ISLAMABAD-Around one dozen jobless PhD scholars staged a protest outside the residence of Prime Minister (PM) residence urging the government to provide employment opportunities for highly qualified scholars, Monday.

Unemployed PhDs gathered outside the PM Imran Khan’s residence at Bani Gala and played the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party songs of creating a new Pakistan. The jobless scholars said that despite the formation of PTI’s government, they are still living in the old Pakistan as their demands are falling on deaf ears.  The protestors chanted slogans against the universities and Higher Education Commission (HEC) for not formulating solid and long lasting policies for PhD scholars as they are becoming jobless.

The scholars on protest also said that their struggle will continue unless the PM will listen to them. They claimed that around 800 PhDs in the country are jobless and the strength is increasing with every passing year, while universities and HEC has failed in opening the doors of opportunities for them.   The protestors criticizing the government’s policies for the higher education sector said that the incumbent government is also following the footsteps of previous government and not taking the issue seriously.  They said that a storm of unemployed PhDs is coming but HEC and higher authorities are unconcerned about the issue. The protestors also condemned the role of Higher Education Commission (HEC) claiming that the regulator has failed in providing employment opportunities to highly qualified individuals.  The protestors holding banners and placards against HEC and the public sector universities urged the government to play its role to accommodate unemployed teachers. “Shut down HEC”, “Close admissions in PhD,” chanted the scholars.

Dr Sher Afzal representative of the unemployed PhDs said that there are around 800 jobless PhDs in the country, while HEC and the public sector universities have completely failed in accommodating these teachers.  He said that millions of rupees are spent on producing a PhD and all the talent is being wasted because government does not have any comprehensive policy plan for them.  “A large number of these people have foreign qualifications but are unemployed and are looking towards the government to address their problems,” he said. He said that they are running from pillar to post from the last five years but their protests have fallen on deaf ears.

HEC and the public sector universities both are victimizing the unemployed teachers and they have no plan to solve their problems, he added.  Dr. Tufail said that HEC scholar under Interim Placement of Fresh PhDs (IPFP) is adjusted in the university for one year and after completion of the term he will become unemployed.

He said that government vowed to produce 3000 PhD till 2025 and they will also become jobless as unemployment in education sector is taking its roots. He said that the protest will not end till the issue is solved completely. “Officials responsible for our joblessness are comfortable while we are on roads,” he said.