- By Dr Imtiaz Ahmad
On World Teachers Day, which is celebrated internationally on October 5, I recall an important event from 2006. On this day, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz granted a significant scale upgrade to university teachers and coined the term “Salam Teachers Day.”
Teachers, both in local communities and nations, are revered as the architects of society and are seen as agents of change and moral guidance.
While “Salam Teachers Day” is well-suited for educators in advanced countries, in Pakistan, teachers often receive respect primarily within the confines of their classrooms when they are educating or advancing the children of influential individuals.
Unfortunately, when it comes to advocating for their own rights, many pass the responsibility to others, and little action is taken
University teachers in Pakistan face a unique challenge. They are the only government employees who remain stuck in the same pay scale throughout their careers due to the absence of a clear career progression structure, despite provisions in the HEC ordinance.
Regrettably, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has shown reluctance in implementing this provision. This discrepancy is a source of great shame for the country.
While on one hand, we observe Salam Teachers Day, on the other hand, the rightful demands of these teachers are being ignored. Various platforms, including the National Assembly standing committees, the Senate, the Ministry of Federal Education, and others, have witnessed discussions challenging this issue.
Recently, the special standing committee even issued several show cause notices to the chairman of HEC for not notifying the promotion policy for university teachers. Frustrated by the lack of progress, teachers have resorted to strikes, even on Teachers Day, as HEC continues to withhold the promotion policy notification.
The All Public Universities BPS Teachers Association (APUBTA) has announced a month-long protest, which will persist until the promotion policy is officially notified.
Today, teachers observe Teachers Day as a “black day” in protest, marking a moment of deep concern. The government must pay heed to this situation, as countrywide university teachers are prepared to take to the streets on October 31 and continue until their demands are met.
This impending mobilization should be a matter of grave concern for all stakeholders involved.
- The Author is a Ph.D. from the University of Essex UK and serves the University of Malakand as an Associate Professor of Mathematics.