Change was in the air, and now those winds have blown right into the halls of power. On Monday Sindh become the first province to formally start the process of legalizing student unions. In a Cabinet meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, the Sindh Students Union Act, 2019, was given approval, which aims at activating “an effective system to provide for the establishment of students unions and regulating them in the province of Sindh”.

Given that the Sindh Assembly has already unanimously passed a resolution that asked the provincial government to lift the ban on student unions, it seems highly probable that once the bill is through the drafting and consultative stages, it will receive the requisite votes and become law.

Being the first province to take this much-needed step after decades, Sindh not only has the distinct honor of being the leader in this field, but also it serves as an important proving ground. All eyes are on the province; the other provincial governments are looking at Sindh to see how it manages to balance the needs of the stakeholders while ensuring that the problems that plagued universities in the past do now crop up again. For its part the Sindh Cabinet seems to have the right ideas in mind. Gender balanced committees against harassment with student representation, fair hearings before expulsions, and the ingraining of student leaders in the administration and policy of the educational institutes they come from are all important goals that will ensure that student unions serve a functional role in educational institutions while becoming a fertile breeding ground for the leaders of tomorrow.

The province needs to take all the time it need; four decades have passed without student unions in Sindh, the reintroduction of them should not be rushed. A single untoward incident can jeopardize the chances of the student unions being legalized across the rest of the country.