University Teachers to Observe Black Day After Govt Reduces HEC Budget

The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) announced a black day protest on May 30 (Thursday) at all universities nationwide, in response to the federal government’s significant budget cuts for the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The federal government has reduced the HEC’s budget for the 2024-25 financial year from Rs65bn to Rs25bn, limiting funds to only federal area universities and excluding provincial universities, which were previously included. The HEC had originally requested Rs126bn for over 160 public universities.

FAPUASA’s executive council, led by President Dr. Amjad Abbas Magsi and General Secretary Dr. Muhammad Uzair, held an emergency meeting to discuss the government’s refusal to allocate funds for provincial universities. The council unanimously rejected the decision, citing its devastating impact on the already struggling higher education sector.

The council decided to observe a black day on May 30 in all universities and directed academic staff associations to hold meetings and rally support. FAPUASA also plans to hold a sit-in in Islamabad to demand the restoration of the HEC budget.

FAPUASA leaders condemned the federal government’s decision, calling it unconstitutional and harmful to the higher education sector. They emphasized the necessity of placing budget decisions before the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and urged the government to allocate funds according to provincial shares.

The federation criticized the government’s prioritization of development projects over addressing the measles outbreak and called for the immediate withdrawal of the budget cut. They also demanded an increase in the higher education budget to Rs500bn in the upcoming federal budget, warning that failure to do so could lead to the closure of universities nationwide.

The Vice Chancellors Committee also urged the federal government to continue supporting universities and requested provincial governments to contribute to university budgets. An emergency meeting chaired by UAF VC Dr. Iqrar Ahmed Khan highlighted the severe impact of the budget cuts on the future of higher education and the financial survival of universities.

HEC Chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed and HEC Executive Director Dr. Ziaul Qayyum stated that the commission would appeal to the finance ministry for reconsideration, stressing that budget cuts jeopardize decades of investment in higher education and undermine efforts for national integration through youth development.

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