The otherwise bustling Arts Lobby presents a deserted look due to teachers’ boycott of academic activities. (Right) The general body meeting of Karachi University Teachers’ Society is under way at Arts Auditorium on Monday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
The otherwise bustling Arts Lobby presents a deserted look due to teachers’ boycott of academic activities. (Right) The general body meeting of Karachi University Teachers’ Society is under way at Arts Auditorium on Monday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Thousands of students of Karachi University heaved a sigh of relief on Monday when their teachers decided to postpone their boycott of academic activities continuing for the past two weeks.

The decision was taken at a general body meeting of the Karachi University Teachers’ Society (Kuts), which was attended by over 300 teachers.

“In the larger interest of students, we are putting off the boycott until March 6. If our demands are not fulfilled by this date, teachers will be forced to suspend academic activities again,” says a resolution passed unanimously by the house chaired by Kuts president Prof Solaha Rahman.

The forum demanded that selection boards be held three times a week, and a complete list of their schedule was announced.

It also demanded the immediate announcement of the appointment process for lecturers and assistant professors and the start of the legal process to withdraw the court case against the newly appointed teachers of the mass communication department.

The resolution also included demands for the appointment of a permanent director of finance, payment of pending dues for evening classes, and bringing the Liaquat National Hospital back on the university’s panel list.

Threat to resume protest

Sources said that there was a general consensus among teachers over the suspension of academic activities if the administration failed to meet the demands in two weeks.

The majority of the teachers believed that uncertainty still prevailed on the campus despite the release of a notification on some selection boards and assurances by the vice chancellor.

They emphasised that the pressure built up during the two-week boycott shouldn’t lose its intensity and the administration should be kept under a close watch.

Some teachers, however, questioned the logic behind postponing the boycott and thought the step could prove to be counterproductive.

Speaking to Dawn after Kuts’ meeting, Prof Rahman said teachers were forced to adopt “a hard stance”.

About the students’ losses, she said it’s unfortunate, and the responsibility for this lies with top officials.

“We believe that since the chief minister is the appointing authority, he should give a free hand to the vice chancellor and the director of finance. The fact that all posts now require written approval from the chief minister causes unnecessary delay in administrative functions, which is a major source of discontent on the campus,” reasoned Prof Solaha.

The university generated half of its income from its own resources, while the rest was contributed by the provincial government and the Higher Education Commission, she added.

Two weeks ago, the teachers started a partial boycott of classes, which turned into a complete suspension of academic and administrative activities last week.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2023

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