Candidates facing harassment charges not considered for VC posts, KP Assembly told

Published December 9, 2020
Govt says anti-harassment laws need improvement. — Creative Commons/File
Govt says anti-harassment laws need improvement. — Creative Commons/File

PESHAWAR: The names of academicians, who faced the charges of sexual harassment and immoral activities in the past, were dropped during the scrutiny process for the appointment of vice-chancellors to 14 public sector universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial assembly was told on Tuesday.

Responding to an adjournment motion tabled by PPP MPA Nighat Yasmin Orakzai in the house, special assistant to the chief minister on higher education and information Kamran Bangash said the government won’t tolerate harassment in educational institutions.

He said two major steps were recently taken to check harassment of university students by teachers.

Mr Bangash said as the first step, if any complaint or charges regarding harassment or immorality were found against a teacher at a police station or any other legal forum, his name won’t be considered for appointment as the vice-chancellor.

He said names of the candidates facing charges of sexual harassment and other immoral activities were dropped during the scrutiny for the appointment of VCs of eight universities.

Govt opposes proposal to end co-education, says anti-harassment laws need improvement

The chief minister’s aide said the same criterion was applied for the appointment of VCs for six other universities, who would be posted very soon.

“The government made this a baseline for the appointment of VCs and names of several candidates were expelled from the lists,” he said.

Mr Bangash said secondly, it had been decided that the same university’s professors and lecturers would not conduct exam of their students and teachers from other universities would oversee the process.

He said the decision was made during a meeting of the institution’s syndicate.

The chief minister’s aide said two cases of harassment had been reported in the Islamia College University Peshawar and University of Swat during the last three months and investigations into them were under way.

He informed the house that an anti-harassment hotline had been set up at the Governor’s House, where the students could file harassment complaints.

Mr Bangash opposed PML-N MPA Sardar Mohammad Yousaf’s proposal for an end to co-education.

He said several women universities had been functioning in the province and the government wouldn’t stop co-education.

The special assistant said anti-harassment laws needed to be improved.

Speaker Mushtaq Ghani, who chaired the sitting, scolded the treasury for delay in tabling the bill regarding child abuse.

He asked the relevant minister to table the bill in the house to be passed and said the committee had done extensive work and gave its recommendations to the government.

Mr Ghani ruled that all departments should display anti-harassment laws in their offices for creating public awareness.

Speaking on her adjournment motion, MPA Nighat Orakzai said she had received 70 anti-harassment complaints from a hospital in Karak district and victims had approached the office of the anti-harassment ombudsperson.

She said girls of the Islamia College University recently organised walks against a dean, who allegedly attempted to sexually harass a student in his office.

The lawmaker said five students had complained that their teachers forced them for dating in the same university.

She said the affected students had also expressed reservations about the Governor Inspection Team, which had been tasked with conducting inquiry into the Islamia College University harassment case.

The assembly passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa School Bags (Limitation of Weight) Bill, 2020, to regulate and fix average the weight of schoolbags for students in the province.

The law says the average weight of a school bag will not be more than the weight as specified in the Schedule.

The elementary and secondary education department through the Directorate of Elementary and Secondary Education will ensure the implementation of the law in public and private schools across the province and educational institutions will take measures to implement provisions of the Act.

The law says any educational institution, violating the provisions of this act and the rules made there under shall be penalised and head of the public sector educational institutions shall be proceeded against for disciplinary action under the relevant rules.

The management of educational institutions other than those that are in the public sector shall be liable for imposition of fine of rupees up to two hundred thousand.

The law fixed average weight of school bag for Pre-Grade-1 1.5kg, Grade-l 2.4kg, Grade-2 2.6kg, Grade-3 3kg, Grade-4 4.4kg, Grade-5 5.3kg, Grade-6 5.4kg, Grade-7 5.8kg, Grade-8 5.9kg, Grade-9 6kg, Grade-l0 6.5kg, Grade-11 7kg and Grade-12 7kg.

The assembly also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Alternate Dispute Resolution Bill, 2020 and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rehabilitation of Minorities (Victim of Terrorism) Endowment Fund Bill, 2020 was also tabled in the assembly.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2020

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