Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) on Wednesday staged a sit-in outside the camp office, DJ Sindh Government Science College against not getting timescale and the acute shortage of the teaching staff in the colleges of Sindh.
SPLA conducted a meeting at the library of the college and decided to march
towards the chief minister (CM) house to claim their demands. However, policemen foiled this attempt. The police baton-charged the teaching community and at least 19 teachers were arrested by the police. The policewomen also manhandled the female teaching staff.
Police said that 16 teachers were detained but they released after a few hours. Rangers were also present at the scene but later they left the place.
The representatives of the association said that around 4,500 teaching posts are vacant till to date and this shortage is increasing burden on the teaching staff at the colleges. “There are numbers of colleges in the provinces where teachers are under strength and one teacher has to conduct numbers of classes on regular basis,” President, SPLA, Mirza Ather Hussain said.
“There is no teacher available to teach English in 250 colleges of Sindh while few subject specialists are available in the college,” he said. The government has given a timescale and other benefits to the school teachers but they have overlooked the college teachers, SPLA representatives said.
According to the representatives of the association, Senior Superintendent of Police, Saddar had threatened them not to conduct any rally towards the CM House. “We want to handover the declaration of our meeting at the CM House to bring the issue into their notice,” Hussain said.
“The police has told us that they will use tear-gas, water canon gun and other resources if the teachers attempt to conduct a rally in front of CM House,” General Secretary, SPLA, Karachi, Professor Iftekhar Azami said. “The police intercepted the teachers outside the main entrance of the library and misbehaved with them,” he also said.
The CM Sindh should solve these problems at earliest and no adhocism would be accepted in this regard. Meanwhile, the advisor to CM to Information and Archives, Sharmila Faruqui, who reached at the spot, said that the problems would be solved in due course of time.
She also asked the representatives to call off their sit-in which was initially turned down by the teaching community. Faruqui said that she would arrange a meeting with the officials to resolve the matter but number of teachers insisted that government should issue a notification of timescale and only then they would give up their sit-in.
“I will also join the meeting and representative of SPLA can place their demands in the meeting but they should call off the sit-in,” she said. “The meeting is scheduled today at 10:30am. If the delegation of SPLA will not agree with the meeting results, then we would arrange a meeting with CM to solve this issue, she further said.
After a brief discussion, SPLA agreed to stop sit-in but they asked Faruqui that she should declare her opinion in this regard. “If you tell the media and teachers waiting outside the office that we would try your best to resolve our problems then, we can ensure you that SPLA will stop their sit-in and spend night within the college premises,” they said.
The teachers refused to return to their respective districts and homes. They said that they would wait for an end to the meeting between SPLA and officials.
If the officials accepted their demands and release the notification, then they would go back to home happily but if they did not entertain their demands then SPLA would again stage a sit-in, they added.
PPI ADDS: The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) would hold a meeting with Sindh Chief Secretary on Thursday for discussing the issues being faced by the teachers.
President SPLA Professor Mirza Athar Hussain told PPI that a two-point agenda, including time-scale and shortage of teachers, would be discussed in the meeting. He said that their protest, however, would continue till the acceptance of our demands.