Professors’ sit-in enters second day

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The sit-in of lecturers and professors from the public sector colleges of Punjab has entered into second day at Lahore’s chairing cross on Wednesday but still their demands are not accepted by the Higher Education Department. The professors reached at Mall Road on Tuesday from different cities of the province under the banner of Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) while demanding service and pay protection from the Punjab government. The professors spent the whole night of Tuesday at Mall Road as they came from other districts of the province including Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sargodha, DG Khan, Multan and Bahawalpur to press for their demands that also includes timely promotion of professors and a service structure on the pattern of KPK government.

PPLA demands service structure on the pattern of KPK government

Abdul Khaliq, the president of PPLA said that the Punjab government has linked the promotion of professors with the training programs but the Higher Education Department doesn’t have the capacity to impart training because of poor infrastructure. “Our promotions are on a halt for last two years just because of lack of infrastructure of the HED. The government made our promotions conditional with the training programs but the department doesn’t have any budget to give funds to the trainers and therefore our more than 250 people got retired without being promoted to the next grade,” he said. He criticized the HED for failing to build the infrastructure of training in last two years that cost them heavily in form of retirement in the lower grades. He also demanded an improved service structure on the pattern of KPK government that has a five-tier service structure for the teachers of college sectors. He threatened to boycott the educational activities of teachers in colleges if their demands are not met by the government. He was of the view that Professors will boycott the duties for the exam of intermediate being held in April next month and the exams of BA/ BSc being held in May if the government will remain continue the anti-teachers’ policies. It is worth mentioning here that there are over 17,000 members of PPLA all over the province and their boycott and protest can bring the education system at the standstill.

Punjab government has linked the promotion of professors with the training programs but the HED doesn’t have the capacity or infrastructure

Abbas Ali, a lecturer from the historical Government Emerson College of Multan, told this scribe that he is here for last two days with his over 50 colleagues from Multan but no one from the education department bothered to pay head to our grievances. “There is a huge disparity between the service structure of Punjab and other provinces as an allowance of 25,000 is given to a teacher having PhD degree in Sindh but the PhD allowance is just 10,000 here in Punjab,” said Abbas, who teaches Urdu in his college. Ishfaq Ali of Government M.A.O College Lahore told Today’s Muslim that the pay protection is need of the hour for the professors keeping in view the exorbitant inflation these days. “We have been facing a cut of over 20,000 in our salaries for more than a year and therefore we were left with no other option except to come on the roads demanding our due rights,” said Ishfaq, who teaches statistics at M.A.O College. The incumbent government gave sit-ins when the PTI was in opposition and now Imran Khan should also face these protests and demonstration with an open heart, he added.

A large number of female professors and different bodies of teachers, lawyers and doctors also visited the protest camp of PPLA on Wednesday to show solidarity with them. A delegation of Pakistan Medical Association also visited the protest camp of PPLA while minister for human rights Ijaz Alam also came in solidarity with the teachers. However, a huge traffic mess could be seen at the adjacent arteries and roads of chairing cross due to the road blockage at Faisal Chowk outside the Punjab Assembly while creating severe traffic problems for the commuters.