KARACHI: Karachi University (KU) teachers at a meeting held on Thursday opted for a complete closure of classes from today (Friday) over non-payment of dues pending for more than a year and “attitude of the vice chancellor not worthy of his position”.

The decision was taken at a well-attended general body meeting of the Karachi University Teachers’ Society (Kuts).

The meeting was called to discuss the university’s situation, the problems being faced by teachers and the outcomes of the meetings held with the vice chancellor in recent months.

“The boycott of morning and evening classes will continue till concrete steps are taken by the vice chancellor to allay teachers’ concerns,” Kuts head Prof Soleha Rehman told Dawn after the meeting.

She regretted students’ loss but insisted that teachers were left with no other option.

Decision taken in reaction to VC’s indifferent attitude amid nonpayment of dues

“The situation hasn’t developed all of a sudden. It has been brewing for months but the administration refused to pay attention. In fact, 70 per cent of teachers of the evening programme had informed the vice chancellor in writing over a month back that they would be forced not to take classes if they were not paid their pending dues.”

According to her, administrative officials in different meetings are giving different dates to teachers for the release of held-up dues but the vice chancellor is not ready to issue a notification on the subject to end mistrust and uncertainty.

Prof Rehman was of the opinion that if the vice chancellor was unable to provide any immediate substantial financial relief to teachers, the least he could have done was to show understanding and empathy in his meetings with teachers.

“On the contrary, the vice chancellor told teachers that they can stop taking classes, if they are not being paid. This was what had led to the boycott of evening classes and forced teachers to extend it to the morning programme as they don’t see any improvement in administrative attitude.”

Teachers’ grievance about vice chancellor’s unbecoming conduct, sources said, was widely condemned during the meeting’s proceedings and it also found a place in the unanimously passed resolution.

“Vice chancellor’s attitude is not worthy of his position. There is a need to change it. Otherwise, teachers would be right to demand a change of the personality (to head the university),” says the resolution.

CM’s intervention sought

At the meeting, teachers condemned what they saw as hollow promises made by the vice chancellor in recent months and said he had completely failed to honour his words.

Ad-hoc teachers, they criticised, were hired for KU classes for remuneration as low as Rs600 per class and that, too, the university was unable to pay on time.

They lamented that the financial crisis was badly affecting teachers and students as the former was being forced to turn to private universities to meet their pressing financial needs while the latter was unable to get required academic facilities, especially laboratory equipment for research.

“We demand that the chief minister take immediate notice of KU’s situation and take action. We also demand that a commission be set up to investigate why KU’s budget hasn’t been passed by its Senate in six years. The administration is needed to hold the pending selections without wasting more time,” the resolution stated.

Their demands included release of enhanced salaries as announced by the government this year and fee exemption for KU employees enrolled in MPhil and PhD programmes.

The meeting endorsed teachers’ boycott of evening classes continuing for a week.

Published in Dawn, September 22th, 2023

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