ISLAMABAD: The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has announced that the faculty of all public sector universities will observe a token boycott of classes for one hour against paucity of funds from Wednesday.

Association’s President Suhail Yousaf, Secretary Dr Kaleem and other representatives on Tuesday participated in the protest of the Academic Staff Association (ASA) of International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI).

For the last 10 days, the IIUI faculty has been staging the sit-in against the university administration for not acceding to their demands. They are demanding that the IIUI give faculty members their due rights such as representation in the university’s board of governors and there should be a consolidated advertisement to fill vacant posts.

The ASA is also demanding that the vice president of the university should be appointed in accordance with a decision taken by the board of governors. The association has called for reinstatement of two faculty members who were sacked last year.

The IIUI protesting faculty members along with the FAPUASA staged the protest on the campus before moving towards Higher Education Commission (HEC) Secretariat.

They also staged a protest outside the HEC and were later invited by HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri for a meeting.

The FAPUASA representatives and ASA President Dr Zafar Iqbal met the HEC chairman and informed him about issues being faced by the IIUI faculty members in particular and other universities in general.

According to FAPUSA Secretary Dr Kaleem, the HEC chairman was also informed that public sector universities had been facing an acute shortage of funds. He said the HEC chairman informed the delegation that the commission was in touch with the federal government.

“To highlight the issue of funding and for restoration of the faculty members, we have decided that all universities will boycott classes from 11am to 12 noon daily,” he told Dawn.

Meanwhile, ASA decided to hold a march on the campus on Wednesday.

All public sector universities have been facing shortage of funds as Pakistan is at present spending a meager amount of Rs50,000 per student per annum.

Public sector universities have been criticising the cut in higher education budget for 2019-20.

The government has earmarked Rs59 billion against the HEC’s demand of Rs103 billion for non-development expenditure and Rs28bn for development schemes.

The HEC chairman in October this year had told a press conference that the commission was facing a shortfall of Rs50bn.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2019