Teachers association to stage sit-in on January 25

MULTAN:22 January:The Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) has expressed concern over the failure of the Higher Education Department (HED) and Punjab government in fulfilling teachers’ demands and threatened to stage a sit-in on The Mall, Lahore on January 25. The teachers also announced they will boycott classes at local educational institutions, including Civil lines College, Wilayat Hussain Islamia College, Government Emerson College Bosan Road and Alamdar Hussain Islamia College. PPLA Multan Divisional President Tahir Islam said, “In response to our public protests, the PPLA along with HED had devised a comprehensive summary for acceptance of their charter of demands. This summary was developed keeping on board all the stakeholders, including Special Education Secretary Ehsan Bhutta, Provincial Education Secretary Nabeel Awan and Provincial Minister for Higher Education Ali Raza Gilani.” He added the draft summary was to be sent to the chief minister for approval. “However, due to bureaucracy’s lethargic attitude and non-commitment with its own teaching community, the final draft proposal could not be approved by the Punjab government,” he maintained. He lamented, “It is due to the pathetic attitude of HED that PPLA gave protest call in all the district headquarters of Punjab.” He said PPLA had protested peacefully and negotiated with the HED officials. He said that special education secretary had assured the protest participants that their demands would be met within the 30 days. “However, the matter could not be resolved and now the PPLA reserves the right to stage a sit-in at The Mall Lahore,” he warned. Tahir Islam pointed out that the PPLA was protesting in each district of Punjab and threatened in case their demands were not met, the association will be compelled to stage a sit-in at The Mall on January 25. Meanwhile, traffic chaos was witnessed at College Chowk due to PPLA’s protest demonstration. The PPLA had been demanding one step upgradation of teachers, the time scale for promotion, allocation of quota for MPhil and PhD scholar ships for college teachers, privatisation of public sector colleges by making the board of governors, devaluation of administrative powers to directorate level and pay protection and regularisation of contract lecturers. Earlier, hundreds of college lecturers and professors held a protest and staged a sit-in outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Lahore, demanding that the provincial government fulfil their promises for “pay protection” and promotions. PPLA member Nazim Hasnain said the government should fulfil its promises as teachers would not wait any longer. “It has been over a year since the government accepted their demands. Timely promotion, pay protection and timescalebased promotions were the rights of teachers.” He added that the government should end their antiteacher policies. PPLA President Hafiz Abdul Khaliq announced that they had been assured that their demand for timescale-based promotions would be met by January 15. He added they were told that a summary would be sent to the chief minister within the given period. “For other demands, including pay protection, the HED has assured us that the finance department will be contacted.” He said, “We raised these demands a year ago and were told that they were all legitimate. Now, after a year, nothing has been done and no commitment materialised. Because of this, we have decided to take to the streets.” He said PPLA held 15-20 meetings with the government officials and was ultimately forced to take to the streets as teachers were getting anxious. “We have been assured that notifications will be issued for the mutually-agreed demands and the government has asked us to wait until January 20.” Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2018.

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