ISLAMABAD - The representative body of university teachers of the country has demanded enhancement in higher education budget and immediate appointment of permanent Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairperson.

The Annual General Body Meeting of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) was held at Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, on Wednesday.

During the meeting, FAPUASA unanimously resolved to demand immediate appointment of a qualified academician of international eminence as HEC Chairperson through a merit and transparent based mechanism and as per eligibility criteria laid down in HEC Act  as many of the issues related to higher education in the country are pending their solution since very long owing to absence of the permanent Chairperson HEC.

The members of the association also resolved to actively pursue HEC, federal and provincial governments for enhancement of higher education budget in the next fiscal year as per their commitment in the election manifestos to raise the overall education budget to 6 percent of GDP.

They stressed to devise an effective strategy to pursue the solution of all other issues including revision of the Universities Acts and Statutes in Sindh and Punjab as per recommendations of FAPUASA in order to ensure transparent, democratic and accountably system of higher education across the country. 

The FAPUASA representatives also expressed grave concern over the termination/victimization of elected representatives of teachers in the newly established Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Nawabshah, Bannu University, Abdul Wali Khan University, BUITM Quetta and Hazara University Mansehra and warned the Vice-Chancellors to recognize the universal constitutional democratic right of association of teachers and immediately reverse all the authoritative actions.

The newly elected body along with representatives of faculty members from all the public sector universities met with HEC officials and apprised them about the serious issues affecting the faculty members as well as the higher education system in Pakistan.

The main issues included immediate planning for ensuring provision of required recurring/development budget to all the public sector universities during the next fiscal year; restoration of previously granted tax rebate (75 per cent) for faculty members and researchers; transfer of degree verification process from HEC to respective universities, abolishment of Post-PhD experience and revision of other illogical terms and conditions for appointment/promotion of teachers and other academic staff; grant of special technical allowance for engineering and science faculty; enhancement in age of superannuation for faculty members to 65 years; specification of professor level experience for appointment of Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice Chancellor along with maximum age limit of 65 years; implementation of fair and transparent mechanism for award of research projects, travel grants, scholarships, training, repair and maintenance of laboratory equipment in all public sector Universities specially for Sindh and Balochistan which are intentionally deprived of their due rights; transfer of NOC powers from Chancellor/Governor to Vice-Chancellor; restoration of illegally dismissed faculty members of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Nawabshah, Banu University, BUITM Quetta and  Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan and revision of Sindh Universities Amendment Act as per recommendations of FAPUASA.   

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Executive Director HEC, discussed all the FAPUASA demands in detail and in principle agreed for positive implementation of these demands after getting formal approval from respective forums within the timeframe of three months.

FAPUASA representatives seriously complained regarding non-implementation of previously accepted demands, which are being reiterated every year and demanded of the Executive Director to consider teachers' issues on priority basis and take all the efforts for the implementation of these demands in true letter and spirit.

Earlier, the new representatives for 2014-15 the meeting elected President Dr Waheed Choudhry, Vice-President Dr Azhar Ali Shah and General Secretary Dr Kaleemullah Bareach for the central body.