PhD requirement. ‘Allocate more money for higher education’ Meanwhile, Dr Muhammad Nauman Aftab appealed to the chief minister to take note of the matter and save the future of universities. “The role of the Higher Education Department (HED) should be minimised in the affairs of universities and more autonomy should be given to varsities.” Dr Aftab also criticised the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) and expressed concern over its ‘poor performance’. He also condemned the attitude of PHEC chairman for supporting the current criteria for appointing vice chancellors. Earlier, FAPUASA threatened to shut down universities in protest after the Punjab government floated advertisements for the vice chancellor slot of the University of Sahiwal. Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2018.

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