KARACHI: Teachers at Karachi University (KU) boycotted the evening classes on the campus on Thursday in protest against non-payment of their remuneration withheld for more than a year.
Speaking to Dawn, the teachers said they were forced to resort to the boycott after KU Vice Chancellor Prof Khalid M. Iraqi in a recent meeting explicitly told their representatives that the evening programme was running into losses and that teachers could stop taking those classes if they were not being paid for their services.
“It’s quite disheartening for everyone in attendance at the meeting to listen to these remarks from the vice chancellor. Hence, all the teachers unanimously decided to boycott the classes in protest for an indefinite period,” Prof Soleha Rehman, president of the Karachi University Teachers’ Society (Kuts), said.
The fee structure of the evening programme was three times higher than the morning programme, she added.
Kuts says decision to boycott classes for indefinite period taken after VC Iraqi’s remarks
“The total pending amount is estimated to be around Rs30 million. In addition, teachers are also deprived of their enhanced salaries,” she said.
Prof Rehman regretted that the vice chancellor was unable to offer any relief to the teachers on any count.
Currently, she pointed out, the teachers were also deeply concerned over removal of two major private tertiary-care hospitals from the university’s panel list.
“When this matter was raised during the same meeting, the vice chancellor said the teachers being government employees should go to the public sector hospitals for treatment if they encounter problems with health facilities on the university panel,” she recalled,
The vice chancellor, according to the teachers, had also refused to waive off semester fees of the university employees and their children, a facility earlier available to the teaching and non-teaching staff.
In replying to these concerns, VC Prof Iraqi said the meeting in question was exclusively based on a single-point agenda of waiving off MPhil and PhD semester fees of the KU employees and their children.
“Only this matter was discussed in the meeting. Whatever else being said about the meeting isn’t true,” he emphasised, adding that the fee could be waived only by the university syndicate.
About the pending dues of the evening classes, he said he agreed in principle that the teachers should get paid for their services in time and that he was trying to get that done.
“Recently, I have got pending dues of Rs5m released. But the teachers must realise that this matter is an old one and would take time to resolve,” he said, adding that the merger of evening and morning programmes’ funds carried out a long time back had been causing delays in payments to the staff.
Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2023