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College teachers protest for structural service reforms

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Qaiser Sajjad |

Teachers are the builders of the nation’s future because they not only educate the students, but also play an important role in the character building of their student so that they may be able to tackle the forthcoming problems in their professional life. The profession of teaching is highly regarded all over the world and Islam also calls it the profession of prophets.

But, the people associated with the profession of prophets are protesting for the structural service reforms. They have been dissenting by wearing black bands since November 7th, 2017. Meanwhile, the local units of Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) have passed resolutions in favor of their demands and sent to the higher authorities.

The committee has worked on the charter of demands and it also published the minutes of its final meeting held on February 21st, 2017 while minutes issued on March 24th, 2017.

In the next phase of their protest, they arranged rallies all over the Punjab province on December 14th 2017 in order to highlight their demands in print and electronic media and to grab the attention of higher-ups.

Finally, PPLA arranged a protest rally in front of Civil Secretariat for the realization of their charter of demand, which was ended on the assurance of Special Secretary HED Ijaz Bhutta that they will look into the matter. Meanwhile the PPLA has stated that if their issues remain unresolved till 20th January, they will arrange a bigger demonstration on January 25th 2018.

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Now the question arises that whether the PPLA wants some illegal or highly lucrative demands that are against the constitution or the country’s interests or these demands are so complex and intricate that the Punjab government has to pass a new law or amendment in the code of law. In order to comprehend the situation, let us analyze their requisites.

The college teachers’ charter of demand comprises of 14 demands. These requests are based on reformation of service structure on a modern basis. The first and foremost demand is the acquisition of time scale. It is requested that college teachers promotion must be linked to time scale as in the case of federally administered colleges where federal college teachers are already enjoying this time scale promotion.

Let us see, if the bureaucracy will still employ delaying tactics by engaging the PPLA into the dialogues or will it take a serious step to address the issues so that college teachers will focus their attention on teaching rather than their service issues?

Due to non-implementation of the time scale formula, majority of Punjab college teachers retire in BS-18 and BS-19. There are very few people who got promoted in BS-20, while none in BS-21. The second significant issue is a one-step upgradation.

This is also not something novel because on October 6, 2006, former Premier Shaukat Aziz has announced one step upgradation for public sector universities’ faculty members on World Teachers’ Day and the same has been publicized for school teachers by Chief Minister Punjab and approved in the last budget of the Punjab for fiscal year 2017-18. Unfortunately, college teachers are deprived of this upgradation.

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The third provoker is the pay protection that is the inciting for the lecturers of college cadre who were recruited in the year 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2012. It is the burning issue of the mentioned batches. Like other college teachers, they were recruited by Punjab Public Service Commission. But, they were hired by the Higher Education Department on contract basis.

It would be pertinent to mention that last year on December 14th, 2016 upon calling off the protest, provincial minister for higher education Sayyed Ali Raza Gillani has established a committee to resolve the grievances of college teachers.

The process of their regularization was conditioned to their satisfactory performance in the department. Upon their regularization, the period of their contract service was subtracted from their regular service and their pay was fixed on the initial stage of BS-17. These contract lecturers not only suffered monetary loss, but the forfeiture of service as well.

Besides these demands, one important issue is the devolution of administrative power at divisional, district and college level. It stresses on empowering the principals, deputy director and director colleges in order to solve the issues of college teachers at the local level. It is a non-financial demand and it will improve the quality of work at the secretariat level, but also save the precious time of college teachers as well.

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Other demands include a judicious view of result based promotion of college teachers and principals, tenure regarding administrative posts, free access of on-line libraries to college teachers, publication of research journals at divisional level, reopening the membership of Punjab Government Servants Housing Foundation for college teachers, M. Phil and Ph. D allowance for direct selectees and amendment in direct selection criteria etc.

The college teachers’ charter of demand comprises of 14 demands. These requests are based on reformation of service structure on a modern basis. The first and foremost demand is the acquisition of time scale. 

Still provincial government and bureaucracy have not paid any heed to these burning issues of college teachers. It would be pertinent to mention that last year on December 14th, 2016 upon calling off the protest, provincial minister for higher education Sayyed Ali Raza Gillani has established a committee to resolve the grievances of college teachers.

The committee has worked on the charter of demands and it also published the minutes of its final meeting held on February 21st, 2017 while minutes issued on March 24th, 2017. Let us see, if the bureaucracy will still employ delaying tactics by engaging the PPLA into the dialogues or will it take a serious step to address the issues so that college teachers will focus their attention on teaching rather than their service issues?

Qaiser Sajjad is a lecturer at Govt. Degree College Lodhran. He is also a visiting fellow at English Department, Islamia University Bahawalpur. He writes on diverse national and international issues. The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 


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