Islamabad (Khyber Mail): The All Public Universities BPS Teachers Association (APUBTA), the officially recognized and democratically elected representative body for BPS teachers in all of Pakistan’s public sector universities, is preparing for a protest followed by a sit-in outside the Higher Education Commission (HEC) headquarters in Sector H-9, Islamabad, on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.
Thousands of BPS teachers from public sector universities across Pakistan, including Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan, will join the sit-in, which will persist until the Higher Education Commission accepts their primary demand.
APUBTA’s sole demand is the issuance of a notification approving a service structure and promotion policy for all BPS teachers in public sector universities, a commitment previously made in writing by the HEC. The protest and sit-in are in response to the HEC’s discriminatory and exploitative policies and their delays in approving the promotion policy for BPS teachers in public universities.
It is crucial to note that the lack of a service structure, due to the HEC’s negligence since its establishment in 2002, has deprived BPS teachers in public universities of their fundamental right to promotion. As per Section 10(q) of the HEC Ordinance 2002, the HEC is responsible for establishing criteria and guidelines for the promotion of university teachers, a duty they have failed to fulfill over the past two decades since its inception. This failure has created significant issues related to promotion and seniority for over 50,000 BPS faculty members in public sector universities.
APUBTA has been actively working to address promotion-related challenges for university teachers since 2020 and has organized numerous successful nationwide protests during this time. It has also held multiple meetings with HEC officials, convincing them of the urgency of this matter. HEC officials signed written agreements with APUBTA on October 20, 2020, October 14, 2021, March 10, 2022, and July 24, 2023, with each agreement committing to approving and notifying the service structure and promotion policy for BPS university teachers within 2-3 months. HEC officials also assured the Senate Standing Committee on Education in its meeting on August 22, 2022, and the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Education in its meeting on February 3, 2023, that the promotion policy for university teachers would be approved promptly. Despite clear directives from parliamentary committees and promises made to FAPUASA on this issue, HEC officials have failed to honor their commitments and written agreements.
It has been approximately three months since HEC’s last written commitment to APUBTA and FAPUASA, yet no meeting has been scheduled for the approval of the promotion policy for BPS university teachers by the commission.
Given this situation, APUBTA has no choice but to launch a nationwide protest followed by a sit-in outside the HEC headquarters in Sector H-9, Islamabad, on October 31, 2023. APUBTA’s leadership is determined to maintain the sit-in until their primary demand is met – the issuance of a notification approving the promotion policy for BPS faculty members by the Higher Education Commission. All necessary preparations for the protest and sit-in have been finalized, and convoys comprising thousands of public university BPS teachers from various regions of Pakistan, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan, will commence their journey to Islamabad on Monday to participate in the protest the following day.